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December 28, 2011

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Students aid old street vendor

AN elderly woman selling folded paper artworks in a busy downtown area is being backed by a group of young people, who are helping her hawk the product and protecting her from expulsion by other vendors and officials.

The group of four volunteers from Tongji University accompanied Yang Qingying, 79, as she sold her paper folding works at Wujiang Road and Maoming Road N., attracting pedestrians from the Metro station nearby.

The volunteer group, who called themselves 1090, have even designed logos, stickers and foldable postcards for Yang to promote her products and make more profit.

"1090 is an organization of our university, and we're trying to help 90 percent of people with 10 percent of our time," said Yan Han, one of the volunteers.

The design, postcards and paper were provided free and all the sales went to Yang. Yesterday was the first day the group assisted and they attracted much public attention in the busy area.

Yang is living under hard conditions as she supports two sons - one who is unemployed at home and mentally ill and the other in poor physical health and hospitalized. Her family's monthly household income was only around 2,800 yuan (US$443).

"I have to work to support my sons," Yang told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "I'm grateful. People have been treating me well."

Most of Yang's products are hand-folded by her older son at home. They are fighter planes, tanks and rabbits and are priced at five to 10 yuan.

"I could earn 50 to 100 yuan per day, which is not bad," Yang said.

Yang said she cooperates when urban management officials drive her away. "I don't blame them. They've been good to me and never confiscate my things," said Yang.


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