Disabled workers find opportunity at grape farm


  • AseanPlus News
  • Sunday, 05 Jul 2020

A better shot at life: Hanlin plucking grapes at the farm in Nantong. — China Daily/ANN

JIANGSU: As the weather became hot and wet in June, grapes began to bear fruit like green pearls at a plantation in Nantong, a coastal city in Jiangsu province.

Li Hanlin, 41, checked the grapes and removed redundant or ill ones to help the others mature better.

Though skilled in his job, Hanlin has a mild mental disability. His competence as a grape planter is due to tutoring from his able-bodied colleagues.

“My colleagues teach me when I meet difficulties, ” said Hanlin, who has worked at the plantation for six to seven years.

He is one of 32 disabled employees at the plantation, which the Qinglong Bridge community in Nantong established in 2012.

Disabled workers account for about 30% of the work force and each disabled employee is assigned one able-bodied colleague as tutor, said Li Mingsi, party secretary of the Qinglong Bridge community.

“Teaching the disabled planters growing skills is key to helping them get rid of poverty. Simply dishing out money won’t work, ” he said, adding that the annual remuneration of each disabled planter is 22,000 yuan (RM13,350) on average.

Apart from increasing the income of disabled residents who are able to work but cannot find jobs, the plantation also helps them feel “more valued and confident by becoming self-sufficient”, he said.

The plantation’s practice mirrors the efforts of different levels in Jiangsu to enhance the livelihood of the less-advantaged.

As President Xi Jinping pointed out during a visit in Tangshan, Hebei province, in 2016, no disabled person should be left in China’s pursuit of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by this year.

The 306,000 registered low-income disabled individuals in Jiangsu had basically got rid of poverty by the end of 2019, according to the Jiangsu Disabled Persons’ Federation. — China Daily/ANN

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