It’s a miracle how some children make it to school alive under such harsh conditions.

Winter in China can be harsh, particularly in poorer regions of the country where heating is considered a luxury. Some of their protective winter clothing make wearers look walking mattresses, but as long as it keeps teeth from chattering, that’s all that matters.

An astonishing photo of an third grade elementary school boy in Xinjie Town, China has alerted netizens to the heart-rending state of some schools recently. Having just arrived in the classroom with hair and eyebrows covered in frost, what startled netizens most was the fact that he only had a light jacket to ward off the freezing cold.

▼ How can a child tolerate such bitter
coldness in those clothes is beyond anyone.

According to the principal of the school, it takes more than an hour for the child to commute to class (2.8 miles, 4.5 kilometers), and in the morning the picture was taken, the temperature had suddenly dropped to 15.8 Fahrenheit (-9 Celcius) while he was still making his way there.

▼ It was also the first day of the exam period, and so the
poor student had no choice but to brave the frigid winter winds.

The boy’s parents are never at home as they work in another city, leaving him and his siblings to their own devices. While the school provides students with breakfast in the form of bread or biscuits, the meager fare is far from sufficient for a growing child.

What’s worse is that the school isn’t equipped with any form of heating at all, which essentially turns the entire building into a hellish icy prison. Students are constantly shivering through the extreme coldness, and it’s gotten to the point where almost every child suffers from frostbite.

Chinese netizens were heartbroken after seeing his photo:

“This is so sad. Even his face is showing signs of frostbite.”
“How can I help him?”
“I feel sorry for the kid. Someone please give him a thick jacket and a cap.”
“We still have a long way to go in aiding disadvantaged people. I hope this will improve over time.”
“The poor child.”

The photo has generated a lot of online support, and fortunately for the boy, the story has a good ending to it. Local authorities have begun providing warm clothing to the boy and to others in need amid calls for better welfare. Given how extremely cold winters can get over there, they really should have provided help a lot sooner though.

Source: Twitter/@PDChina, Sina, UDN
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso

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