Eden Visually Impaired Trainees Light up Career Paths

Translated by 葉宇晨 and Ivory

To continuously provide trainees entering the job market with long-term care, prompt assistance and a chance for them to communicate with each other, Eden Foundation held an activity in which former trainees shared their career-related experience on July 14th at the Primus Education Training Center.

Eden Foundation Visual Disabilities Service Center (EFVDSC) has been successively launching vocational training lessons related to telephone consulting service and administrative affairs, which promote diverse employment opportunities for friends with visual impairment. In addition to providing occupational training, for those who complete the lessons with flying colors, Eden Foundation would also provide employment services through recommendations and vocational rehabilitation, helping over 60 trainees enter the workforce so far. To continuously provide workplace care and support, and a platform to communicate and exchange experiences, EFVDSC held an activity in which former trainees shared their career-related experience on July 14th at Primus Education Training Center for the first time.

Nearly forty visually impaired trainees came together, and lit up each other’s career path with inspirational career stories.

Before, disabled people, let alone people with visual impairment, did not have enough employment opportunities due to lack of information and misconceptions and prejudices from the rest of society. Zhong Zheng-Fen (鍾正芬), now 66 years old and retired, is a congenital amblyopia patient who wanted to change this fact. She was a volunteer pianist and, subsequently, an official employee through recommendation at Eden and served for 22 years until her retirement in 2005. During the years, she went on expeditions overseas and ideated job-related lessons for others with similar conditions, making her the first to introduce computer lessons in vocational training. She noted that visually impaired friends used to have no choice but to work as massagers, but in fact, they are talented individuals who can now create their own opportunities if they use advanced technology and information.  

 

Below, is 33-year-old Dai Wei-Zhou (戴暐洲), a vocational trainee in 2016, now a director of gospel promotion at church. At the age of 18, because of inherited retinitis pigmentosa, he began losing his vision and became completely blind at the age of 30. Progressive loss of vision gave him enough time to adjust and accept his change; therefore, he cherished his time with sightmore. He even moved to Taipei and lived alone after graduating from university. Even though Wei-Zhou has a younger sister, his mother was always more protective of him because of his vision impairment. He wanted his parents to know that he only lost his sight and that there were still a lot of things that he wanted to do and was capable of doing. He knew he had to prove it to his parents so that they could let go of him and be proud of his achievements rather than be worried about him. After 7 years in Taipei, buying and moving into his own house, finding job opportunities, doing housework, all by himself, he showed his parents that he could do it. With his information management degree, he succeeded in working in an information company for five years until his eyesight worsened to the point where he could no longer handle his work. He was 31 years old then.

 

 

However, his worsened eyesight did not stop Wei-Zhou. Through support and encouragement from the church, he eagerly inquired resources for the visually impaired and signed up for the Eden vocational training lesson in 2016, after an introduction from the career advisor. Wei-Zhou said, owing to the lesson, he found a way to call his expertise into play with computers for the blind. Thus, with a heart full of passion, he worked at a telemarketing company for a short time before he engaged in gospel promotion at church and in running his own fan page. In the meanwhile, he is also a life coach invited by many elementary school to speak. He puts in effort to edit his speeches and lessons in the hopes of publicizing understanding about the visually impaired and of creating a friendlier society.  Every time Wei-Zhou receives cards from children, hears about parents who use his way of teaching about the visually impaired to educate their kids, or hears children call out “Big Brother Xiao-Dai” on the streets, he becomes cheered-up and even more motivated in preparing for his next sharing experience.

 

 

The director of EFVDSC Liao Mei-Zhi(廖美枝) indicated that Eden Foundation has carried out vocational lessons for the visually impaired for almost 20 years. In the duration of the lessons, we found that many trainees had a hard time using computers and didn’t know how to overcome this problem in their regular jobs. Some of the trainees even quit the job market entirely. Therefore, Eden Foundation hopes to give support and assistance through a reunion activity which enables trainees who are just about to join the workforce and those who have already completed the lessons to connect and encourage one another in having a steady career path.

 

Eden Foundation has served disabled people for over 35 years. “Living an Accessible Life” campaign, which includes employment, nursing, skill training, and life reconstruction, helps over 100 thousand disabled people a year regain independence in their lives and rejoin society. Eden invites you to join the campaign and create a friendly environment together. Let the change begin now! For more information, please visit Eden Foundation’s official site at https://www.eden.org.tw/.