Abduhabar Jappar bought a gold necklace for his wife last year, the first fancy birthday gift he has given her since they were wed.
From Moyu county, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Abduhabar could barely make ends meet from farming and doing odd jobs. The cost of his mother's heart surgery worsened the financial situation of the poor family.
However, in October 2018, when he was recruited by a construction installation company in his village, the family fortunes changed.
"I wanted to find a stable job," Abduhabar said. "It was better it was close to home so that I could not only increase my income but also take care of my mother."
He is among millions of Xinjiang residents who have been lifted out of poverty by the region's employment policies, which are part of China's national drive to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of last year.
Abduhabar's diligence and hard work helped him master welding and electrical engineering in a very short time, and in just one year he became the backbone of the company.
"Whenever my co-workers face problems related to plumbing and electricity they turn to me," he said.
In December 2019, Abduhabar was appointed deputy general manager of the company and put in charge of two factories, bringing home up to 6,000 yuan ($926) per month.
His wife later joined the company, and earns more than 2,000 yuan per month.
Last year, authorities in Xinjiang formulated a special employment assistance plan, focusing on developing industries to boost employment.
In that year alone, the region lifted some 100,000 residents out of poverty and helped them increase their incomes by developing labor-intensive industries such as textiles and clothing and electronics parts. Industries suitable for local conditions, including specialty farming and livestock breeding, processing of agricultural products and rural tourism were also promoted.
With a substantially higher income, Abduhabar's family has moved into a new house and bought a washing machine and refrigerator. On weekends, he often takes his family to downtown Hotan or Moyu county for shopping, outings or barbecues.
In addition to the necklace, he also bought an electric bicycle for his wife. The bike has made it easier for her to pick up the children from school and go shopping.
"Seeing the smiles on my family members' faces, I feel my heart is as sweet as honey," he said.