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Legless woman lauded for orphan care

(Shanghai Daily)

13:37, August 22, 2011

Xu Yuehua, better known as "Mom on Stool," is seen with some of the orphans at a social welfare institute in central China's Hunan Province. The 55-year-old woman has been legless since she was 12 and came to the institute where she now works when she was 17. Xu has brought up 138 orphans over the past 37 years.

A woman who can move about only with the aid of wooden stools since losing her legs at the age of 12 has spent the past 37 years taking care of orphans in Hunan Province.

Thousands of people online - touched by her devotion to the children - have dubbed her "Mom on Stool."

The woman, Xu Yuehua, a staff worker at a social welfare institute in Xiangtan City, Hunan Province, was herself sent to the institute in 1973 for social support. She "walks" by manipulating two wooden stools.

According to institute officials, within 15 days of her arrival, Xu volunteered to take care of the orphans there as a means of repaying the institute for its support.

Her first child was named Shengli, a girl abandoned by her parents and found by institute staff beside a tractor. The girl had pneumonia and a cleft lip, making it difficult to give her food and medicine. Xu had to use a syringe device to feed her.

Shengli has since grown up and was recently married.

Although Xu received no salary for taking care of the children, she worked hard and never asked for a holiday. She once stayed in hospital for 107 days to take care of a baby with severe stomach ache.

As the institute received more and more orphans, Xu had to take care of more children by widening her own bed for them to sleep on. At one point she was caring for 15 children at once, and her bed was widened to five meters. So far Xu has been "mother" to 138 orphans.


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