Spring Bud girl changes fate through education



Wang Fumei (CCTF)

Wang Fumei, a grassroots civil servant from Southwest China's Sichuan province, is a vivid example of the difference an education can make in a person's life –– and in the lives of that person's family members.

Wang is from an impoverished family, from Yizi village, in Butuo, a county in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, in Sichuan. Tucked away deep in the mountains, the county was once one of the most-impoverished areas in China.

Wang started to cook for the family and look after her younger siblings when she was 6. She had to drop out of school at age 12 because her family couldn't afford to pay her tuition. Many of the local residents believed it was useless for a girl to receive an education, because she would eventually get married and look after her house and children.

After she talked with migrant workers who returned home to the village, Wang realized an education was the only way she could leave the mountains and start a life different from that experienced by girls in the village.

In August 1992, Wang told her parents she wanted to resume her education, after a three-year suspension, after she had learned the Spring Bud Project was being introduced in Butuo by the CCTF, to help girls return to school. However, her parents opposed her idea of returning to school.

Eventually, local village officials took Wang's parents to Xixihe Central School, and they told her parents about the Spring Bud Project, the benefits of Wang attending school, and some of the inspirational stories of Spring Bud students. Wang's mother finally agreed to allow Wang to return to school.

In 1996, Wang was admitted to Sichuan Radio and Television Secondary Vocational School, where she studied accounting.

Instead of finding a job in a large city after graduation, Wang chose to return to her village, so she could help with and participate in the development of her hometown.

Wang became a civil servant, and she applied to fill grassroots posts in the most remote areas of Butuo. She worked in three townships before she was promoted to serve as a deputy head of Lada township in June 2019.


Wang Fumei (right) visits a family, in Butuo county, to learn about the family's condition and basic needs. (CCTF)

When she worked as the deputy head of Lada, Wang was responsible for the poverty-alleviation efforts in Boshi, an impoverished Yi village located on the top of a mountain in Lada. Each cadre who held a deputy position in the township's government shared responsibility for the poverty-alleviation efforts in an impoverished village.

During the past three years, Wang has done her utmost to ensure roads and houses are built to improve the lives of residents in Boshi.

She has also led residents in growing walnuts, traditional Chinese medical herbs and other cash crops, and she has helped dropouts return to school, organized technical training for villagers, and guided residents in forming good living habits and a healthy lifestyle.


Wang Fumei (right) working in a field (CCTF)

Thanks to her efforts, Boshi has taken on a new look, and the per-capita income of the residents has nearly doubled, compared with three years ago.

Since she returned home, Wang has grasped every opportunity to encourage parents to let their daughters attend school. She has also encouraged young women to attend vocational training, as well as other forms of education.

Wang's inspirational story has persuaded parents to let their daughters attend school. Currently, all of the school-aged children in the village are enrolled in nearby schools, and parents of all ethnic groups support their children attending school.

Wang has used her own story as an example whenever she has talked with villagers in an effort to curb excessive spending on dowries and extravagant weddings, and to encourage parents to abandon the outdated practice of arranging marriages for their children.

Wang has spared no effort in trying to guarantee girls the right to an education, or to help them lead fulfilling lives.