BEIJING — Beijing announced several measures to help the disabled adapt to society, one day ahead of World Disabled Day on Dec 2.
Wu Wenyan, chairman of Beijing Disabled Persons’ Federation, said the efforts include a citizen pass that can be used for 27 public services, more civil servant vacancies for the disabled, more opportunities for equal education, and more professionally trained teachers at schools.
“Whether disabled people can have equal opportunities in society is an important indicator of a city or country’s civilization,” said Wu.
“Therefore, we need to make continuous efforts to help them fit in,” she said.
Beijing built a set of accessible facilities before the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games. However, Wu believes more things could be done.
ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION FROM CHILDHOOD
Changing people’s ideas is the most important step in eliminating discrimination, but it is also the most difficult one, said Wu.
More efforts should be taken starting early in life to let more disabled children mingle with others in kindergartens, according to Wu.
“I visited a kindergarten where I could not tell the difference between a hearing-impaired child and others without an introduction by their teacher,” Wu said.
“A little girl’s mother helped her craft an artificial cochlea into a beautiful hairpin, and she showed no problems at all with the other kids at school,” said Wu.
Integration is being carried out in more elementary and middle schools across Beijing. So far, more than 1,000 schools in the city have received students with disabilities.
Beijing has also started to distribute citizen passes to all registered disabled people. It is the first citizen card to use the Braille alphabet. Card holders will enjoy 27 services, including free bus rides and park visits.
“The most exciting progress is that people no longer need to show their disabled certificate to enjoy public benefits. Now everything is in one card — their identity, social services and even financial functions,” said Wu.
Meanwhile, five public servant jobs this year have been reserved for the disabled.
In addition, Beijing will conduct a general survey on the needs and services for the disabled on Jan 1, 2015 to establish a more comprehensive network and promote better care.