Student helps to finance poor children's education

By Huang Zhiling in Chengdu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-17 07:11

Student helps to finance poor children's education

Tang Lisha practices Chinese calligraphy in a classroom at Chengdu Normal University.[Provided to China Daily]

Woman sends income from odd jobs to those in need in Chongqing

Tang Lisha, a 21-year-old student at Chengdu Normal University in Sichuan province who comes from a poor family in Chongqing, is helping three students at her alma mater complete their middle school studies.

Tang Zhongqian, 14, is busy preparing for her high school entrance examination, which falls on June 12. As a top student, she is sure to pass the exam, according to Tang Guoming, her teacher at Longxi Middle School in Chongqing's Dazu district.

But he said Tang Zhongqian would not have been able to complete her middle school studies if it had not been for Tang Lisha's financial support.

Tang Lisha studied at the middle school and is neighbors with Tang Zhongqian in Dazu's Zhuxi town.

Tang Zhongqian was brought up by her grandparents as her father went missing and her mother remarried. Her family is poor and she did not know if she would be able to complete middle school. In 2014, she told Tang Lisha, who is an advertisement design major, that she admired her college life.

Tang Lisha promised to help. Her father is a middle school English teacher in Zhuxi earning about 2,000 yuan ($290) a month, according to reporters from Chengdu Economic Daily who visited her home.

To raise money to help Tang Zhongqian, she undertook a number of odd jobs in her spare time, including polishing shoes, selling waste paper and delivering leaflets for restaurants, optical shops, computer dealers and training schools.

On weekends, she would head for railway, bus and subway stations in Chengdu to polish shoes. While shoe polishers in their 50s and 60s tended to elbow out their inexperienced competitors, some clients took pity on her after hearing her story.

"One middle-aged company manager insisted on paying me 100 yuan for polishing a pair of shoes after learning that I needed money to help my neighbor, and some other clients followed suit," she said.

Tang Lisha's father was a self-taught artist who taught her how to paint when she was a child.

As a sophomore, she started running art classes to teach children how to paint.

"I am paid between 80 and 100 yuan for one class of 40 to 50 kids. As I teach at several training schools, it helps me earn much more than a shoe polisher," she said.

Before she began painting classes, she sent 50 to 100 yuan to Tang Zhongqian whenever she made money, but she is now able to send her 1,000 yuan a month.

The cost of living is cheaper in mountainous Dazu, and schools do not charge middle school students tuition fees. A frugal student can cover their living expenses with about 300 yuan a month. The money she sends is used by Tang Zhongqian and two other students to lessen the burden on their families, according to Wang Lianming, a teacher at Longxi Middle School.

Both Tang Guoming and Wang taught Tang Lisha when she studied there. After beginning her studies at the university, she told both teachers about her intention to help students who had financial difficulties, but were eager to learn.

Thanks to their recommendations, she became acquainted with Zhang Miao and Xie Guanghong, two students with good academic records.

Zhang, 14, has a disabled father and a brother who attends preschool. To support the family of four, her mother makes a living from manual work.

Xie Guanghong, 15, lives in an earthen house with his parents, who have heart disease and diabetes.

Thanks to Tang Lisha's financial support, Zhang and Xie will also take the high school entrance examination next month.

Motivated by Tang Lisha, Tang Zhongqian, Zhang and Xie said they would follow in her footsteps and help people in need when they grow up.

Li Ruofeng contributed to this story.

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