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Massaging brightens lives of visually impaired in east China

2020-10-16 14:16

 

NANCHANG, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- At first glance, Zhou Longfa may appear to be an ordinary masseur: He is skinny, talkative and accurately locates clients' acupuncture points. However, most people do not realize that he is visually impaired.

Zhou, 33, is a blind masseur in the city of Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province. When he was four years old, Zhou had a high fever that damaged his vision.

"My eyesight just got worse, and I struggled to finish studies in middle school," Zhou said. "I felt like the road to the future had disappeared, just like the world in front of me."

However, Zhou is now the boss of several massage parlors in Nanchang, recruiting many other blind masseurs.

"You have to learn to be self-reliant and strong," he said.

Zhou's story has come to the forefront as China observes White Cane Safety Day on Thursday, a day designated to help the public better understand blindness and visual handicaps.

When his vision became too poor for him to see clearly, the native of Jiangxi's Wannian County became frustrated, upset and desperate.

"I have always been an impatient person, so when I found out that I was about to go blind, I was desperate," he said. "I was so eager to see the light again that I stumbled, fell to the ground and hit my head."

Zhou gradually came to terms with his situation. Occasionally, he heard that Nanchang had schools offering blind massage training sessions. He talked his parents into allowing him to take classes there.

"They were worried, but they could not think of a better choice," he said. "It was better for me to try something than just staying at home and doing nothing at all."

So Zhou arrived alone in Nanchang, about 150 km away from his rural hometown, and began to learn massage techniques that would eventually land him a job at a massage hospital two years later.

Relying on his massage skills, Zhou felt like he "ripped open the darkness" of his world.

"When I received my first month's paycheck, it felt like a glimmer of hope lit my way," he said.

After three years of working, he quit his job and took over a massage parlor.

"I thought that even if I failed, I could just go back to work in the hospital," he said.

However, the massage parlor he took over from the previous owner did not have much business, despite a large number of registered client members. Zhou called the members one by one, only to realize that the parlor had been transferred through the hands of many owners. The previous owner did not accept the membership cards registered from the owners before.

"I told the clients that I would take their membership cards, and that I would offer discounts," he said.

Business quickly returned, and the old clients brought in new members.

With discounts and business integrity, Zhou's business skyrocketed. He opened two more massage parlors, in addition to a massage hospital. He recruited about 30 blind people as his employees, giving them a monthly salary up to 8,000 yuan (1,189 U.S. dollars).

"We are all visually impaired people," he said. "Some of us are completely blind, and others partially."

China has about 85 million disabled people, with about 12 million visually impaired, according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

"If I can help one visually impaired person find a job with a decent income, I can literally help an entire family out of poverty," he said.

Zhou said that blind people have limited employment channels. He hopes that his efforts will help more blind people stand on their own and take care of their families.

"Through my life journey, I have received help from many kind-hearted people, and this is my way of giving back," he said.

 

新华网南昌10月16日电(记者周龙发)乍一看,周龙发似乎是一名普通的按摩师:瘦骨嶙峋,健谈,能准确地为客户定位针灸穴位。然而,大多数人并没有意识到他有视力障碍。


33岁的周是中国东部江西省省会南昌市的一名盲人按摩师。四岁时,周发高烧,视力受损。


“我的视力变差了,我努力完成初中学业,”周说。“我觉得通往未来的路消失了,就像眼前的世界一样。”


然而,周现在是南昌几家按摩院的老板,招募了很多盲人按摩师。


“你必须学会自立和坚强,”他说。


周的故事在本周四中国庆祝“白藤安全日”时被曝光。“白藤安全日”旨在帮助公众更好地了解盲人和视力障碍。


当他的视力变得很差以至于不能看清东西时,这位江西万年县的人变得沮丧、沮丧和绝望。


“我一直是个没有耐心的人,所以当我发现自己快要失明时,我非常绝望,”他说。“我太渴望再次看到光明了,结果我绊了一下,摔倒在地,撞到了头。”


周逐渐接受了自己的处境。偶尔,他听说南昌有学校提供盲人按摩培训课程。他说服父母允许他去那里上课。


“他们很担心,但他们想不出更好的选择,”他说。“对我来说,尝试一下总比呆在家里什么都不做要好。”


因此,周独自来到了距离他的农村老家约150公里远的南昌,开始学习按摩技术,并最终在两年后在一家按摩医院找到了一份工作。


依靠他的按摩技巧,周感觉自己“打开了黑暗的世界”。


他说:“当我收到第一个月的薪水时,我感觉有一线希望照亮了我的道路。”


工作了三年之后,他辞掉了工作,接管了一家按摩院。


“我想,即使我失败了,我也可以回到医院工作,”他说。


然而,他从前任老板那里接手的按摩院虽然拥有大量的注册客户会员,但生意并不好。周把会员们一个个叫来,才发现这间客厅已经被很多人转手了。原业主不接受原业主注册的会员卡。


“我告诉客户,我会拿走他们的会员卡,还会提供折扣,”他说。


生意很快就恢复了,老客户又带来了新会员。


凭借折扣和诚信,周的生意蒸蒸日上。除了一家按摩医院,他又开了两家按摩院。他招募了大约30名盲人作为他的员工,每月给他们8000元(1189美元)的工资。


“我们都是视障人士,”他说。“有些人完全失明,有些人部分失明。”


根据中国残疾人联合会的数据,中国约有8500万残疾人,其中约有1200万视障人士。


他说:“如果我能帮助一个视障人士找到一份收入不错的工作,我就能帮助整个家庭摆脱贫困。”


周说,盲人就业渠道有限。他希望他的努力能帮助更多的盲人自立,照顾他们的家人。


他说:“在我的人生旅途中,我得到了许多好心人的帮助,这是我回馈社会的方式。”

 

来自: xinhua