BEIJING - Thousands of children living in poverty and cold in China's Yunnan province can look forward to a bit of warmth this winter, thanks to the story of the Snowflake Boy.
The Yunnan China Youth Development Foundation has launched a public donation campaign for all the needy students in the province, China Daily reported on Tuesday (Jan 16).
The foundation has promised to give each needy child 500 yuan (S$102) - including the Snowflake Boy - to help them stay warm in winter.
As of 4pm on Monday, the foundation has collected nearly 2.8 million yuan (S$575,583) in public donations, according to its website.
Between last Wednesday (Jan 10) and Friday, the foundation had organised three events to give out donations to thousands of left-behind children as well as children living in cold mountainous regions in nine prefecture-level areas including Kunming, Zhaotong, Nujiang and Lijiang.
Left-behind children are those whose parents left to work in the cities for a better living. These children, usually from the rural areas, are cared for by their grandparents or relatives.
Meanwhile, the Zhaotong city government said that the education department has been urged to ensure heating is provided to all schools in mountainous areas as soon as possible, China Daily reported.
Local authorities and various groups in Yunnan province have sprung into action following the story of Snowflake Boy, who braved frigid temperatures to reach his school in rural Zhaotong for the final examinations.
Eight-year-old Wang Fuman became an Internet sensation after a photograph of his ice-covered hair and eyebrows went viral online, giving rise to the nickname Snowflake Boy. He had walked 4.5km in minus 9 deg C conditions for an hour on Jan 8.
On Tuesday, China Daily reported that Fuman had done well in the exams. He scored 82 marks in Chinese and 90 in mathematics, his favourite subject.
Fuman also ranked third out of 17 pupils in his Grade 3 class in Zhuanshanbao Primary School.
In an interview with Beijing News last week, Fuman said he hopes to do well enough in school to study in Beijing eventually.
"I have a dream of being a policeman when I grow up because there are many bad people in the world," he said, according to China Daily on Tuesday.
His father, Mr Wang Gangkui, 29, said the family had received donations of more than 10,000 yuan (S$2,055) from all over the country as of Monday.
In addition, people have also sent the boy and his elder sister, Fumei, winter clothes, shoes, books and notebooks, China Daily reported.
"I like this book because there are lots of interesting stories in it," said Fuman, pointing to a donated cartoon book called Tianfangqitan, which features fairytale stories.
After Fuman's photo circulated on the Internet, a construction company in Zhaotong city offered his father a job building houses, which pays up to 200 yuan (S$41) a day. He has been doing similar temporary work in Kunming, earning about 2,500 yuan per month.
Mr Wang said the new job would allow him to go home every two to three days, according to Beijing News on Tuesday. His son had said in an earlier interview with social media site Pear Video that he missed his father, whom he had not seen for a few months.
Fuman attracted attention nationwide after his photo was posted on the Internet by the principal of his school.
Fuman lives in Ludian town with his father, 10-year-old sister and his grandmother in Zhaotong's impoverished mountainous area. His mother left home two years ago, China Daily reported.
At the end of 2017, there were 1.13 million people living under the poverty line in Zhaotong, according to Yunnan Daily. There are 9,338 left-behind children in Ludian, accounting for 11.2 per cent of more than 80,000 students in total, according to thepaper.cn