A couple in their 60s from a village in Shanxi have taken care of more than forty disabled orphans over the past 26 years, earning praise from both netizens and the government.
According to Tencent, in 1989 while on the way home from working at the local fertilizer factory, Chen Tianwen and his wife Guo Gairan found an abandoned baby who appeared to have a disability. Feeling sorry for the child, he and his wife took the child home and cared for it along with their three other children.
From this moment on, Chen and Guo were always on the look out for abandoned children, bringing several more back to their house over the next couple of years to look after.
After word got out they had so many kids at their home, the local government took an interest and came to investigate. Despite no welfare agency existing at that time, the local government offered to pay them 150 yuan for each child every month.
As the number of children in their care began to grow, Guo found herself without enough time in the day to look after all the children. Chen decided to quit his job at the factory to help look after the children, instead relying on tending their land as a source of income.
At first, the neighbors were not accepting of Chen and Guo’s family. While in the street other villagers would ignore them or refuse to let their children mix with the orphans, believing them to be smelly and uneducated.
But it was not just the locals who couldn’t understand what Chen and Guo were doing. Their oldest child, named Junwei, had several confrontations with them over the lifestyle they had chosen to live.
Eventually Chen told his son that just like the other orphans, he too had been adopted. Upon hearing the news, Junwei stormed out of the house in a fit of rage and has not returned since.
After news of their deeds become more widespread, Chen and Guo began to receive donations of money, clothes and other items from kindhearted individuals. The government now pays them 1,000 per month for each child in their care.
With the passing of time, Chen and Guo have slowly become accepted by the village and recognized by the government as model citizens. “It turns out we’re not idiots after all, the work we’re doing is good, we’re role models,” said Guo.
Every year at Qingming Festival, Chen and Guo go to commemorate the children previously in their care who died prematurely. Although the children have no tombstone, Chen remembers exactly where they are buried on their land.
We’re not quite sure what it is, but it turns out that villagers from Shanxi are exceptionally kindhearted. In January we reported on an elderly woman who had also taken 40 disabled children into her care.
By Dominic Jackson
[Images via Tencent]