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China Communications Construction Company / Global Connection

Serbian woman helps Chinese construction worker look after child

Updated: 2023-10-25
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Zhang Yongxin, a Chinese engineer of the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) on the Surcin-Obrenovac segment of the E-763 highway in Serbia, has forged a special friendship with a Serbian woman, Yirunya, who helps him take care of his teenage daughter.

Yirunya is a worker in a hardware store adjacent to the construction site. Zhang and his colleagues often visit the shop and speak with her in English.

The hardware shop has left a deep impression on Zhang and other customers for its tidy environment.

Zhang turned to Yirunya for help when his two-year-old daughter showed disobedience to an elderly Serbian nanny who previously helped Zhang look after the little girl.

Yirunya immediately accepted the offer, though she has two children at home. She explained that there is no reason for her to say no because the Chinese company lent a helping hand to her hometown back in 2014 when it suffered floods, and has since built a highway and bridge.

On the morning of the second day, Yirunya, having already taken her children to school, came to Zhang’s home and started to take care of his daughter.


The little Chinese girl was very quiet when Yirunya first arrived at her home. They quickly got familiar with each other and the house was soon filled with laughter, despite any linguistic and cultural barriers between them.

Later, Yirunya began to learn Chinese, brought clothes that her children had outgrown for Zhang's daughter, took a sled from her home to take the little girl out to play in the snow days, and invited her two children to play with her over the weekends.

Yirunya and the three children have jointly made their own toys from daily items and brought joy to Zhang’s home.

Yirunya has never been late for work, nor left the home before Zhang or his wife return. She has to ask her sister-in-law and neighbors to pick up her own children from school and take care of them when she isn't home.

One day, Zhang's daughter even said that she wanted Yirunya to be her mother because the Serbian woman has treated her like own child.

Yirunya often buys toys for Zhang's daughter when he gives her extra wages to thank her for her sacrifice, which allows him to better focus on construction work in Serbia.

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