|A boy plays on a pile of rocks as strong winds sweep snow from the peak of a mountain in Yege township.Nomads here endure cold weather year-round. (China Daily/Erik Nilsson)|
Increased government and nonprofit investment is transforming the lives of nomadic yak herders in Yushu prefecture's remote grasslands. Erik Nilsson chronicles the improvements over three years.
Qumalai county's children are the nomadic community's first generation to attend school. Until a few years ago, illiterate parents in the secluded swathe of Qinghai province's Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture believed children should herd yaks to feed the family rather than study. That outlook has inverted. Most herders now believe children should study so they don't have to herd. The average altitude of 4,300 meters, isolation and insufficient infrastructure make life tough. But since the government and nonprofits have increased investment in Quma River's scattered settlements in recent years - especially in schools - herders now place their hopes for a better future on their children's education.