K.W. in high school
My name is K. W. I’m from a very poor village in Henan Province, one of the most impoverished provinces in China.
My parents divorced when I was only two years old, and I was left with my alcoholic dad. One day, my dad sold me to the owner of a restaurant because he couldn’t pay for his drink. I spent the next few days alone in a dark shed, with very little food and water. The horrific memory of those days still haunts me today. Fortunately my grandparents found me and brought me back home.
I was a top student for the first five years when I was in elementary school. Then at 6th grade, i went to the town for a boarding school. That was the first time I was away from my family, and I was really excited about my newly gained "freedom". Without the supervision of my grandparents, I began to smoke, drink, and get into fights. Unsurprisingly, my grades plummeted. By the end of the school year, I was one of the worst students and was expelled from the school.
At the young age of 11, I left home and began to earn my own living. At the beginning, I felt that I had finally broken free from all the constraints and could enjoy my new life. But after a while, I was crushed by the reality. Since I was a minor, I could only find part-time jobs at construction sites. The work was painstaking, especially during summer when the sun was so brutal. My clothes were always soaked in sweat, and I fainted several times under the severe heat. I was verbally abused constantly by the head worker, and always given the hardest and dirtiest jobs. I thought about quitting and going back to school, but I believed there was no turning back.
One day, while passing by a school, I heard the students reading aloud from their textbooks. That night, I dreamt of returning to school. When I woke up from the dream, I cried my heart out. How I wished that I could return to school! At that moment, I knew it was time for me to go home.
When I finally made home, I told grandpa that I knew I had messed up, but I really wanted to return to school. “As long as you want to go back”, grandpa said, “we will do our best to support you”. It was at that time I met SOAR.
So three years after leaving the campus, I finally returned, with my old school bag and a new determination for success. Since 2017, SOAR Foundation has provided me scholarships through my three-year high school. And at the same time, I was enlightened by the SOAR mentors. I am now a college student. My experience made me realize that although there might be many storms in our life’s journey, the most beautiful rainbows will always appear after the storms. Every cloud has a silver lining and SOAR is my silver lining. As for my future plan, I hope I could get a master’s degree after college so that I can better serve our society. I’m very grateful for the volunteers and donors from SOAR as well as my grandparents, and I hope I can repay their love and support with my hard work. No matter what challenges are awaiting for me, I’m confident that I will be able to overcome them and lead a meaningful life.
Thank you SOAR!
The 2021 first issue of the SOAR newsletter is now available. Please click the link below to view it online:
K.W. working as a minor construction worker