Across China: Concrete support provided for children in need
YINCHUAN, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Never had Ma Xiaoqi (pseudonym) celebrated a birthday, though he makes birthday wishes every year. When the 11-year-old boy wished to have a new schoolbag to replace his worn-out one this year, he did not expect that would happen so fast.
"I saw a new bag at home several days after I made the wish. I like it very much," said the fourth-grade student excitedly, who lives in a remote mountainous village in Jingyuan County, northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
The gift is from Yu Jianchang, who works on the Jingyuan county committee of the Communist Youth League of China. Devoted to working with rural kids for years, Yu is also the leader of the "Happy Room" Child Care Project, serving disadvantaged children aged 6-14, such as orphans, the disabled, those separated from their parents who leave their homes to work in cities, and other children living in difficulties.
According to Yu, the project launched by the local government refurbishes the houses of these kids to create an independent learning space equipped with necessary furniture to improve their learning and living environment. Nearly 50 children have benefited from the project in the past two years.
With his father dead and his mother remarried, Ma only has his 67-year-old grandma to rely on.
The boy has been sleeping with his grandma since the age of two. He longed for his own bed, but the family couldn't afford it. Thanks to the project, Ma's dream came true.
"I like my new bed. I'm not afraid of sleeping alone, and I want to be a policeman in the future," said Ma. "I also like the desk. I read and wrote on the bed, and it always hurt my arms."
"Knowledge changes fate. We put the most effort into choosing desks and books," Yu said. "If this could help the children develop an interest in studies, then what we do will be more than rewarding."
The project is just one of the localized attempts in China to better provide for children in need. There had been about 55,000 township-level supervisors and 667,000 village-level instructors across the country at the end of 2021.
"Those supervisors and instructors serve as 'mothers' and friends for rural children. We conduct training every year to ensure they are competent to help children in need," said Ma Huidong, with the civil affairs bureau of Jingyuan.
Li Chunsheng, a 49-year-old Polio patient, has a son and a daughter with his psychotic wife. The money he earns from repairing shoes in the town far from covers the household expenditure. "We get a governmental allowance of about 3,000 yuan (about 447 U.S. dollars) each month. Otherwise, life would be much tougher," he said.
This summer, Li Jia (pseudonym), Li Chunsheng's son, also moved into his "happy room," which was once empty only with concrete walls. "As a father, I would do anything to provide my kids with a better living environment. I feel so grateful for the project as it helped me do what I should," he said.
The 12-year-old Li Jia likes reading, but he only has Grimms' Fairy Tales. Knowing that there would soon be many other books on his new desk, the boy began to anticipate the upcoming summer holiday. "How wonderful it will be to read stories at my new desk," he said.