A girl from rural China has received a national award after looking after her family of five devotedly at the tender age of 13.
Wu Bangju, from poverty-stricken Guizhou Province, has to take care of her two elderly grandparents and two younger siblings after her parents moved to the city for work.
‘Because my grandparents are old and my brother and sister are little, it’s my duty to care for them,’ Bangju told a local reporter while washing cabbage in a bowl.
Wu Bangju (pictured) looks after her elderly grandmother and two young siblings in rural China
The 13-year-old, who is a top pupil at school, washes clothes, boils water and cooks every day
Bangju is one of the nine million children in China who have been left behind by their migrant worker parents.
So called the ‘left-behind’ children, these boys and girls usually live with their grandparents or relatives, and only get to meet their parents, who work and live in the city, once a year.
The 13-year-old Bangju, her grandparents and her sister and brother live in a small village in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China.
The girl walks to her school every day and after she comes home, she has to wash clothes, boil water and cook for the family of five, according to Chinese news site QQ.com, in a report citing China Central Television Station.
Bangju was named the ‘most responsible child’ by China Central Television Station in a national award ceremony in January, reported Sina.com.
Bangju’s most cherished possession is a pair of shoes she’s worn for eight years (pictured)
Bangju cooks at home while the wall behind her is filled with award certificates she has won
The Chinese public are especially touched after knowing that Bangju has worn the same pair of shoes every day for eight years.
Apparently, the pair of green trainers is Bangju’s most treasured possession.
The report said when her grandmother bought the shoes for a five-year-old Bangju, she deliberately bought a large size – so that Bangju could wear them longer.
It’s said that when Bangju first wore the shoes, they often slid off her feet because they were too big; however eight years on, the sneakers are almost too small for her.
As the pillar of her family, Bangju is also a top student in her middle school.
Footage shows her home is decorated by many award certificates she has worn. A fan of dancing, she is also a member of the school dancing team.
Speaking of her contribution to the family, a humble Bangju told China Central Television Station: ‘I think I am not doing enough. I wish I could grow up faster, so I could help my grandparents do more housework.’
The family live in a cramped room where they use the same space for cooking and studying
The 13-year-old, pictured doing traditional dance, is a member of her school’s dancing team
The fate of China’s ‘left-behind’ children – and their family – has been in media spotlight in the past two month.
Among them, the most famous name is Wang Fuman. Eight-year-old Wang, from Yunnan Province, shot to fame after his hair became frozen following an hour-long walk to school on a harsh winter morning.
A picture of the boy and his icy hair became viral in China last month. Wang’s father worked in the city and his mother abandoned him, his father and his elder sister.
In another case, a blind woman and her deaf husband are left to care for their 12 grandchildren in rural Hunan Province after all of their sons and their wives moved to the city.
China’s ‘left-behind’ children: Nine million boys and girls are abandoned by their parents
‘Left-behind’ children often live in the poorest parts of China, such as Yunnan (pictured)
More than nine million children have been ‘left behind’ in China’s countryside, according to latest statistics released by Beijing in 2016.
Their parents are migrant workers who decide to move to the cities to find job in order to make money.
Many of these migrant worker parents claim they have no other choices than leaving their rural hometowns for a living.
Their children would have limited access to schooling and healthcare in the cities under China’s household registration system, forcing them to be left with relatives.
The plight of their children is one of the most emotive consequences of China’s decades-long economic boom.
These children are usually looked after by grandparents but sometimes have no guardians at all.
In most cases, they see their mother and father only once a year around the Lunar New Year.