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Never too old: Great grandma, 100, learns to read and write

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If anyone ever needs a poster girl to promote the idea of life-long learning, Madam Zhao Shunjin would most certainly fit the bill.

The great grandmother from Hangzhou decided in June to start learning how to read and write — at the age of 100.

Now, the ex-vegetable seller has given illiteracy the boot following an intensive 10-day course that saw her study for two hours each day.

Madam Zhao is now certified as literate, is able write her own name – something she has never been able to do for a century .

She and has picked up around 100 other Chinese characters. 

She can also write her home address as well as the names for a number of fruit and vegetables


Speaking to CNN, her son Luo Rongsheng, 70, said: "My mother has never been to school her entire life.

"She is old and longsighted, but was so determined to learn this time."

Madam Zhao announced the decision to learn at a family dinner.

She had to work hard to get around not being able to read in the past. In 1950s, she received a large written order for vegetables from a university.

As few people in her village knew how to read. she was forced to walk a great distance to find someone who could tell her what the order said, according to Mr Luo.

He added: "She later said to me: 'I've suffered enough from illiteracy — I must get my children educated.'"

Sources: CNN, Metro