I’ve Got a Job!
This is a clean and bright fast food restaurant in a small neighbourhood. In the doorway there are two big pots: one filled with steaming hot rice and the other with a delicious dish to go with the rice. In October 2020, Kunming Huiling started this restaurant to offer work opportunities to adults with mental or physical disabilities.
When we discussed the process of making this idea into reality, Ms. Zhou could not stress enough how perfect timing, circumstances and relationships all dovetailed together. The restaurant is in the same location as Huiling’s old facility. Although Teacher Zhou just joined Huiling, she had over ten years of experience in the restaurant business and had taken an early retirement. When she saw the advertisement on the high-speed train: ‘Hiring mentally and physically challenged restaurant workers’, she decided to invest her own pension money into it. With professional support from MSI, the restaurant came into being.
There are four trainees supervised by an employment counsellor in this restaurant. Since all trainees have a certain degree of disability, they are very happy to be able to have their first job and can prove to themselves that they are productive people. What a milestone for them! Their counsellor added,” I feel a great sense of achievement when they can have a stable job.”
Seeing them giggle, I was overjoyed for them! They may not know how far away they are from their next goal, yet they begin to hope for it. ‘The job’ becomes their motivation to reach the goal.
‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’(Acts 20:35)
The overall employment rate of the disabled in China is 43%, but for the mentally disabled it is less than 10%. This is a serious issue facing the Chinese government. Currently, there are 5.54 million people with intellectual disabilities in China, accounting for 6.68% of the disabled. Among those with multiple disabilities, 4.3 million have mental retardation. Thus, the number of people with mental disabilities total nearly 10 million.
(Source – http://www.chinadp.net.cn/cul-ture_/acadamic/2016-09/13-15619.html)