Disabled Chinese girl who’s catching up fast at school is role model for determination and perseverance

  • Chengxue, 9, has started school and is winning praise for her hard work
  • Headmaster says girl is ‘a vivid example’ to her schoolmates and teachers
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 4:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 9:16pm

A nine-year-old girl in southwest China whose perseverance and determination have overcome congenital disability in her arms and legs has been hailed as a role model by her community, local media report.

You Chengxue was born with undeveloped limbs – she cannot walk as other people do and cannot write in the conventional way, Chengdu Business News said. Her parents are farmers in Wanyuan, Sichuan province.

With the help of her family, Chengxue learned to use her legs and feet to handle daily chores. She is able to eat, dress herself, brush her teeth, wash her face, write, thread needles, peel garlic and do handicrafts such as paper-cutting skilfully – all with her feet.

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Chengxue, who started primary school this year, has been praised for her determination and hard work in class and for completing her homework, the report said.

“The moment when Xiaoxue [the girl’s nickname] was born, she was not like other kids,” her mother, Chen Xiangying, was quoted as saying.

“But we’ve always tried to raise her well. We never thought of giving her up,” her father, You Yunbing, told the newspaper.

Chengxue began to learn to walk with the help of a stool at the age of three and mastered this skill by the time she was six. This boosted her confidence in picking up other life skills, she said.

“In the past my mother and my younger sister were my crutches. Now I can take care of myself,” Chengxue said.

Regular schools refused to enrol Chengxue, while special education schools only enrolled children with mental disabilities, the report said, citing Gong Shixuan, the headmaster of Jiuyuan Primary School where Chengxue is studying.

She was given a place at the school in September after local authorities stepped in, Gong said. Her mother took a job in the school canteen to provide help to her daughter if needed.

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Teacher Xu Changmei said she was moved by the beautiful and neat characters Chengxue writes with her foot. The girl is outgoing and active at school and does not let her disability keep her from playing with classmates, the teacher said.

“Xiaoxue herself is a vivid example. She is educating us with her own story,” Gong said.