Project gives girl courage, strength to move ahead
"But for the assistance and encouragement from the Spring Bud Project, and charity-minded individuals, my academic career wouldn't have been so smooth. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without the project," says Zhang Xuehua, a fourth-year student, majoring in chemical engineering and technology, at Hubei Polytechnic University, in Huangshi, in Central China's Hubei province.
Zhang says the project has helped her strengthen her confidence, especially when it comes to personal destiny, and it has helped her develop her strong character and become more active in spreading hope and warmth to more people.
Zhang is from a rural family in Qianjiang, Hubei province. Her father is the family's breadwinner. Her mother, afflicted by diabetes and other diseases, is unable to work. The ever-growing medical bills, for treating Zhang's mother, have further strained the family financially.
Zhang has always studied hard, and she has won scholarships several times. In September 2018, during her second year at Hubei Polytechnic University, Zhang chose to suspend her studies and enlist in the army. Zhang for years had dreamed of becoming a solider in the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Zhang serves as a military training officer for freshmen. (CCTF)
During her military service, Zhang grew from a girl into a full-fledged soldier. For instance, she trekked across two snow-covered mountains, with a load of 20 kilograms, during field training. Another time, in early 2020, she remained at her post, around the clock, after the PLA launched an emergency response to COVID-19 outbreak.
Enlisting in the army not only helped Zhang gain –– and master –– military expertise, it also strengthened her will to face hardships head-on, and to find solutions to difficulties.
Zhang Xuehua (CCTF)
Zhang's mother was hospitalized, in intensive care, for about 20 days in 2017, while Zhang was preparing to write the national college-entrance exam.
Zhang was both worried and unclear about her future –– even after she received the admission letter from Hubei Polytechnic University, and officially became the first member of her family to be admitted to a university –– because her mother hadn't recovered, and because her family was financial strapped, and especially with no sign of improvement. Zhang worried about how she would pay both the university tuition and her living expenses.
Thanks to her excellent performance in her studies, Zhang received enough financial assistance from the Spring Bud Project, which solved her financial concerns.
Zhang Xuehua (CCTF)
Zhang says the project eased the economic burden on her family, and helped her concentrate on her academics, feel the love and assistance of the country, and people from all walks of life, and gave her the strength to move forward.
Zhang returned to campus in 2020, after she completed her two years of military service. Apart from studying hard, she is committed to spreading the love and warmth of the Spring Bud Project.
Zhang has served as a peer mentor for students who enrolled in 2020, and she has helped them as much as she can. She especially cares about students from disadvantaged families, and she often spends time chatting with them.
Zhang (fifth from left) serves as a military training officer for freshmen. (CCTF)
"It is important to maintain a positive attitude toward life, and I hope these students can become more cheerful under the nourishment of love," Zhang says.
In addition, Zhang has served as a military training officer for freshmen for two straight years. She spoke with them about her military experience, and she encouraged them to set lofty ideals, foster their virtues, endeavor to be talents, and shoulder greater responsibilities.
When talking about her future, Zhang says she wants to sit for the PLA civil-servant-recruitment test. Zhang says she is prepared to meet setbacks and challenges on the journey ahead, because the love and care of the Spring Bud Project has provided her with courage and strength.
Zhang Xuehua is doing an experiment. (CCTF)