Students with disabilities from special schools in Huangpu and Putuo districts will have greater access to internships and employment, thanks to an agreement signed between City News Service and Inclusion Factory on Thursday.
The agreement, aimed at facilitating employment of the mentally challenged, was signed during the "I can work, too" Inclusion Factory Annual CSR Reception held in Taicang, Suzhou, in neighboring Jiangsu Province.
The Inclusion Factory, originally rooted in German expertise, seeks to integrate disabled people better into the community by hiring them out to work for local factories or companies. It was founded by an association of 80 European enterprises in September 2014. It now has 47 people with disabilities working in its workshop in Suzhou.
During a tour of the factory workshop after the reception, visitors had first-hand experience of how the mentally challenged could be competently engaged in simple productive operations. Depending on their competence, each worker is assigned to operations fitting him/her, taking into account their specific capabilities and temperaments.
Fan Yefeng, 28, and Xu Xiao, 22, for example, were two of the group of five workers engaged in installation of safety valves for cars. It was akin to an assembly line procedure where everyone finished the assigned operation, and then pushed the product to the next worker. Unlike most other operations, the steady flow of products entails a high degree of concentration and dedication.
In an interview with Shanghai Daily, Fan could write his name with great ease and clarity, and expressed his love for the work. In spite of the medium-degree defect in intellect, after working at the factory for four years, Fan's kindness has earned him the affection of all his colleagues.
He was so good-natured and readily complying with the requests of others, that the factory trainer deemed it necessary to put him on a training session aimed at awakening his self-consciousness. The three-month training has now emboldened him to say "no" to some irrational requests.
Compared with Fan, Xu was characterized as a case of slight intellectual disability, though her deficiency in communication was manifest in her occasional brusqueness in responding to interview questions. As a matter of fact, a series of training sessions designed to remedy this defect has already markedly improved her communication skills.
Jia Ying, general manager of Inclusion Factory, said in a telephone interview: "Our government has shown considerable proactiveness in safeguarding the welfare of people with disabilities. But there is still considerable potential in terms of leveraging non-governmental resources, by creating the needed incentives, or platforms."
In fact, the Inclusion Factory Annual CSR Reception was itself a sort of platform for facilitating the charitable enterprise, as several entities and individuals pledged donations. Among them, Li Yusheng from Taicang Zhikang Health Examination Center Co Ltd donated 94,000 yuan (US$13,000). Last year the company donated 200,000 yuan.
Asked about the motive for the company's donations, Li replied: "We are doing this to help the underprivileged, helping them regain confidence and happiness."