Wang Manfu, 10, walks into class with his hair full of snowflakes. (web photo)
BEIJING, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- After images of a boy who arrived at school with hair full of frost and hands covered in chilblains went viral Monday, donations have flooded in to help the school, with 100,000 RMB (about 15,000 U.S. dollars) raised as of Wednesday morning.
An impossibly pink little face, haloed in ice and snow. Ten-year-old Wang Manfu walked into the classroom as usual, oblivious to his startling appearance. A teacher took his photo, which was uploaded to social media on Monday and quickly went viral.
Wearing a thin coat and carrying a worn-out schoolbag, the boy had braved the sub-zero temperatures to take the hour-long trek from his village to Zhuanshanbao Primary school in Ludian County, Yunnan Province, according to Fu Heng, the school's principal who uploaded Wang's image along with pictures of students' hands covered in chilblains and frostbite.
Fu said that his classrooms do not have heating due to lack of funding.
The gate of Zhuanshanbao Primary School is covered in ice. (web photo)
"To provide a better educational environment, we have been trying to improve the conditions of the teaching building, playground and dining hall since 2013, but we still cannot afford to arrange accommodation for students," said Fu.
After seeing the photos of "little Jack Frost", a fund-raising campaign organized by youth and volunteer organizations in Yunnan has raised 100,000 yuan for the school as of Wednesday morning. Each student has been given 500 yuan towards staying warm this winter, another 300,000 yuan will have been collected by Thursday afternoon.
The frostbitten hands of a student at the Zhuanshanbao Primary School. (web photo)
Zhaotong City, which administers Ludian, currently has 1.13 million people living below the poverty line, including 138,700 primary school students, according to the statistics on the Zhaotong government website. This poses a great challenge to China's national poverty elimination efforts.
Manfu's parents are migrant workers, and the boy, who lives with grandparents, is one of the 17.2 million left-behind children in China. According to Fu, most of the 167 students in the school are left-behind children like Manfu.
A nationwide poverty alleviation campaign has been ongoing for years. In Ludian County, several roads will soon be finished, increasing accessibility, and the new home of Manfu's family was built with the help of the local poverty relief office.
"I love school and I want to be accepted by universities in Beijing," Manfu said when asked about his dreams.