Paraquad Hosts Disability Provider from China

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Paraquad welcomed Ms. Xiao Liu, founder of Bo Ai Fengting Home in Changsha, China, for a special visit and information-sharing meeting on July 14.

The Bo Ai Fengting Home is a social enterprise that provides employment for people with disabilities, specializing in serving people with intellectual disabilities.

The organization offers laundry detergent and linen washing service to several governmental, educational and commercial organizations in Changsha, including the Kaifu District government, Changsha University and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Ms. Liu toured Paraquad’s offices and met with program staff members to learn more about best practices in disability services. During the meeting, Paraquad President and CEO Aimee Wehmeier discussed the organization’s independent living philosophy and the five core services provided by all Centers for Independent Living.

She will continue to work with Paraquad’s Employment Department to focus on strategies for improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities in China.

“It’s wonderful to provide some technical assistance to an international advocate,” said Chris Camene, Chief Program Officer at Paraquad.

Paraquad Hosts Disability Provider from China

Ms. Liu, who founded the Bo Ai Fengting Home in 2009, is a national award recipient for social services.

She was accompanied on her visit to Paraquad by Dr. Liuguo Xian, a retired professor at Hunan College of Foreign Studies, and Dr. Bob Weil, a retired professor at Saint Louis University.

Below is some basic information about Bo Ai Fengting Home.

Mission

  • Bo Ai Fengting Home works for people with disabilities to increase their independence through its services, including by providing training on basic independent living and job skills.

Core Services

  • Independent living skill training;
  • Mental health counseling;
  • Motor function training;
  • Vocational rehabilitation and job skill training;
  • Career guidance and employment promotion and assistance.

Bo Ai Fengting Home has more than ten full-time and part-time social workers, and ten advisers. In addition, it has more than 200 volunteers. To assist participants with intellectual disabilities with accomplishing their independent living and employment goals, Bo Ai Fengting Home has developed an integrated service model (day care plus social enterprise) as well as a model for employment services (rehabilitation training plus vocational skills training plus integrated employment).

Rehabilitation Training

The daily rehabilitation training is composed of four modules: independent living skill training, motor function training, social adaptation training and vocational job skills training. After the training, participants have leisure times for fun activities. For example, they will learn to dance to traditional or folk music. Participants can also create their own hand-beaded silk works, and they can learn how to do simple household chores like washing dishes. Through these activities, participants build self-confidence and increase their willingness to learn a job skill.

Vocational Skills Training

Bo Ai Fengting Home founded a social enterprise called Changsha Che Jie Washing Technology Co. At this training base, participants not only receive care support but also gain valuable vocational skills training in a professional training environment. There are specially designed training positions like washing linens, folding, packing, handling, shipping, etc. Participants are also trained how to mix, fill and sell laundry detergent. Participants receive payment for their work, which contributes to happiness on the job and promotes self-confidence to accomplish their goals.

Integrated Employment

Under the principle of “job training to be ready for employment, job training in a real working environment and tailored job skills training on different positions,” Bo Ai Fengting Home has actively developed different channels of job training opportunities. The organization promotes non-discrimination employment philosophy, creates an accessible and accommodating job environment and establishes a long-term support system and network to assist its participants. Currently, nine participants with intellectual disabilities have accomplished their employment goals. Four participants are working in maintenance positions, two participants are working as shopping cart attendants at a supermarket, two participants are working as security guards and one participant is working at a rice noodle store as a dishwasher.

Sarah Li Zhao, MSW, is a Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Specialist at Paraquad. She can be reached at szhao@paraquad.org.

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