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Wǒ Men Podcast: How a Faulty Vaccine Derailed This Woman’s Life – And How She Fought Back

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The Wǒ Men Podcast is a discussion of life in China hosted by Yajun Zhang, Jingjing Zhang and Karoline Kan. Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men Podcast can be found here, and you can subscribe to Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

Life is not always fair, particularly in a dramatically changing society such as China. While many children from one child families in China enjoy the undivided attention of their parents, others need to fight for themselves to achieve a better future.

Cai, our anonymous guest for this episode, was given a faulty vaccine shot as a small child in rural China that caused her to contract polio. For a while she was in critical condition and half of her body was paralyzed.

Her illness led to her being almost abandoned by her family. As the eldest of four, in the eyes of the family Cai’s debilitating disease meant she could no longer bring them any value. Even as she began to recover, she was constantly reminded that she owed the family due to the costs involved with her treatment.

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All of this could easily have become yet another tragic tale of an unwanted girl in China. However, Cai was determined to forge a different narrative. She moved to Beijing and supported herself by working various jobs without seeking any support from her family. At the same time, she pursued a course of self-study, sitting a series of exams over the course of ten years. She built a successful language education career and landed a job in the Danish Embassy. Today, she works as a project manager in a technology mobility company.

Her story is inspirational, but also sheds some light on the struggles that many young women face in rural China.

Listen below on Mixcloud, or find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

Cover photo: Chang Duong on Unsplash

Wǒ Men Podcast
Wǒ Men Podcast is produced and hosted by Yajun Zhang and Jingjing Zhang, who discuss a variety of topics and share a diversity of voices from on the ground inside contemporary China.