Tribute to Ms. Wang Xiaogeng

Ms. WANG Xiaogeng, the first president of Inclusion Beijing, passed away  on 12 September 2017. She had been fighting with cancer for the past few years.

Ms. WANG founded Beijing Rong Ai Rong Le Family Support Center for Persons With Intellectual Disability (Rong Ai Rong), the first group of parents in Beijing, in 2011, which led to the foundation of Inclusion Beijing.

She was an outstanding pioneer and leader in a place much was needed to help persons with intellectual disabilities and their family members. The political situation of her country did not make her work easy but she was determined to take the initiative. She was very commitment and dedicated. Her work in Beijing led to our member, Inclusion Beijing.

A memorial service for Ms. Wang was held in the morning on Thursday 14 in Beijin. The service was attended by hundreds of mourners, including persons with intellectual disabilities and their families.

A staff member of Inclusion Beijing said  “ Her dream was that one day all our children can equally participate in all aspects of society” and she wanted to be remembered as “an advocate of the rights of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities”

A tribute by Klaus Lachwitz, President Inclusion International

I was in Beijing last week together with Prof. Nagase Osamu, Japan, Inclusion International’s immediate past councillor for Asia – Pacific, to take part in the Belt and Road High – Level Event on Disability Cooperation organized by the China Disabled Persons’ Federation when I learned that Ms. Wang Xiaogeng had passed away just one day before I arrived.

I was very sad as I always admired her manifold activities in China for the benefit of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families. I wanted to meet her to talk about new developments and experiences in China and to receive some detailed information on how Inclusion Beijing was able to build up local branches all over China within a few years time.

When I visited Beijing in 2012 I was introduced to Ms. Wang as she was one of the founders of Rong Ai Rong Le, the first group of self – advocates and parents which tried to develop some organisational structures in Beijing. And it was clear from the beginning that Ms. Wang was the leading figure of this local initiative. She was inspired by her son Chen Wu, a self – advocate who claimed the right to work and who was looking for vocational training and regular employment. She and her husband, Mr. Chen Guomin, spent some years abroad and collected ideas and examples how to give persons with intellectual disabilities and their families a voice by helping them to strengthen their capacities.

Tirelessly she fought for the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and their acceptance in society. And thanks to her engagement, her charm and warmth Rong Ai Rong Le and its members succeeded to found Inclusion Beijing which today holds 72 branches in nearly all provinces of China.

We will miss her and we will always honour and commemorate the enormous lifetime work of this exceptional woman!

May she rest in peace.