HONG KONG: Donations have flooded in after a picture of a young boy with his hair and eyebrows covered in ice after a long trek to school during freezing temperatures in a poor area of western China went viral online.
The boy’s father has also been offered a job in his hometown so he will no longer have to leave his family and work away from home.
The first batch of 100,000 yuan (US$15,370) was handed over by the local authorities to Zhuangshanbao primary school in a rural area of Zhaotong in Yunnan province, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Meanwhile, the Yunnan Youth Development Foundation said it had received over 1.9 million yuan in donations by Thursday afternoon.
The photograph widely shared on social media in China showed Wang Fuman as he arrived at school after walking about 4.5km from home.
His hair and eyebrows were covered in frost and his cheeks red with cold after he walked in freezing temperatures in thin clothing.
The picture moved internet users in China, depicting the hardships the boy from a poor family endures to get to school.
Wang is a “left-behind child”, a term used to describe youngsters from poor families whose parents work in cities away from home. The amount of care and support given to left-behind children by the authorities has regularly sparked debate on social media in China in recent years.
State television said that on top of the first donation to the school, 81 pupils were each given 500 yuan in subsidies.
Also, 144 items of warm clothing and heating equipment were donated by an engineering firm, the People’s Daily said. The company is also behind the job offer to Wang’s father.
State television quoted the boy as saying: “I’m so happy because many people are helping me and have given me many gifts.”
Wang’s father returned from working away from home after his son’s photograph became a viral sensation.
He gave his son pocket money of 5 yuan. The boy was then quoted by the news website Thepaper.cn as saying: “I want to save it for treatment when my parents get sick.”
Meanwhile, The Yunnan Youth Development Foundation plans to deliver the donations it has received to other left-behind children in nine different cities in Yunnan.
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