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Sheltering arms

By Zhang Yue | China Daily | Updated: 2013-01-24 13:45
Sheltering arms

Chen Wanxia hopes her students get a good education at the boarding school, and also see it as a second home. Yang Zi / For China Daily

For the children of migrant workers left at home, a dedicated teacher is providing security and a chance to learn, Zhang Yue reports in Anhui province.

Chen Wanxia can hardly get a moment of rest at school.

Children swarm around her most of the time after class, and they drag the 43-year-old to and fro for almost everything: showing her their good grades, looking for something they've missed, or asking questions about homework.

In the boarding school that holds 330 students at the moment, more than 200 are children left behind by their parents who migrated to cities for work.

The school, which she named Sunshine Primary School, is located in Chenji township of Hefei, Anhui province.

"I love teaching," Chen says. "But I would never have thought of setting up a school of my own if not for these kids."

Chen has worked as a teacher in the primary school of her home village since she was 18. Because she was the best-educated person in the village at that time, she was well respected by parents, and always warmly welcomed in the neighborhood.

The village school was relocated to Chenji township for better hardware and stricter management in 2005. Chen then moved to a teaching position in a middle school in the county, which brought her a monthly salary of more than 3,000 yuan ($482).

"At that time, both my son and my daughter were also studying at the new school," Chen recalls. "And my salary was much higher than before. It was the perfect choice for my family."

One weekend in the summer of 2006, Chen was visiting her parents back in their home village when she noticed some children she used to teach going back home.

"The kids were running, quarreling and fighting noisily on the muddy road," she recalls. "Their school was about two hours' walk from home. They could never get home before the day turned dark."

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