Nation Aims to Enhance Relief Program for the Disabled

China vowed yesterday to step up its poverty-relief campaign to improve the quality of life of the disabled.

"All disabled people living in poverty can expect to be provided with adequate food and clothing by 2010," said Ismail Amat, head of a State Council committee that co-ordinates work concerning disabled people.

The number of poverty-stricken disabled people has decreased from 20 million in 1992 to last year's 9.79 million.

But to fulfill this goal, all local governments need to take greater initiatives to do their share both in raising fund and in implementing training, while the central government will enhance its role as the leading force, according to Deng Pufang, president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

"The remaining tasks might be the most difficult part of the whole project," he added.

According to Deng, most poverty-stricken disabled people live outside the central government's designated key areas where aid relief is in force, making it more difficult for organizers to arrange suitable poverty-relief programs.

Statistics indicate that only 85 percent of these poverty stricken people have attended primary school and junior middle school, and have little chance of securing a decent job unless further training is given.

Since the central government's special poverty-relief funds are mainly used to support key poverty-relief areas where disabled people normally make up no more than 30 percent of the local poverty-stricken population, Deng urged local governments in other regions to increase resources allocated to improve the lives of impoverished disabled people.

Both funds and specially designed training should be used to introduce some small-scale productive activities, such as planting, cultivation and handicrafts, which can generate positive results in a short period of time.

Governments at all levels have trained around 2 million disabled people in various productive skills in the above-mentioned fields in the period between 1992 and 2000, which has resulted in most of them achieving a better quality of life through their own hard work.

To render additional support for such activities outside the key areas of poverty relief, the country started an interest-free loan program in 1992, whose annual volume increased from the original 100 million yuan (US$12.1 million) to 2.6 billion yuan (US$314 million) in 1999.

Although there is no clear-cut pledge that loans will see a significant increase in the future, Zhang Yun, a leading official with the Agricultural Bank of China in charge of the loan system, has said that in consideration of the important role that the loan has been playing, the bank will "see to ensuring support for enough good projects that will actually benefit the impoverished disabled population."

(China Daily November 14, 2001)

In This Series

Beijing Improves Facilities Accessible for Disabled

Legal Aid Boosts for the Disadvantaged

Net Paves Way to An Education

First Disabled Youth to Finish Middle School Via Internet

Public Urged to Help the Disabled



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