A Beijing center for people with disabilities received a royal visit Monday when Princess Mathilde of Belgium visited One Plus One's Cultural Development Center for the Disabled.
The NGO, created and run entirely by people with disabilities, hosted the princess along with staff from Handicap International, One Plus One and China Dolls, where employees spoke about their work and individual stories.
Princess Mathilde of Belgium (L) talks to Yang Qingfeng, a blind reporter of One Plus One radio. [Chen Chen/China.org.cn]
Princess Mathilde also recorded a short message that will be played on One Plus One's radio programs later this year.
"When she was recording the message with me in the studio, I was really touched by her words," said Jin Ling, a radio presenter. "She quoted from a letter she received a few weeks ago from a Belgian teenager with multiple disabilities: 'I have learned to love myself for who I am and not for who I would like to be.' I like the words."
"And the message the princess delivered to all people with disabilities is very clear: No matter what kinds of challenges we meet in our lives, we should not lose hope," Jin added. "We should use our own capabilities to earn understanding and respect for the disabled."
Princess Mathilde also met with radio staff members, who are blind, to hear their stories of how their disability affected their work as journalists and radio announcers.
Princess Mathilde of Belgium (Middle) takes photos with staff of One Plus One and Handicap International. [Chen Chen/China.org.cn]
Many members of the staff were excited by her visit. Diacii Zhao, who was born with cerebral palsy, found her educational background in speech therapy and psychology inspirational. "I’m also planning to go abroad to study psychology someday because as a person born with a disability, I know how the disabled feel and I want to help them with my knowledge and experience," she said.
Xie Yan, co-founder of One Plus One, told Princess Mathilde how his organization is different from others that help the disabled. "One Plus One covers all sectors of problems that the disabled may face," Xie said, from education to employment. The radio offers both a platform for the disabled to share information and feelings and a secure workplace, he said.
"First we thought we were helping others, but finally we find we are also helping ourselves," Xie said to the princess.
Princess Mathilde is in China accompanying her husband, the heir to the Belgian throne, Prince Philippe, on an official mission to commemorate 40 years of diplomatic relations between China and Belgium.