|Grassroots National People's Congress (NPC) deputy Li Ling, 36, has been working for rural education in the county of Huaiyang, central China's Henan Province since 2002. [Women of China/Fan Wenjun]|
Li Ling, 36, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), has been working for rural education in the county of Huaiyang, central China's Henan Province, since 2002.
Li is a rural teacher and headmistress at Xuwan Hope Primary School in Huaiyang, where there are over 600 students and 80 percent of those are "left behind" children, meaning they have no supervision from their migrant parents.
Li graduated from Huaiyang Normal University in 2002. After graduation, she decided to build a primary school in her hometown instead of working in a city.
A year later, she borrowed two bungalows in Xuwan and the school began to operate.
"Although this is a private school, it is a not-for-profit. It is a rural primary school but has the same educational qualities as in the city. It is a place for learning and a warm harbor for left-behind children," Li said.
At the beginning, there were only some 30 students. Li and her younger brother are the teachers and their mother is responsible for the daily life of the students.
As the school grew bigger, Li decided to build a library.
In the summer of 2009, Li went to Zhengzhou to buy second-hand books on the streets riding an old tricycle. A picture by a netizen recorded her riding a tricycle in the rain, which led to her story becoming well-known by others. Li was selected as one of the Top 10 "Touching China" People of 2009.
The sudden attention has brought lots of changes to the school. To her delight, the small library was finally built under the help of the government and social forces, and the left-behind children can now even chat by video with their parents who work thousands of miles away.
Today, the school's teaching quality ranks in the forefront of the town, and a number of left-behind children studying here have entered universities.
As an NPC deputy for 2018, Li collected many opinions about rural education from over 20 villages and delivered those suggestions to the Congress.
"Rural education is the cornerstone of the revitalization of the country," Li said. At this year's NPC annual session, she also focuses on rural education and hopes that the state will continue to increase support for rural education and promote balanced development of urban and rural education.
"When children and young teachers are willing to stay in villages, the country will be full of vigor and vitality," she concluded.
(Source: Xinhuanet.com/Translated and edited by Women of China)