This textbook features a new phonetic system for Dongxiang, the common name of a Mongol- Altaic language, the ethnic minority group who speak it, and the dry county on the Yellow Plateau of north-west China where the 250,000 or so people live. A predominantly Muslim, very poor, and illiterate community, most people herd sheep and farm potatoes.
The script helps young children to learn their own language, and then Mandarin Chinese, too. The bilingual education project has been supported by Oxfam Hong Kong since 2006, and is due to be in effect in 8 schools in the area by 2009.
For more information on Oxfam Hong Kong’s work in China,