Tian Huiping, founder of the Star and Rain Education Institute for Autism, had rather humble beginnings.
The institute, the only school and outreach program in China with particular focus of educating autistic children, helps more than 3,000 students a day of all ages, many of whom traveled hundreds of miles to take the 11-week course on offer.
is not an entrepreneur looking for a niche Chinese market in autism.
isn't the most optimistic person in China either.
son was diagnosed with autism, she
planned on poisoning herself and her
institute was founded 15 years ago, help from the government was minimal, usually "help" came in the form of persuading parents to have another child by taking advantage of a loophole in the One-Child Policy concerning parents of disabled children.
Luckily for China, Tian
did not poison herself (nor her
child) and instead stumbled upon a pamphlet written by the Taiwan Autism Association
on the basics of teaching children with autism.
With six autistic children, including her
own child, she
began with a kindergarten class and saw hope, albeit only a little bit, before the kindergarten had to close down due to financial troubles.
Yet that hope carried her
a long way, transforming her
from a pessimistic mother to an educator.