Zhao Yongjiu is just a humble street cleaner in the Chinese city of Shenyang, but over the last 30 years, he was able to send 37 poor kids through school.
Working two cleaning jobs, the 56-year-old sanitation worker spends of his day sweeping the streets and picking up trash, beginning as early as 4:30 a.m. until around 9 p.m., People’s Daily reported (via Shanghaiist).
Despite his meager salary of about 2,400 yuan ($350) per month, Zhao has donated 170,000 yuan ($24,750) over last 30 years to provide education to impoverished children in his city. The amount includes the sum he received after he sold his only property. He now rents a small room in the city for just 600 yuan ($87) per month, ensuring that most of his wages go to the students.
According to Zhao, his generosity towards poor kids is just his way of giving back to those who helped him when he was young. He remembers how he and his mother struggled to survive after his father died but his neighbors and friends were there to help them. He said he is devoting his life to helping those in need in return for the kindness he received.
Zhao’s selfless gesture has touched the hearts of many Chinese netizens after his story emerged online.
“This guy makes less than a dollar an hour. And he manages, somehow, to give it away and help others,” one netizen remarked.
“I hope that of those 37 children he helped, that the ones that now have grown up, are doing what they can to pay back this man for his sacrifice and kindness,” another one commented.