A young boy in China’s southwest Yunnan province became a viral sensation this week after a picture of him showing up to school with thick frost in his hair and eyebrows began circulating online.
The photo of 8-year-old Wang Fuman, who came to be known as the “ice flower boy”, was taken after a 4.5km walk from his home to school in sub-zero temperatures in rural Ludian county and spread like wildfire on popular social network WeChat.
The image, which revealed the story of the poverty-stricken third-grader who lived with his older sister and ailing grandmother, reached millions across the country, moving a great number of them to raise some CNY100,000 (US$15,354) for his impoverished school. His single father, who works in a bigger city to support the family, has also been offered a job so that he can be closer to his children.
According to Shanghaiist, county officials on Wednesday arrived at the primary school to hand out the first round of donations that had come in through the local Communist youth league and youth development foundation.
The humble handover ceremony yesterday is believed to be the first in a series of donations to come. The donation saw each student be given CNY500 (US$75) in winter subsidies. Some students were even given warm clothing and although the school provided breakfast and lunch, the classrooms were not heated.
The school’s headmaster, Fu Heng, said the boy makes the hour-long walk to school every day, but this time he arrived looking like an old man with white hair after being covered in frost with his face red from the minus-nine degree temperature.
“It was the first day of the final exam, but when entering the classroom he pulled a face and everyone was amused,” Fu said, as quoted by state-owned news agency Xinhua.
Freezing weather is unusual in Yunnan so the boy had very thin clothes on. His teacher decided to take the candid moment and share it on WeChat before the boy became an overnight celebrity.
Apart from going viral on the Internet, the boy scored a high distinction on the final day of the exam, scoring 99 out of 100 – an impressive feat!
The boy’s school which is situated in Zhaotong city receives students from 16 villages and is one of many schools that receive over 138,000 primary school students who live under the poverty line. But the Chinese government is on an on-going campaign to eradicate poverty in rural areas.
After receiving the donations, the boy said: “I love school and our teachers. I am very happy.”
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