Wenwen was diagnosed with congenital heart disease when he was three years old. His parents thought the disease was incurable. When he was 13, Wenwen’s relatives helped him find Little Red Scarf so he could have surgery.
Wenwen now attends 7th grade in the rural local school. He boards there and comes home once a week. The school provides free boarding but charges 1500 RMB (about $240 USD) a year for food. Wenwen’s parents give him 40-50 RMB (about $7 USD) a week to use for transportation, school supplies, and pocket money. Wenwen is a frugal boy and some weeks can save up to 20-30 RMB. He is a good student, getting second place in the school finals. “We’re very proud of him,” his parents say.
The family has 2 acres of land, over 80% of which is on the mountains. They grow just enough crops for themselves, such as wheat, corn, potato, and rapeseed. It is difficult to make money since the harvest depends on the weather. Last year there was a surplus of wheat (500 kg) and rapeseed (100 kg).
Wenwen’s father said with a smile, “I am happy if we don’t lose money. Any surplus would count as our income.” Wenwen’s father finds extra work (mostly physical labor) when there are no crops to be planted or harvested. He can earn 15,000 RMB (about $2400 USD) in three months. This money would be used to pay for the children’s schooling, buying fertilizers, and other miscellaneous expenses. Wenwen’s younger brother and sisters are still in elementary school, so their expenses are not as much as Wenwen’s.
The family’s house was severely damaged from the Wenchuan earthquake. The government took it down and built them a new house. Seven years later, they still owe 20,000 RMB (over $3,100 USD).
Wenwen’s father hopes we can help subsidize Wenwen’s school expenses so he can pay off the loan as quickly as possible.
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