Feature: Empowerment lights up life of people with disabilities
YINCHUAN, May 15 (Xinhua) -- At the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in March, a visually impaired girl from northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region drew attention for her stunning violin performance of the theme song "Snowflake," moving many to tears.
The 16-year-old musician, Ma Yifei, looks up to Helen Keller as a role model. She was honored to represent Chinese citizens with disabilities and show the world their resilience and fortitude.
Like Ma, people with disabilities in Ningxia are moving forward in life despite the difficulties they face. They are given constant encouragement from the local government and other people from all walks of life.
Fu Guogang, 51, chairman of the regional association for amputees, lost his right leg at the age of 9 due to a traffic accident.
But Fu has overcome this crippling tragedy and grown into an expert working to better protect people with disabilities. He is now engaged in an engineering company which specializes in modifying public and private facilities to bring convenience to those with disabilities.
In the company, Fu hires many people with disabilities to take care of people with disabilities at nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
While running an assistive tool and service center for the disabled in Jinfeng District of Yinchuan, the regional capital, Fu lends out and sells wheelchairs, walking sticks and all kinds of handy equipment and utensils designed for people with disabilities.
Wheelchair sharing has become an easily accessible option for the vulnerable group.
At Yinchuan's green expo garden, more than 20 wheelchairs can be used by scanning the QR code and paying a deposit.
This is part of a public welfare program launched by the regional disabled persons' federation. Since 2019, public places with a good flow of visitors have been covered by the sharing service. Such assistive tools for the disabled have been borrowed over 16,000 times.
Fu Guogang's service center joined the program as well. Citizens can not only borrow wheelchairs and other tools for free, but also enjoy free maintenance, parts replacement and other services at the center.
"We have recycled, disinfected and upgraded many idle assistive tools, so they can be used by more people via the public welfare program," Fu said.
"Such facility sharing services can also help people with injuries, patients and senior citizens," said Chang Xin with the regional rehabilitation center.
Meanwhile, the local disabled persons' federations in Ningxia are doing their bit to upgrade facilities into barrier-free ones.
Shi Xiaoming, a 66-year-old patient suffering from spinal cord injuries, can now move up and down the stairs in his electric wheelchair thanks to the barrier-free upgrade on the ramp way of the building where he lives.
"The local disabled persons' federation has renovated my kitchen, set up the gas monitoring alarm and brought me user-friendly kitchen wares. Now, even if my wife is not home, I can cook meals for myself," said Zhang Jianlin, a 49-year-old resident who has lost his sight.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), Ningxia had completed barrier-free facility renovation for 11,800 poor households with disabled family members. In 2022, the local government will upgrade the facilities for another 3,000 households across the region.
"We have a database on people with disabilities who are in need of such upgrade programs. After visits to their homes, we will offer a suitable and scientific renovation plan for them to avoid adding more harm to the vulnerable due to improper renovation," said Xiong Wei, vice chairman of the local disabled persons' federation in Yinchuan's Xingqing District.