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Disabled charities call for more help
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08:46, September 16, 2008

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Yu Haibo has two identities - a person with a disability and a social worker.

In her second role she struggles every day to get better services and raise more funds for her clients.

Last year, she received funding from a foreign foundation for her Xinyu Volunteer Association.

The organization helps disabled people find jobs and provides financial support to students in Changchun.

"I appreciate their help," Yu, who has suffered from congenital fragile ossium since she was young, said at an award ceremony yesterday in Beijing.

"But I also wish the money was from my own government or domestic enterprises so that I know my own people care about us."

Yu is one of five individuals who received certificates from the United Nations in China yesterday for their services for the persons with disabilities.

Many NGOs representatives spoke on issues such as lack of funding channels and professional personnel, which have slowed down the development of Chinese nongovernmental organizations on safeguarding the rights of disabled people.

"There is an increasing number of NGOs in China, but very few are funded by the government," Jean Van Wetter, country-director of Handicap International in China, said.

"The government has done a lot to improve the social and legal environment to protect the people with disabilities," he said.

China was one of the first nations to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the only international convention so far to call for the protection of the rights of people with disabilities, which came into force on May 3.

" I hope there will be a legal and clear framework to ratify and support more grassroots NGOs," he said.

Such NGOs will establish a dialogue between disabled people and the government to better address their needs, he said.

In addition to the government's support, it is hard to collect money from the private sector because tax reduction polices do not encourage donation, Yu said.

Another challenge lies in how to implement and carry out the central government's policies at the local level and raise awareness among individuals, Wu Runling, founder to Beijing Huitianyu Information Resources Center, said.

There should be a more regulated and professional management system for NGOs' development, he said.

Source: China Daily

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