Two unlikely environmental heroes have been found in China! Jia Wenqi, a 53 year old armless man, and Jia Haixia, a 53 year old blind man, have planted over 10,000 trees in the last 10 years, both in their village and the surrounding area.
Planting that many trees in 10 years is a feat in and of itself. The fact that these two disabled men have accomplished this amazing undertaking is truly incredible! When Wenqi was 3 years old, both of his arms had to be amputated after a horrific accident. Haixia was born blind in his left eye and then lost sight in his right eye after an accident at work in 2000.
While many in their situations would have just given up, these two remarkable men decided to do something that would not only make their lives and the lives of their fellow villagers better, but would also benefit the environment for many years to come.
It all began as an idea they had. Due to their physical handicaps, they were having trouble finding jobs. So, they approached some local government officials with their idea. They wanted to lease approximately 8 acres of land near a river and plant trees.
Doing this would be a win/win situation – the men would earn money and the village would benefit because the trees would help prevent flooding. The officials agreed, so the two men got to work.
Since they still didn’t earn enough money to buy saplings, they relied on taking cuttings from grown trees to plant.
They developed a teamwork system over the years which makes the best use of their combined abilities – Haixia climbs the trees to procure the cuttings and Wenqui carries Haixia across the river when necessary.
Once their efforts became well-known, they received an amazing amount of support! Some individuals have made very generous donations to the men’s cause, which has given them an income to support themselves.
A doctor who heard about Haixia’s blindness has offered to perform a surgery that will give him partial vision in both eyes. And, the doctor is willing to do so free of charge!
This story should be a huge motivator for the rest of us! If two disabled men can do such an amazing thing to help the environment and other people, those of us with no disabilities can surely do amazing things to better our world and our existence on it!