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Volunteer Leader Lights Up Visually Impaired People's Lives

Viewed 453 times 2018-12-24 20:14 |System category:News

Li Ying meets children in an impoverished mountainous area. [Beijing Evening News]


A strong-willed volunteer from Beijing has dedicated herself to charity events over the past decade and helped improve the lives of many blind people, despite being partially-sighted herself.  

Li Ying, who lives in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, has worn high-strength contact lenses since childhood, owing to her tunnel vision. 

After graduating from a technical secondary school, she opened a hair salon and served as a lead singer in a band successively, leading a happy life in spite of her vision impairment. 

In 2001, she got pregnant. Even more than she imagined, it would become the turning point of her whole life. 

After the delivery, her eye condition deteriorated and her vision dropped to below 0.01. She even had difficulty seeing clearly her own baby right in front of her eyes. To crown it all, her husband divorced her one year later. 

Thanks to the encouragement of staff at the local disabled people's federation and neighbors in the community, she started to learn massage and opened a massage parlor in her alley. She named her shop Zhijianfang (meaning "shop with strong will"). 

In 2008, when the Olympics was held in Beijing, she wanted to do her bit for the volunteers serving at the momentous event. Thus, she took the initiative to offer massages to over 1,000 volunteers near her home. 

Her volunteer service injected her with a strong vitality as she gained a high sense of fulfillment from what she did and earned the respect of others. 

The same year, she established a volunteer service team which included her son. Under her leadership, pupils from a local primary school have since rendered volunteer services on each Saturday morning at a site chosen by them. 

So far, her team has attracted nearly 600 blind people and their services have expanded from massages and free medical treatment to fund-raising for poverty-stricken areas. 

This team has claimed many honors, such as Beijing Star of Volunteers and Beijing Five-star Volunteer Team. 

In 2016, Li was rated as one of the 10 role models of Beijing. That year, she had a big dream — to help the blind travel abroad. Last year, her dream came true. Led by her, a group of blind people went on a trip to Thailand. 

"My friends and even the blind people themselves cast doubt on my idea about the overseas trip. They had no idea what to see abroad. It is true that the blind can see nothing, but they can feel with their hearts," said Li. 

"Each blind person was accompanied by a volunteer who introduced them to the sea or led the blind person to touch the sand," Li continued. 

Nonetheless, it was difficult to organize over 30 people with vision impairment to go abroad. To materialize her idea, Li had visited  many travel agencies, but was turned down each time. 

When she finally found a tour company which agreed to offer her a chance, she was put off by the high cost that was quoted. 

Li refused to give up, though. She solicited help from charitable companies to raise funds. Luckily, she made it. 

Over the past 10 years, she has developed Zhijianfang into a company which aims to help more physically-impaired people to master living skills. 

Thanks to her efforts, over 1,000 physically-impaired people have learnt skills including traditional Chinese medical massage and pediatric massage. To help more visually impaired people, Li has actively looked for job opportunities for them. 

"I shall never give up. Instead, I will fight for each of my goals constantly," said Li. 

"As President Xi Jinping said in his 2017 New Year speech, happiness does not fall from the sky. In the same way, I am willing to find happiness for myself and the physically-impaired people through my continuous efforts," Li concluded. 

(Source: Beijing Evening News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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