Education is the only way to lead residents in resourceless regions out of poverty, according to a mainland charity veteran. Hu Pingxu began introducing agricultural technologies and promoting education in Kunming, Yunnan, a decade ago. At the time, his works had yet to be included in the Glorious Project, a national poverty-fighting programme aimed at improving people's livelihood in remote areas. The project encourages private entrepreneurs and those from the state sector to set up factories or training centres in the poor regions to help accelerate development there. 'Some residents in Kunming's hilly area have little contact with the outside world. They are illiterate and do not know the importance of production,' he said. 'Formal education is the most effective way to teach them how to turn their resourceless areas into productive ground,' he said. Mr Hu said some residents could not even read US dollar banknotes. He recalled one incident when two village boys turned down his cash offer after they helped him to download luggage from a car. 'My wife and I gave them five dollars each,' he said. 'But they stood there and refused to accept the money. 'The boys simply did not recognise the banknotes. They couldn't read and had never seen bills worth a dollar or more,' he said. Mr Hu, also chairman of Kunming's Federation of Industry and Commerce, helped funnel one million yuan (HK$930,000) from the British Children's Fund to Yulong, Luquan county, to build schools and other basic facilities in the past decade. Yulong, a remote village north of Kunming with a population of 22,327, has halved its rate of illiteracy in 10 years. But Mr Hu said public interest in the Glorious Project was sometimes dampened by no guarantee of returns. The Kunming federation has set up a foreign anti-poverty fund worth more than one million yuan for Yulong. Another 200,000 yuan was contributed by local businessmen. The lack of trained people who know how to adapt to different situations was another concern, he said. For example, he had introduced tobacco to Yulong when other crops had fared poorly. Last year, taxes on tobacco reached 2.49 million yuan.