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Turning a disability into a benefit

Turning a disability into a benefit

Updated: 2012-03-14 08:18

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

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When Yang Jinglan lost her right arm in an accident at the age of 21, it was regarded as a serious handicap.

During the following few years, the young woman from Wuzhong city, in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, couldn't find work and became very withdrawn and negative.

But then she heard the story of the famous disabled writer Zhang Haidi, and was inspired. Her turnaround was remarkable.

In 1996, Yang opened a small restaurant that sold dumplings. It could only seat 10 customers.

Today, 47-year-old Yang runs a dumpling factory that has an annual output of more than 20 million yuan ($3.2 million).

Yang, in turn, is now the prime example and inspiration for an industry employment plan that is benefiting both the economy and all the disabled in her region.

She began the Jinrui Muslim Food Company in 2001. Nine years later, in 2010, Wuzhong planned six charity zones to help develop small and medium-sized companies, like Yang's, and to attract large companies that would employ and assist the disabled and underprivileged. Two zones are already operating.

Preferential policies, such as lower land prices and tax cuts, were offered to companies that would create more job opportunities, Wu Yucai, mayor of Wuzhong and a National People's Congress deputy, told China Daily on the sidelines of the NPC session in Beijing.

"We return the government land revenue to companies that settle in the charity industrial zones and collect the lowest tax from them," Wu said.

In return, the companies must employ a certain number of disabled workers, or give 5 percent of their annual profits to a charity for disadvantaged people.

Yang relocated her factory into one zone in 2010 and made it five times bigger. The worth of the factory's output increased 10 times.

At present, Yang has about 80 employees, including 13 who are physically impaired.

Yang's example is just what Mayor Wu envisaged when raising the concept of a charity industrial plan that would develop charity while making a profit.

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