Guilan Wang – China

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “The villagers trust me a lot and let me completely fulfill myself in the lecture room. In the village school I teach the children everything I have learned. This makes me fulfill the values of life”.

Wang recognizes her achievement in teaching: “the villagers trust me a lot, and let me fully fulfil myself in the lecture room. In this village school, I teach language, mathematics, music and physical education. I teach the children eveything I have learned. This makes me fulfil the values of life”.

And she says: “I do not regret at all. I might miss an important chance, but I have obtained two valuable things: one, I met my husband who brings me happiness. I would rather say that I have found my true love, the only true love in my life. … Two, in the process of developing my career, I have met sincere rural people who treat like family. I cannot forget that whenever I do home visits or arrange parents’ meeting, I am completely impressed by their generosity and hospitality”.

She says also:

Guilan Wang - China rogne.jpg.

Guilan Wang – China

She works for the Kindergarten of Huangling County, Yan’an City, Shaanxi Province

Wang Guilan was born in 1949. Shortly after graduating from Beijing Normal College, she went to Yan’an, the cradle of the Chinese Communist Revolution, along with 28,000 educated youths. It was 1968. Since the Cultural Revolution started in 1966, 15 million educated youths voluntarily or involuntarily went to the countryside throughout China. Most of them were inspired by the grand idea of serving the poorest, and they dispersed into the remote and barren regions.

At the very beginning, Wang planned to stay in the remote yellow earth of Shaanxi Province for several years. But she did not expect that this period would stretch to thirty years as it has done. More than a hundred educated youths, including Wang, were to stay in Yijun County. Wang gradually got accustomed to the local living pattern, and then she found her own place in teaching.

Her major area of study was mathematics, but she taught the rural children every subject. Until now, Wang has taught more than 3000 students, and most of them became the backbone of the local community.

Wang taught the rural children not only how to read and write, but also how to be independent and responsible persons. Most of her students lived far away from school, so they had to stay at school overnight. Wang always reminded them: “you come here, and you should learn to be an independent person. Do everything by yourself. Don’t depend on your parents.” Evey night, Wang went several times to see if the students were all right.

In 1974, Wang married a local mathematics teacher who lived in Huangling County. They had two sons. Her husband has been very supportive of her, he helps out with household work such as cooking rice, steaming buns and making noodles, which makes it easier for Wang to concentrate on school matters.

Since the 1950s, China has carried out a household registration system which maintains the rural-urban divide. After the reform and open-door policy of 1978, the urban educated young people who stayed in the rural regions were allowed to go back to the cities, but this did not apply to their spouse or children. Some people chose to get a divorce. This system presented a dilemma for Wang: should she abandon her family and return to Beijing or remain in the countryside ? Barring her, all the educated youths in Yijun County left for the city.

Wang had several opportunities to do so as well, but after much thought, she chose to stay. She speaks of her feelings honestly: “I am not God but a human being. I still have family in Beijing. I grew up there, and I have those unforgettable memories. And, there would be good opportunities for development. How could I resist these things? However, I found that family and social relations were no longer simple. In the world of feelings, I no longer belonged to myself.

At school, the poor and backward yellow earth really needs professional teachers like me. The humble and kind villagers and the children who had a burning desire to learn did not want me to leave. It was hard for me to refuse their love. And, I would be upset if I abandoned my little sons.”

Wang chose to stay. She explained that the yellow earth brought her true love and a community spirit of give-and-take. Wang admitted that she has already become one of them.

When asked to compare city living with living in the countryside, Wang felt that something deep inside her body resisted the cosmopolitan lifestyle: “the present-day Beijing is no longer the one in my mind. The intrusion of modern civilization has made me keep a distance from Beijing. When I am walking on the street, I find that there are too many people, too much noise and the air is so polluted. And, I do not know how to use those modern electric appliances. I hope I will go back soon to my yellow earth.”

Her contribution to rural literacy earned her the respect of the local community. In 1992, she was appointed schoolmistress of a local primary school.

Yet, she faced a problem that was linked to the education reform policy. Wang had to re-arrange the teachers’ appointments. Some teachers were not satisfied with the arrangement that they had to teach in remote mountainous regions. They even had quarrels with Wang. This was the first time she faced anything negative from the local people. However, through friendly discussion and negotiation, Wang tried to explain her decision and to clear the bad feelings among the teachers. In the end, most of the teachers understood and accepted the arrrangement. Currently, Wang is the general secretary of a local kindergarten.

Wang takes rural education as a “cultural revolution”. She works hard to change the rural children’s mindset; and also makes an effort to touch the other world and to transform herself. To Wang, the cultural revolution is the daily engagement in the classroom where she intervenes in the problem of the rural-urban divide. (1000PeaceWomen).

Sorry, I can’t find more informations about Guilan Wang of China, in the Internet, being sure it is the wanted person. There are many Guilan Wang’s, but the descriptions do not fit with our peacewomen.

link: Beijing-International At Your Service, Media & Interview.

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