Ever since Wang Fuman, more popularly known as China’s “Ice Boy,”became an internet sensation for his frosty tips, a strong effort has been made to improve the living conditions of students in Yunnan’s impoverished Ludian county, finally resulting in giving the little boy a warm place to sleep and study.
Fuman is from one of China’s poorest regions. He used to have to walk 4.5 kilometers each day to reach his primary school in a mountainous area outside of Zhaotong city. One January morning, he made that hour-long trek as temperatures dropped to a frigid -8 degrees Celsius outside. Arriving at school, Fuman’s teacher snapped a photo of the little boy with his hair and eyebrows covered in ice.
That photo changed everything for Fuman. He quickly became an online celebrity in China, receiving well wishes and donations from strangers across the country, and was even taken ona dream trip with his family to Beijing, where he got to learn about becoming a police officer andexperience the wonder of central indoor heating for the first time.
However, not everything ended up going so well for Fuman. Touched by the little boy’s story, the headmaster of a private school in Zhaotong city offered to take him in free of charge back in March. He could board at the school, meaning no more freezing treks through the mountains, and he would receive a better education from the more experienced and qualified teachers at the school.
Unfortunately, after only a week, Fuman was asked to leave the school with the headmaster apparently unable to cope with the increased government and media attention that came with hosting China’s famous little “Ice Boy.”
Fuman was forced to return to his ramshackle home in the countryside and his unheated Zhuanshanbao Primary School. However, we are now happy to report that some improvements have been made to make his place of learning a bit more comfortable.
The millions of yuan donated in Wang Fuman’s name earlier this year went not to him or his family, but to the Yunnan Youth Development Foundation. While some believed that this arrangement was unfair, the government-run foundation vowed to use the money to help impoverished kids like Fuman across the province.
Ludian county’s education bureau has done just that, putting 800,000 yuan ($125,000) in funds to good use by renovating poor schools around the area, including adding a new dormitory and dining hall to Fuman’s primary school.
“The school now has new wiring, lights, windows, and doors. The ground has been hardened and the walls have been reinforced,” China’s official Xinhua news agency quotesChen Furong, the director of the Ludian County Education Bureau, as saying.
Here are some photos of Wang’s newly-renovated school:
As well as a video:
Director Chen added that electric heaters have also been installed in the dormitories, meaning that rather than walking back home each day…
Fuman and his older sister can simply stay at school Monday through Friday in relative comfort.
Xinhua reports that 73 students are already staying in the school’s dormitory. Although these facilities may not be the kind of quality that Fuman got to experience when he was in Beijing or during his brief stay at a city private school, this is certainly an important step forward for giving kids like him better access to education.
[Images via Yunnan.cn]