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'Wet nurse village' continues to nurture orphans

2011-11-21 15:10    Ecns.cn     Web Editor: Zhang Chan
Wet nurses from the Sancha village and children they help to raise.

Wet nurses from the Sancha village and children they help to raise.

(Ecns.cn)--Wet nurses have played a role throughout the history of China, but as society develops the practice seems to be fading into history. However, in a small village called Sancha in Datong city, Shanxi Province, women from 80 percent of the families still help raise orphans adopted by a local charity house.

Since the 1960s, Sancha village has helped the Datong Charity House raise over 1,300 orphans and disabled children. Because of their generous actions, the village has become known as "China's First Wet Nurse Village."

Located about 20 kilometers from Datong, the village looks just like any other, yet it has the largest number of foster families in the city. With 119 families, the village shoulders the task of raising 290 orphans, most of whom are under the age of three.

"This is the tradition of our village. These poor kids, though they have been sent to the charity house, they do not know what home is," said Wang Suping, 43, who currently raises three disabled children.

Wang has a son who is already married and a three-year-old grandson. For her, it would have been easier just to look after her grandson and enjoy time with her own family but, "I want these orphans to feel that they have a home," she explained.

About 11 years ago, Datong Charity House brought her an orphan with strephenopodia who was only five months old. The moment Wang saw the child she broke down in tears. "He looked at me with his hands swinging in the air, but his feet were very scary," she recalled. Wang took the child and told him gently that she would be his mother.

"He is my second son," said Wang. Now, the boy is in third grade at a local primary school. Wang knows that one day the kids will leave her, but she continues to tell them that she will always be with them.

Raising orphaned kids with such a kind heart is not just the specialty of women in the village. There are also men there who care about the children and try hard to provide for them.

Jin Hegui is a common villager in Sancha, but to many of the people there he is a loving father, so much so that the charity house often uses him as an example to others. In about 24 years, he and his wife have raised 17 kids from the charity house, three of whom left the village to go to college.