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Beijing Diners Asked to Help Impoverished Mothers
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Chinese out celebrating Mother's Day Sunday were urged to spare a thought and some loose change for mothers in poverty-stricken families, especially in underdeveloped areas.


Workers with "Program Happiness", launched by the China Population Welfare Foundation (CPWF) a decade ago, and the Beijing Catering Business Association, jointly distributed 10,000 carnations to passers-by in the busy shopping street of Xidan, in downtown Beijing.


The two organizations launched a joint charitable project known as "Happiness Love Action" under which more than 11,000 restaurants have agreed to maintain donation boxes over the next three years to collect money to assist impoverished mothers.


Wang Guangmei, widow of the late Chinese President Liu Shaoqi, is the chairperson of the executive committee of "Program Happiness".


The mother was the pillar of most families and supporting mothers in needy families was the best way to help the whole family out of poverty, said Miao Xia, executive vice-chairwoman of the CPWF.


"Program Happiness" borrows experience from Bangladesh in supporting needy families, by distributing small loans to rural women in underdeveloped areas.


To date, Program Happiness has so far distributed 310 million yuan (about US$40 million) to approximately 150,000 poor mothers.


(Xinhua News Agency May 15, 2006)

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