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Urban, Rural Families Exchange Children During Spring Festival Period

Eight children from central China's Changsha City have been sent by their families to rural households in the nearby Yongshun County to observe rural celebrations of the Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, eight children from Yongshun county's rural areas have been admitted by eight households of Changsha to observe Spring Festival celebrations in the city.

The children, participants of a "Hand-in-Hand" program of Hunan Province, are due to return to their own families five days after the Spring Festival, which fell on January 29 this year.

"We'll carry out such exchange programs every year from now," said Li Hui, an official in charge of the program. "We believe the experience will help the kids grow."

Xiong Yaxian, an 11-year-old girl of Changsha that never left her parents before, said she would bring with her books and stationery as gifts to rural students.

"I hear some of them cannot afford buying extracurricular books and nice stationery," she said.

Song Ziming, an eight-year-old boy of Changsha, said he hoped to learn from the honesty and diligence of rural students.

Wang Zimin, a teacher of the Hunan Normal University, has admitted an 11-year-old rural girl to her family.

"My daughter needs a playmate during the winter vacation. I believe they both have something to teach each other," she said.

Xu Wenli, who has admitted eight-year-old Tian Chunjing from a poor rural household, said the girl made her think of her rural past.

"I'm not rich, but I can help the rural kids in small ways," she said. "Staying in Changsha for a period will open her eyes to the outside world. That may motivate her to do better in schools and future life."

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2006)

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