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Yang Shoushu: 40-year safeguard for children in the mountains

( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2017-09-14

For the 40th year, Yang Shaoshu, a rural school teacher in Qianxi county, Guizhou province, escorted his students through the mountains to school as the new school semester comes.

Yang, 56, teaches at Huashan Primary School in Jinlan town. Every morning, his students from Huagang village follow him to the school, spending over one hour climbing the local tallest peak of Chuantou Mountain and traversing the dangerous Fengzi Cliff.

"We live in a remote area, and the way to school is full of risks, so I need to guide them every day," said Yang.

It is about four kilometers from Huang village to the school. Yang brings sickles and hoes with him to mend the narrow and uneven mountain roads to ensure the safety of students.

Situations are even worse on rainy days. Yang and his students must crawl along the byway to avoid falling from the slippery pavement. Sometimes, Yang will carry the youngest children on his back one by one to pass through.

Yang Shoushu: 40-year safeguard for children in the mountains

Yang Shoushu, a rural teacher in Qianxi county, carries a young student on their way to school. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Yang is also good at teaching lessons. He is the only bilingual teacher at Huashan Primary School, speaking both Mandarin and the native language of the Miao ethnic group. The school has only 53 students, but 22 of them are from the Miao ethnic group.

"Our school can't function without teacher Yang," said the headmaster Wang Yi. "Miao children need to follow Yang to learn Mandarin in the first and second grades."

Through Yang's effort, nobody has dropped out of school, and five of his students have even gone on to enter universities.

Zhao Longyi and his sister Zhao Tingting are left-behind children in the village. They could receive education at school thanks to Yang's support.

"He is full of patience and he will explain things to us again and again, until we understand," Zhao Longyi said. "He often purchases stationary for us," Zhao Tingting added.

Yang has almost devoted all his money and energy to teaching and guiding the Miao children. He still lives in an old and humble house with his wife.

"There is hope to rise out of poverty if there is knowledge," Yang says.

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