China's disabled find support and opportunity

Updated 2017-05-22 10:01:21 Xinhua

The 27th National Day for Helping the Disabled on Sunday draws attention to the well-being of those living with disabilities.

A reading party was held at the Capital Library of China in Beijing on Saturday afternoon. Some 30 volunteers took turns reading excerpts out loud from "How The Steel Was Tempered," sharing the classic with listeners who are visually impaired.

It was part of a program launched by the library in 2013 to share the beauty of reading with visually disabled people. A series of activities have been hosted, including reading, role playing games and dramatic performance.

The eastern province of Zhejiang has vowed that from 2016 to 2020, the government will help each of the 100,000 rural disabled who are living in poverty or have severe disabilities read one book and one newspaper, visit a park and an exhibition and participate in a cultural activity each year.

The social safety net for the disabled is also being strengthened across the country.

Liu Damao in Shangrao City, Jiangxi Province receives a minimum monthly government subsidy of 610 yuan (88.6 U.S. dollars) and also receives an additional 50 yuan in subsidies for disabled people living in poverty and another 50 yuan for people with severe disabilities each month.

"I cannot move freely, and all the procedures were handled by the government staff who came to my house," he said.

From 2011 to 2015, Jiangxi provided 186,000 disabled people who are living in poverty or have severe disabilities with the 50-yuan monthly subsidy.

The government of Beijing has been purchasing assistance services for the disabled from social organizations since 2014. In 2016, it bought services covering rehabilitation, care and legal services to benefit some 384,000 people.

According to a Chinese saying, it is more important to teach men to fish than serve them fish. Education and employment are also cornerstones in the effort to help the disabled.

In Beijing's Chaoyang District, a job fair exclusively catering to the disabled was held ahead of the National Day for Helping the Disabled.

More than 100 disabled job seekers came to learn about over 100 job vacancies at 21 organizations, and dozens of initial employment agreements were reached. They included jobs in graphic design, telephone operation, and finance and accounting.

At the Zhejiang Tianshun communication device company, 43 disabled workers were assembling optical fibre splice protection equipment. In addition to a monthly wage of 1,660 yuan per person, the company offers them free lunch and helps them pay social insurance.

According to Zheng Yao, an official with the Zhejiang Disabled Person's Federation, the province has established 940 support organizations for disabled employment, which have helped 18,400 people.

Local governments are also taking advantage of the booming e-commerce sector to help the disabled with employment.

Zhan Caixia in Pingxiang City, Jiangxi, took part in an e-commerce customer service training course organized by the local government. Although Zhan can only type with her feet and is not as efficient as others, she now makes about 500 yuan every month.

Jia Yaming, with the Jiangxi disabled person's federation, said Internet technology has opened a new door for the disabled, and e-commerce is an ideal employment choice for many.

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