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Website Improves Lives of the Disabled
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While many people consider the disabled as a group of disadvantaged people that need help from society, Wang Li is proving that is not always the case.

Wang, a former champion at the National Para Games, has founded a website ( called "New Vision Foundation for Disabled People."

This non-profit Website launched by some handicapped individuals has attracted a lot of attention.

The Website was initially designed to provide a platform for both warm-hearted and disabled people so they had easier access to offer and receive some help.

"At the very beginning of the site being set up in 2003, few people ever know about our site, let alone visited it," Wang recalled.

"But fortunately enough, we received lots of help from some volunteers. They did the whole translation work for the site and helped us maintain the network system. Thanks to their help, the site is in better condition now," she said.

The site was set up in Chinese and English, and covers a variety of resources, such as photo galleries, message boards and other services. It also features a bulletin board to keep visitors well-informed about events organized by the site.

Currently, more and more people have come to know and joined in the site, including some foreign charities.

"We also received many donations like clothing, refrigerators, computers, printers, wheelchairs, furniture and other daily necessities from some foreign friends," Wang added.

The donations will be distributed to disabled people who are suffering from poverty or illnesses via Wang's site.

Such was the case for a 76-year-old woman, surnamed Gao, who underwent an amputation operation.

The woman was totally isolated from the outside world after her husband's death, while her children paid no attention to their ailing mother.
"So I posted an article about Gao's critical condition in the hope that more people would read her story and lend her a hand," Wang said.

It didn't take long for these warm-hearted people to gather and offer their help to the miserable woman.

"I still remembered the day when we went to Gao's home and gave her all the donated stuff, she was very touched. And the scene really moved us to tears," she added.

So far some hundreds of people have benefited from various kinds of assistance or donations with the help of the Website.

But in Wang's opinion, the situation they're facing now is far from being satisfactory.

"Our site can only provide a small group of people with the things that allow them to meet their basic needs. Yet their lives have not been changed in a stricter sense - they are still struggling to survive," she said.

It is true that many handicapped people are jobless due to their physical defects.

At present, most disabled people live on small subsidies provided to them by the government.

And for those who are able to do some light work, more often than not they have been treated with prejudice as well.

"Some employers tend to discriminate against such people when they try to apply for a job," she added.

Therefore, helping them to become self-employed is Wang's greatest concern at the present stage.

"Some of them are good at making handicrafts, which are quite popular in some European countries. So we're trying to establish contact with the sellers in those countries through our foreign friends," she said.

Wang is optimistic about the future.

"With the increasingly easier access to the Internet, the link between our disabled and the rest of the world will be closer in the near future," the disabled woman smiled.

(Shanghai Daily April 18, 2005)

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