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Torchbearer's tale of courage, strength
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08:34, September 02, 2008

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Han Rongfang, the mother of a son with learning difficulties, has had more than her share of worries.

But through her resourcefulness and devotion, today her son, Wang Xiaoyu, 27, lives a happy, independent life.

Because of her outstanding qualities, Han has been chosen to be a torchbearer for the Beijing Paralympics, which opens on Saturday.

"I am very excited to be a Paralympics torchbearer," Han, 51, said. She was selected by Beijing Paralympics partner Coca-Cola.

"It's not only an honor for myself, but for all mothers of disabled children. I'm a representative of them," Han said.

Han feared her son, who was born with learning difficulties, may have to live a life dependant on others. She decided to do something about it.

In 2002, Han founded an organization in Beijing for families with disabled children. Today, the organization has more than 400 family members in the capital city.

In 2006, Han quit her job and started her own company, employing mentally disabled people and teaching them new skills.

"At the time, it was nearly impossible for my son to find work, and I also realized that I couldn't leave him in the special school for long. So, I decided to give up my job and start my own company," Han said.

"I am offering them job opportunities, and I'm very happy to see how well they are doing."

In November 2006, Han set up Beijing Rizheng Tiantian Science & Trade Co Ltd, which produces air cleaners. The company also has a training center.

Through training, Wang is now one of more than 20 disadvantaged employees. He is in charge of a work unit.

"My son participated in the 2007 Shanghai Special Olympics World Summer Games. He is able to communicate and work with no difficulty now. I'm very proud of him," Han said.

"I'm also very excited to see more and more disabled people capable enough to work for the society with my help."

Organized by Coca-Cola, Han told her touching story to a group of disabled students of Beijing Third School for the deaf yesterday.

Together with Qi Kaili, a disabled fencer and also a two-time torchbearer, the students got the opportunity to touch Qi's Olympic torch personally at the school's opening ceremony for the new semester.

"I was very excited to touch the torch," Gao Dan, said through sign language.

"The spirit of Olympic and Paralympic Games will encourage me to study harder and live a more active life."

Source: China Daily

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