The teenager who took on the Taliban . . .
November 13, 2012
It's time to give thanks for our connected planet . . .
November 20, 2012

Hello again from the team at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . .
For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us here at OM HQ.
Young people like Cao Huishen . . . .

Cao suffered a terrible ordeal during his childhood in China . . .

Involved in an electrical accident at home one day, the burns he endured proved so serious that both his arms had to be amputated.

The future seemed bleak for the eight-year-old.

But no-one reckoned on Cao’s remarkable determination and his refusal to give up.

Informed that children unable to write would not be allowed to attend the local school, Cao gritted his teeth and, despite his discomfort, taught himself to hold a pen between his toes.

‘In the beginning, I struggled to grip it and I used to get foot cramps,’ he recalls. ‘But then I figured it out and I used string to tie the pen to the toes. [Doing it like that], I learned to write again.’

Before turning nine, Cao had taught himself to eat, get dressed and ride a bike. In recent times, he has started playing the guitar. His parents struggling to make ends meet, he put his own problems to one side and started delivering newspapers to raise a little extra cash. This, remember, is someone without arms.

These days, having just turned 19, Cao is studying hard at university, learning all about software engineering and looking forward to the bright future that beckons. Still, though, he finds time to help others, using his own astonishing experiences to deliver moving motivational lectures that urge those in need to never give up.

‘People have to do what they’re best at,’ he explains. ‘I feel these stories can give power to many, and so I choose to give incentive lectures. I’m not useless. I’m determined to be a good citizen and to ensure that I make a real contribution to society.’

Such a sentiment is something that strikes a real chord here at OM HQ. That Cao has been through so much but is still striving to make life better – not just for himself, but for others too – inspires us all a great deal.

Everyone suffers setbacks and encounters obstacles in life – though not, thankfully, to the same extent as courageous Cao. That he can achieve so much and still have such an outlook is something that everyone should be able to learn from.

Here’s to a remarkable man, to bravery, determination and not giving up . . .

We are all connected.

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