Orphans find musical refuge

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-30 23:53:01

A girl named Sezha in Liangshan reacts to seeing that her grandparents' home has been demolished for safety reasons. Photo: IC

The Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province is isolated, poor and suffers from many social issues as a result, including child labor and high rates of addiction.

Many locals have left the mountains to work as migrant laborers, while others have become drug addicts, sometimes contracting HIV as a result. This has left a lot of children parentless.

Rescuing orphans and "left-behind" children from extreme poverty has become a thorny problem, with some NGOs now working in the region.

In February 2014, Kang Li, 64, headmistress of a music school in Wuhan, Hubei Province, brought 67 children from Liangshan, most of them orphans, to Wuhan to offer them free boarding and training in music. She now has 93 such children in residence.

Kang's music school originally only trained private students who aimed to become professional musicians, and her students have gone on to many musical institutions like the Shanghai Opera House. But now, due to her own kindness and desire to help the kids, the institution has taken on a more charitable tinge.

In October, some of the children who are ethnically Yi, one of China's minorities, asked to return home to celebrate their traditional new year, and the cost of train tickets further strained Kang's finances. Thanks to donations from entrepreneurs, she brought the children back to Wuhan.

Though Kang's school now runs mainly on donations, she said she's determined to help more children out.

Global Times

Children from Liangshan relish their full meals in Kang Li's school. Photo: IC

Kang Li directs the kids to read textbooks at her school in Wuhan. Photo: IC

Kang Li gives the children a music class at her school. Photo: IC

Children looking after their younger brothers or sisters is common in Liangshan. Photo: IC



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