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Canadian girl encourages Taiwanese children to help the needy

2019/05/14 21:48:48

Jayda Atkins (center)/Photo courtesy of Maria Social Welfare Foundation

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Eleven-year-old Canadian Jayda Atkins, known in her community for placing warm clothing on light poles during winter for people in need, encouraged schoolchildren in Taipei on Tuesday to put their ideas into action when it comes to helping others.

In her role of charity ambassador, Atkins shared her experience of helping others, saying that at the age of six, when she saw homeless people on the streets in winter without any warm clothing, she could not understand why they were not being offered help.

It was then she came up with the idea of collecting warm clothing in autumn for distribution to the homeless the following winter, she said, at an event held at the Taipei International Convention Center by the non-profit Maria Social Welfare Foundation.

With her mother's help, Atkins said, she began collecting used clothing for homeless people on the streets, but her supply soon ran out and she had to redouble her efforts.

On her seventh birthday, while handing out clothing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she discovered that some homeless people were too embarrassed to ask so she hung some clothes on light posts, which attracted media attention, she said.

Atkins also put tags on the clothing that read "I am not lost. If you are stuck out in the cold, please take me to keep warm."

After the reports of her actions spread across the internet, people in the United Kingdom began making similar efforts to help the homeless.

In her talk, Atkins encouraged Taiwanese schoolchildren to act on their ideas for helping people, which she said was very easy and simple and could inspire others.

(By Hsieh Ping-hsien, Chen Chih-chung and William Yen)
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