Last March, 33-year-old Beijing resident Ma Jing heard of a village of loving family homes for orphaned children that was under construction in the city. She felt a tugging in her heart and knew she had to be part of it.
REASON TO SMILE: Jingyi, Yangyang and Dongdong enjoy a happy and normal life with their new mother Ma Jing at Beijing's SOS Children's Village of China (LIU XINLIAN)
She applied to become a foster mother with SOS Children's Village of China, an international non-governmental organization focusing on family-based, long-term care of orphaned and abandoned children.
After several rounds of interviews, she was appointed to become one of 15 mothers. Before taking up her post, she received intensive training covering nutrition, psychology, communication, financial planning and even leadership.
On July 2, the day the village held its formal inauguration ceremony, Ma had already been a mother of three children for three weeks.
Fourteen children between the ages of 10 months and 10 years are currently living in Beijing's Children's Village and are being taken care of by six mothers. The Beijing site was the group's 10th location to open in China.
Jin Linde, head of the Beijing village, said the village is designed to handle 120 children, 15 mothers and six aunts. Another 100 children will be admitted, and nine mothers and three aunts are still to be hired.