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Saving street kids one at a time

SOME people are just born to do good deeds.

Jiang Yanyan, a retired woman from Shanghai, is one of these individuals and she has recently garnered a fair amount of attention after she wrote an essay about helping save some children forced to beg on the streets of Jiangyin City in Jiangsu Province.

Her story, which she posted on the Website, focuses on the plight of a 10-year-old blind beggar in Jiangyin.

She first visited Jiangyin on December 1 last year, where she chose to take a relaxing trip while recovering from tumor surgery at the end of October.

The retired factory worker went for walks nearly every day and noticed many beggars on the crowded streets.

"I was astonished by what I had seen as all the beggars were children or teenagers and only wore thin clothes even though it was very cold outside," Jiang said, as tears rolled down her cheeks.

She suspected the children were being forced to beg for profit. She alerted city officials, but they didn't seem interested in getting involved.

"I decided I would not give up on helping those poor kids," Jiang said.

She returned to Shanghai to get clothes, hats and scarves to give out to the child beggars. Jiang soon returned to Jiang°?yin and started building relationships with the children by offering them food and water.

On January 14, she assisted Jiangyin police in finding the group that allegedly forced the children to beg. It was at this time that she found a 10-year-old blind boy identified as Xiao Hui.

"Xiao Hui is really a lovely boy who has a wonderful voice," Jiang said proudly.

She spent several days with Xiao Hui during the Spring Festival and bought him some gifts that included a cell phone, MP3 player and new clothes.

"When I saw the smile on Xiao Hui's face, I knew everything I did was worthwhile."

She then helped the boy return to his family in his hometown of Kaifeng City in Henan Province.

"Saving a child means saving his or her whole life and whole family," said Jiang, who runs a small restaurant.

She said she wants to remain a part of Xiao Hui's life and hopes the boy can get singing lessons.

Jiang said she will continue to work to get child beggars off the streets.


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