Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / Society

Specialized travel tours offered for visually impaired

Shenyang elderly care center fulfilling more than just basic needs for people with disabilities

By Li Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-21 08:58
Share - WeChat
Various fruits are served to visually impaired people participating in a tour of Bangkok, Thailand, in January. CHINA DAILY


Guide Nie Zhongyuan was assigned the additional task of documenting the entire trip to Thailand to capture memories and for marketing purposes. He arrived in Bangkok a day ahead, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the blind tourists flying in from various parts of China.

"The wait was excruciating, and I was consumed with worry about the potential challenges our blind friends might encounter during the journey, especially considering the significant temperature difference between China and Thailand," he said.

To Nie's surprise, upon the arrival of the first group at the hotel, they immediately began sharing jokes, lifting everyone's spirits.

Nie quickly formed a strong bond with Tian Zheng, a blind massage therapist from Tianjin, feeling a deep connection as if they had known each other for years.

Throughout their travels, the group explored attractions like the Golden Buddha at Wat Pho along the Chao Phraya River, the majestic Grand Palace, and Pattaya Beach. Despite the guides' efforts to describe the sights to the blind visitors, they encountered some language limitations.

"However, our blind friends were filled with joy," Nie recalled.

Both locals and foreign visitors generously offered assistance, guidance, photo opportunities and engaged in conversations about the living conditions of disabled individuals in China.

"I felt a sense of genuine pride, realizing that many of our initial concerns were unfounded," he said.

The majority of the visually impaired on the tour were massage therapists, a prevalent occupation for the blind in China. Over the years, the China Association of Persons with Visual Disabilities and authorities have worked to establish a thriving industry for vision-impaired individuals through vocational training and financial aid, particularly in the field of massage.

Unlike many disabled communities worldwide who depend on state benefits, blind individuals in China earn their livelihood through their own skills, Nie stressed.

Massage has been instrumental in helping numerous blind individuals break free from poverty and attain greater social recognition.

"Traveling is a desire they harbor but find challenging to realize given the numerous obstacles they encounter in transportation and communication," Nie added.

Tian Zheng, the massage therapist, was born with glaucoma. Over time, he gradually lost his sight and eventually became fully blind.

Like many visually impaired people, Tian was educated in special schools to learn massage techniques and later pursued higher education in traditional Chinese medicine.

After graduating in 2002, he established himself as a professional therapist in his hometown. At 45 years old, Tian remains unmarried and lives with his mother, who has Alzheimer's disease.

Having previously traveled with Haiman to Hainan and being satisfied with the service, Tian decided to join the trip to Thailand. To make the journey possible, he sought assistance from his sister to care for their mother and paid 5,000 yuan for the trip, during which he got to experience Thai massage.

"It was a reasonable price," he said. "I believe I deserve this vacation to treat myself."

Yan Zhongqian contributed to this story.

|<< Previous 1 2 3   
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349