Journalist helps rewrite lives of Yi students

Updated 2018-04-19 09:46:05 China Daily

Zhang Junlan gives peaches to children at a village in Liangshan, Sichuan province, during one of her many trips to the remote area.

No mountain high enough to keep reporter from reaching children

For over two decades, Zhang Junlan, 56, has been busy with her reporting role at Tianjin Daily-but she's been up to a lot more, too.

Since 1997, Zhang has taken the lead in several charitable campaigns and helped raise money for students in the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, one of the poorest regions in Sichuan province, greatly improving the lives of the Yi ethnic children there.

Her deeds have impressed a growing number of people-including management and government officials-so much so that in 2010 a charitable workshop was set up at her newspaper.

Braving rugged terrain, challenging roads and often unpredictable weather conditions, Zhang has been to the remotest areas of the region in Sichuan several times, frequently encountering floods, thick mud, landslides and other hazards.

On more than one occasion on her journeys through the mountains, her vehicle nearly plunged off dangerous single-lane plank bridges.

She also knows that visiting the region entails a calculated risk of sorts, as some diseases are endemic to the local population.

"Nevertheless, I will give the money raised by charity to the people and places most in need," Zhang said.

After over 20 years of helping the Yi children, Zhang said she can't remember how many students she has supported. But one thing she said she'll never forget is reminding every student to write letters expressing their gratitude to donors.

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