There are 793,500 people living with physical disabilities in Yunnan Province, according to official records.
Due to inconvenient transportation and difficult economic conditions, some disabled people living in poorer rural areas have experienced problems finding suitable prostheses, as well as ones that are safe and durable.
To help the disabled live normal lives, a rehabilitation center in Yunnan, with the support of a local lottery fund, has been organizing teams to go to remote mountainous and poverty-stricken areas to provide services and help disabled people make their own prostheses.
“For able-bodied people, it is difficult to truly understand the pain of the physically disabled. To help people with physical disabilities take the first step back into society, we not only pay close attention to offering technical support such as providing prostheses, but also encourage our team members to learn about NGO work and improve their ability to communicate effectively and respectfully with disabled people,” said Niu Neng, head of the center.
Since 2007, the center has been undertaking the Prosthesis for the Disabled project with funds from the provincial branch of a national lottery fund, with a three-year project cycle.
Through the project, the center provides the disabled with free prosthetics, orthotics, hearing aids and other rehabilitation aids and distributes wheelchairs, crutches, and nursing beds to those in need.
In the past 15 years, the center has earned 110.25 million yuan ($15.96 million) from provincial funds and helped 15,881 people living with physical disabilities in the region.
Geng Qian (pseudonym) had to have a limb amputated following a car accident when she was 12 years old. Since then, she has been depressed and reluctant to go out. In order to help her escape her predicament, the center has made her three prosthetic limbs throughout the years.
Today, Geng Qian has not only opened a nail salon but also visits the center regularly to share her experience of wearing artificial limbs and how to adjust their gait with other disabled people.
Looking to the future, the center, with the support of the provincial departments of civil affairs and finance, will implement a pilot program for adolescent scoliosis prevention and correction, planning to invest 5 million yuan to help 2,480 teenagers.