Orphans, whose parents died of AIDS, play a game at the Zhonghua Red Ribbon Home, an orphanage Sun Huixi collected bottles to help build.
Despite the fact this heart-warming act took place a few years ago now, the then 12 year-old schoolboy Sun Huixi didn’t receive the recognition he deserved, so we want to highlight it today.
For two years Sun spent his hours after school collecting plastic bottles, an incredible 160,000 in total, just so that he could donate the money to other children in need.
Sun Huixi collecting bottles after school
Living in Harbin, a major city in northeast China, Sun had learned about the plight of the orphaned children in the AIDs stricken villages of Henan in Shangcai County.
A botched series of blood transfusions and donations had led to one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics, with up to a million people infected.
To help take care of the children that had lost their parents to the virus, the Chinese Red Ribbon charity was building an orphanage.
Henan was an 18 hour drive from where Sun lived, yet he wanted to help the children. At first he donated all his savings to the charity, $30 in total.
Then the bottle collecting began. Over the two year period Sun managed to round up the estimated 160,000 plastic bottles, raising $2,700.
When you consider his parents combined income was just $270 a month you begin to realise what an achievement this was.
Sun Huixi with some of the 100 yuan bills he made by selling plastic bottles
In May 2005, Sun was invited to the opening ceremony of the Chinese Red Ribbon Home, where he donated all the money he had raised.
Since then, he carried on collecting bottles and donated more money along with 800 books to the orphanage.
However, despite his innate desire to help others, Sun found himself mocked and ignored by his peers at the time. He was bullied at school and was labelled “the little scraps collector”.
“I’m doing a good thing. Why do they disagree with me?” Sun told the China Daily.
His mother wasn’t entirely happy with his bottle-collecting mission either. She often advised him not to spend so much time doing it, out of fear for his health.
Children at the Red Ribbon Orphanage in the Henan Province.
When asked whether he wanted to buy anything for himself Sun simply said: “I want to buy game disks and socks, but they are not necessities for me. But for those orphans, the money could help them buy food and go to school.”
Sun did receive a national award for his contribution to the country’s anti-AIDS campaign. For this he attended a special program on China Central Television (CCTV) to mark the 20th World AIDS Day.
To Sun, his reasons for helping the children were simple: “I just want to give the AIDS orphans some warmth and love,” he said. “They won’t feel lonely if everyone shows some love towards them.”