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March 17, 2023

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Inclusive employment to ease social integration of disabled

STUDENTS with disabilities from special schools in Shanghai’s Huangpu and Putuo districts will have greater access to internships and employment, thanks to an agreement signed between City News Service and Inclusion Factory.

City News Service (, run by Shanghai Daily, is a government-supported online platform offering news and life guide information.

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, yesterday.

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.

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, are two of the five workers engaged in installation of safety valves for cars. It is akin to an assembly line procedure where everyone finishes the assigned operation, and then pushes 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 is characterized as a case of slight intellectual disability, though her deficiency in communication is manifest in her occasional brusqueness in responding to interview questions. 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 phone interview: “Our government has shown considerable proactiveness in safeguarding the welfare of the handicapped. 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 is itself a platform for facilitating the charitable enterprise, as several entities and individuals pledged donations. Among them, Li Yusheng of Taicang Zhikang Health Examination Center Co Ltd donated 94,000 yuan (US$13,000). Last year the firm donated 200,000 yuan.


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