Gifts of the heart

By Liu Xiangrui(China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-02

Gifts of the heart

Jeanne Riether. [Photo provided to China Daily]

"Characters who overcome difficulties can become role models," she says.

"Suffering is always a difficult thing to see. We always wish we could change that. At the same time to see the resilience of the human spirit is amazing, and to play a part in that is wonderful."

Thanks to her influence, her seven children, two now studying in Chinese universities, have been involved in volunteer work since they were young.

Spending years in China, she has been able to visit many parts of the country.

"What impressed me most in China is the welcoming spirit of people," says Riether. "After 20 years I feel like I am still learning so much about China. It's changing so fast-China is a new country every five years."

Riether says she has observed many positive changes in China's charity environment in the past years.

She is also optimistic that China's new charity law, which went into effect on Thursday and requires organizations to operate transparently, will further boost charity in the country.

She recalls that in the beginning it was difficult for ordinary people to understand volunteerism. However, major national events like the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympics helped people realize they could actually do something in a united way.

"Charity here is getting on its feet and starting to run," says Riether.

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