After photos of a school boy with icy hair went viral on Chinese social media earlier this week, netizens rushed to send donations to foundations supporting his school and other educational facilities in the poverty-stricken area.
Dubbed 'Ice Boy,' third grader Wang Fuman touched the hearts of many after it was revealed that he walks 4.5 kilometers for over an hour to school every day in rural Yunnan province. The day the famous image was captured by his teacher, temperatures in his hometown of Zhaotong were as low as -9C.
"Going to school isn’t hard," said Wang. "My classmates told me my hair was completely covered in snow and then I made a face at them."
The photo went viral after the teacher sent the image to the school's principal. Here's what the principal told Chinese media about the boy (translation via What's On Weibo):
“The temperature was minus nine degrees that morning, and it was the first day of the finals exams. The temperature had dropped within half an hour, and his home was already far away, so when he arrived in the classroom his hair was covered in frost. It’s a cute kid and he made a funny face when he came to the classroom, making his classmates laugh."
Wang is a 'left-behind child,' one of millions of children who are separated from parents working far away from home to support the family. His father is a 28-year-old migrant worker who earns a little over just RMB2,000 per month to support the boy and his siblings (a brother and a sister). The family also raises pigs to provide another source of income; each day after school Wang looks after them.
READ MORE: A Portrait of China's Left-Behind Children
Netizens were particularly moved by the fact that Wang excelled in math and received 99 out of 100 possible points on a recent exam, despite having swollen hands.
Meanwhile, Wang's school is situated in a poor county of Yunnan province that was hit by an 6.5-magnitude earthquake in 2014, according to What's on Weibo. The earthquake killed more than 600 people and destroyed 80,000 homes. The school didn't have central heating at the time the story went viral.
After Wang's story was picked up by both local and international news outlets, netizens were eager to help out in any way they could.
And help they did. According to People's Daily, the boy's father received tons of phone calls from people around the country offering to provide financial assistance.
"I gave them our address and my phone number," said Wang's father. "I really appreciate their help.
Meanwhile, the provincial Communist Youth League set up a program to raise funds to provide winter clothes for children in the area and a heating system for the school. So far the league has sent around RMB100,000 worth of charitable donations to various institutions.
Each of the 81 students at Wang's school were even given a RMB500 winter heating allowance.
For details on how to donate to the foundation, click here (in Chinese).