A photo of young boy with his hair and eyebrows covered with ice has gone viral after it was revealed he walked for over an hour in freezing temperatures to get to school.
The boy, Wang Fuman, is from a poor family and was dressed in thin clothing when he arrived to class. His cheeks were flushed red from the cold and his hair was frozen stiff. The boy’s hands were also chafed from the bitter cold.
His classmates at Zhuanshanbao primary school in a rural area of Yunnan province laughed at his appearance, but his predicament touched the hearts of people in China and the boy and his family have received an outpouring of support.
Wang had just walked 3 miles (4.5 kim) from home to the school when his teacher took the photo, the news website Thepaper.cn reported. The school’s principal said that it took the boy over an hour to walk to school each day, and on this particular day the temperature outside was minus 9 degrees Celcius (15.8 Fahrenheit).
Wang is a “left-behind child”, a term used in China to describe children from poor families whose parents work in cities away from home. He lives with his older sister and grandmother. According to South China Morning Post, there are an estimated 61 million “left-behind” children in China presently.
Wang said they use firewood to heat the home, but there was no heating equipment at school. “It is cold going to school, but it’s not hard,” he said.
Many people on social media offered to donate winter clothing, and shortly after Wang received a winter clothing and funds.
State television quoted the boy as saying: “I’m so happy because many people are helping me and have given me many gifts.”
The primary school Wang attends was gifted $15,000 USD and 81 students were each given 500 yuan (approx. $77 USD) in subsidies.
Wang’s father has also been offered a job in his hometown with an engineering firm so he will no longer have to leave his family and work away from home, the People’s Daily said. The same firm donated heating equipment to the school along with 144 winter clothing items to the children.
The local authorities in Yunnan and The Yunnan Youth Development Foundation have also launched a program to help other left-behind children in the cities in Yunnan. The youth fund said it had received over 1.9 million yuan (around $295,000 USD) in donations in just a few days.