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Mutual Aid Teams

In 1961, Tibetan peasants formed mutual aid teams to develop agricultural production. Some 11 households of former Nangzan household slaves in Sanggar Village, Nedong County, Shannan Prefecture, however, were excluded. Why would no team like to admit them? The reason is they were very poor. They used to be the house slave of the manor, working as servants and grooms, doing miscellaneous work such as grazing the flocks and herds, spinning and weaving, sweeping and washing. They also shouldered the rough work and tasks during the busy farming season, but knew nothing of agricultural production technologies. Although they were given land and houses after the Democratic Reform, they still lived in poverty and lacked cattle, farm tools and even seeds and grain ration. When others were voluntarily forming their own mutual aid teams, they worried that these former Nangzan people would be a "burden". Qamba, a former Nangzan, said with a sigh: "The people who have economic base all form mutual teams, and only those who used to live in the horse stall are left". However, his wife Cering Lhamo (first left) had ideas of her own. She proposed that these former Nangzan families formed their own mutual aid team. She said: "The individual family has difficulty in conducting agricultural production, but with solidarity and mutual aid has more power. Although unable to till the land, we can learn. As long as we take pains with the farm, we can grow well the crops, thus living a happy life." Their own mutual aid team--the Nangzan Mutual Aid Team of Sanggar Village--was set up. They studied and mastered the farming technologies. In three years, they eventually gained both bumper agricultural and stock raising harvests. Through their own efforts, they shook off poverty and had ample food and clothing. Later, the Nangzan Mutual Aid Team was chosen as the Advanced Collective by the people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, hailed as "a good example of one million emancipated serfs". Strong and confident, Cering Lhamo was awarded the title of National Model Worker

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