Nicknamed the ‘angel on horseback’, Dan Zhengcao has ridden through the Chinese countryside bringing much needed medical treatment to remote rural villages for twelve years. If providing free medicine to those who would otherwise do without, Dan also saved over 20,000 yuan in order to set up a scholarship in Sanke Township in Gansu province.
In 1973, when she was just 16, Dan dropped out of school, but was fortunate enough to do so just as a ‘barefoot doctor’ scheme was being set up in her home county. She was given basic medical and midwifery training, and took it upon herself to study physiology, nursing and clinical science on the side. Returning home to rural Gansu, Dan was appalled at the level of medical care available to the local peasants, many of whom still depended on fortune tellers and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.
Dan began travelling around Gansu, providing medical treatment to anyone that needed it, for free if they could not afford it (she also accepts non-traditional forms of payment, such as sheep or pigs). In order to access the most remote areas of the province, Dan travelled by horseback, using one of the oldest forms of transport to deliver state-of-the-art modern medicine. She only stopped travelling twice a year, during which time she attended training in rural hospitals to improve her medical knowledge and skill.
Now Dan is being recognised for her charity and hard work, she has been nominated as part of Xinhua’s ‘Most Moving Stories of 2012‘. You can vote for her here (CN) and browse the other stories.