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Life changing friendship had a rocky start

Updated: 2013-08-19 14:41
By Xu Lin ( China Daily)

Life changing friendship had a rocky start

Zhang Zhenhua (left) and Wang Li consider themselves 'brothers'. Provided to China Daily

Zhang Zhenhua, 17, never expected to find an "older brother" he can trust and share with. As an only child, he was an introvert, a boy of very few words with fewer social skills.

All that changed when he met Wang Li, a spa director working at the Shangri-La Hotel in Beijing. Their meeting came about because of one of the hotel's corporate responsibility programs, started in 2009.

That year, staff from the hotel started helping students from Dandelion School, which is for the children of migrant workers. Burdened by economic and social pressures, these children, aged between 10 and 16, were often lonely, confused and in dire need of someone to listen to them and give advice.

Volunteers from the hotel staff were paired with students after they were trained by social workers on the correct ways to handle difficult situations.

Wang Li was assigned to Zhang under this program, but their relationship was rocky at first.

"When I first met him, he rarely talked. We had difficulty communicating because he would answer in monosyllables even if I asked him 10 questions," Wang says.

He made effort to talk to Zhang whenever he had time.

He soon found out that Zhang really liked to study.

"I told him I wasn't really good in my studies at school and added some funny anecdotes. He finally showed interest and told me he thought all city dwellers were good at learning," Wang says.

Life changing friendship had a rocky start

Life changing friendship had a rocky start

Blood brother   Determined path

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