Disabled students strive to be “backbones” of families

HEFEI, Dec. 31 — Twenty-three-year-old Liu Wei skillfully massages his classmate’s feet in a classroom in east China’s Anhui Province to practice his skills as a blind masseur.
Liu, who suffers from glaucoma, quit university two years ago and enrolled in the Anhui Special Education Secondary School in 2012 for three years of professional education to become a blind masseur.
“I tried to learn international trade at Anhui Xinhua University. However, with my deteriorating eyesight, I had serious trouble reading books and went to the special school for better job opportunities,” Liu said.
Liu said his classes now include self care, Chinese language, traditional Chinese medicine and blind massage practice. He also enjoys extracurricular activities such as exercise, music and reciting poetry.
“I am really grateful to the teachers here in the school, who gave me a second chance to start over and not be a burden to my family,” he said. “After graduation, I want to start my own blind massage business and help more blind people to become a backbone of society.”
Established in 2008, the school mainly focuses on educating physically disabled children, including those with visual, hearing and body impairments. The employment rate of graduates is higher than 95 percent, said Ye Yun, a senior teacher with the school.
“Our majors include blind massage, mobile phone repair and network marketing, which will help them not only gain an education background but also professional certifications. In the final year of school, the students have access to internships in companies based on their interests,” Ye added.
Many enterprises, such as those in the clothing, electronics and massage industries, want to “book” the students, as they are more stable, dedicated and have reasonable expectations for income, Ye said.
According to school principal Xu Taokun, students only need to pay for books and accommodations, as the education fees are exempted, and several kinds of scholarships are also offered to excellent students.
With the growing publicity of the school, many disabled students come here for further education in order to achieve their life goals, and many of them have become the pillars of their families, Xu said.
Xu said that each person has his own advantages and disabled people should not be abandoned by society.
“The curricula are designed for students’ future jobs. For the visually impaired students, they have vast job opportunities in massage; the hearing impaired are sought after by clothing, paper-cutting, and cooking companies; and those with bodily impairments are good at repairing electronic devices and internet business,” Xu said.
According to the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015) published by the State Council in 2012, the state will raise the education level of the disabled and will provide education for disabled people that suits their needs and capacities.
The plan said the state will stabilize and expand employment for the disabled, provide employment services and vocational training for disabled people who seek employment, and ensure that an additional 800,000 disabled people will be employed by 2015.
Zhao Zhengqun, professor with the Nankai University School of Law, said that job-oriented education is good for disabled students to regain confidence in life, adding that they should also be covered by more social welfare services such as medical care.[db:内容2]

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