Peng Jiangya lost all of her fingers when she was only a child, after she fell into a flaming fire stove while her parents were away, but that didn't stop her from finishing school, establishing a family and even creating beautiful art.
Growing up in a small village at the foot of the Fanjing Mountains on China's Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Peng didn't have the easiest childhood, but things got even worse after she burnt her hands severely after falling in a flaming fire stove. Her parents were too poor to afford reconstructive surgery, so the young girl had to learn to do everything without any fingers. At first she was unable to use chopsticks, and her parents had to teach her for a long time, but thanks to her strong will and a desire to do everything on her own and not rely on others, she managed to overcome those difficult times and is now capable of taking care of her own family.
She slowly learned how to use what was left of her hands to hold a pen and, with the help of her teachers, managed to finish junior middle school. She married at the age of 18 and soon gave birth to her first child, Now she has a family of 4, but because they all relied on one mule to put food on the table, Peng realized she needed to do something to contribute to the family budget. One day she found herself looking at the vivid colors of a cross-stitch artwork and decided to try it for herself. As you can imagine, handling a needle without fingers is painfully difficult, and the young woman failed numerous times. Still, she never gave up, and although it took her days to complete her first simple embroidery, her stubbornness helped her master the art of cross-stitch.
Nowadays, Peng Jiangya needs less than five seconds to fit a thread through the needle, and many say she's a lot faster than many normal embroidery artists. It took her around two months to finish a complicated cross stitch work, "Crane standing on a pine tree, symbol of longevity" and is now working on a new complex work of art, called Fortune. "I will finish it, put it in a frame and hung it on the wall of my room, hoping that it would bring good fortune to the family," Pneg says.
Her village of Yinjiang Tujia has now become a tourist attraction both because her incredible story spread throughout the country, and thanks to the unique natural scenery offered by the Fanjing Mountains.