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Chalk it up to great courage

Updated: 2013-10-20 10:11
By Lyu Chang ( China Daily)

Chalk it up to great courage

Teacher Jiang Shengfa, who lost both arms, says one thing he has learned about life is to never complain and always look at his physical challenge as a positive in life. [Photo Provided to China Daily]

Teacher Jiang Shengfa put the pain of losing both arms in an accident behind him to emerge an inspirational example that anything is possible, reports Lyu Chang.

Substitute teacher Jiang Shengfa's grasp of his potential has long ago exceeded his reach.

The 39-year-old armless teacher at Weixin county of Zhaotong, a city in northeastern Yunnan province, has overcome a daunting physical challenge to excel both as a veteran teacher for the past decade, and as a single father in one of the most remote rural areas in China.

At a training program in Shanghai for rural teachers, Jiang tells China Daily that one thing he has learned about life is to never complain and always look at his physical challenge as a positive in life.

"My life has never been easy, but I managed to survive and have a life that I enjoy," he says. "One of my strengths comes from good people around me - students, my family and everyone in between."

Jiang, who lost both of his arms in a disastrous high-voltage incident when he tried to fix an electrified wire in the winter in 1996, has managed to teach by using chalk tied to his protrusions from his shoulders.

The married father of an 18-year-old son spends each day surrounded by his students, who learn both Chinese and life lessons from his inspirational example.

"In my heart, he is a great man and he shows us how to believe in yourself," Chen Yiting, a fourth-grade student says. "Though he lost his hands, his handwriting is the best in our school and he is very good at calligraphy."

Life is hard, but looking back, Jiang says he has survived and become a living example that anything is possible.

After the incident in 1996, Jiang nearly lost his ability to work and spent all his savings on hospital treatment. To compound matters, Jiang's wife ran away from home and their newborn baby.

To survive, Jiang went out in rags to beg on the streets of big cities like Guangzhou and Chongqing, leaving his son with his mother.

But one disaster came after another - his mother died several years later, driving his life to the last ditch.

As a result, he had to leave his son with his elder brother and sister-in-law. To save money, Jiang had to tighten his belt and ate only one meal a day.

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