report by Klaus Lachwitz, Inclusion International President
On Nov. 11 Nagase Osamu, Regional Representative for Asia-Pacific, and I spent a whole day with parents from Rong Ai Rong Le (RARL) and with Haibin Zhou, National Project Coordinator of ILO (International Labour Organisation) Beijing.
We went to RARL’s small office in the centre of Beijing where we met about eight parents including two mothers who had taken part in Inclusion International’s General Assembly in Washington in 2012.
RARL is officially registered now as NGO in China, they have good links to CDPF (China Disabled Persons’ Federation).
RARL is very active and has a staff team of 15 members. Supported employment is still RARL’s main activity, but sports play a major role now. Lee Junfeng, RARL’s managing director and father of a self – advocate, trains and runs marathon regularly and successfully took part in the famous Beijing marathon together with some self – advocates!
Xiaopeng Wang is the director of a new network of about 17 parents groups in different regions of China! It’s an informal network only, but the movement is growing and the groups of parents and self-advocates are claiming to build up inclusive services, schools and employment settings all over China.
Support from International Labour Organisation (ILO)
ILO Beijing is very active all over China and runs different pilot projects on supported employment.
ILO China supports RARL, but Haibin Zhou, National Project Coordinator of ILO (International Labour Organisation) Beijing reported that many parents of persons with intellectual disabilities only very reluctantly accept supported employment. They are frightened to lose social subsidies if their sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities are formally qualified as “employees” due to the laws covering supported employment schemes. Should they get unemployed later they are prevented from claiming again the social subsidies originally received as long as they were living at home only without work.
Haibin recommends to fight for an amendment of social laws in China and parents groups such as RARL should learn to lobby and to get in touch with policy – makers and officials in China.