Local Policies Assist Disabled

More than 86 percent of disabled people in Shanghai have jobs and almost all disabled children have access to nine years of compulsory education, thanks to efforts by the local government.

“Education and job opportunities are the top priorities for the disabled, who are among the most vulnerable groups in society,” said Xu Fengjian, director of the Shanghai Disabled Person’s Federation.

There are about 521,700 disabled people in the city, including more than 180,000 people of employment age.

By the end of last year, about 77,000 people were working in more than 3,500 welfare factories or companies specially designed for people with physical problems.

Another 80,000 people had been recruited by ordinary units or enterprises. Disabled people also run businesses such as flower shops, advertisement companies and design and painting firms.

Many disabled people have problems finding jobs. To encourage local enterprises and units to employ more disabled laborers, the local government brought in a regulation in 1993. The regulation requires all public organizations, enterprises and other units to make sure disabled people make up 1.6 percent of their workforces.

If the unit fails to fulfill the quota, it has to pay 1.6 percent of the money it pays in wages to the Employment Guarantee Fund for the Disabled.

The fund is then used for disabled people to help them with such things as training and starting up businesses.

“The policy has effectively solved the employment problem for disabled people,” said Zhou Zhihua, from the federation.

The fund collected 320 million yuan (US$38.6) last year. Education is another important concern for disabled people. For children with special needs, the city has built 38 special schools which have about 7,000 disabled students.

Disabled children now receive education through a number of channels. In addition to attending special schools and classes at ordinary schools, they are taught at home or in their communities. Over the past five years, about 90 disabled students have gone to universities or colleges.

“The special care for disabled people shows the city’s development,” said Chen Tiedi, director of the Standing Committee of Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress.

(China Daily 05/17/2001)

In This Series

Welfare Law to Guard Benefits

Disabled People Promised Better Lives

Disadvantaged Groups Getting More Care

Disabled in E China Province to Be Better-Off



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