From tragedy to triumph: One-armed girl's NGO gives hope to Wenchuan victims

16:13, May 09, 2011      

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Huang Li was buried in the ruins for 96 hours during the Wenchuan earthquake and lost her left arm and legs. She recorded her healing process on a blog to give encouragement to earthquake victims. She also opened a "talk hotline" to touch people with her own experience.

Huang felt her life was in despair with only one arm left. "I was down in spirits at the very beginning and often thought of death," Huang recalled.

"However, I met Liao Hui during the most difficult period, a gold-medal volunteer from Guangzhou," Huang said. Huang said that she will never forget Liao's plain encouragement. "Although you have only one hand, your experience has persuasive power. You can use language to help people," Liao said.

Huang left Guangzhou when she recovered and returned to the Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital to receive rehabilitation therapy. Opening the "Huang Li Hotline" was the first thing she did after she got back to her normal life in Dujiangyan. Huang answered countless phone calls together with four earthquake victims to make efforts to heal the pain brought by the earthquake.

When her health improved, Huang led the effort to establish a volunteer service team named "Huang Li Love Workshop" in 2008. The organization aims to organize earthquake victims to produce cross-stitches and handicrafts. Many schools also asked them to launch charity sales after hearing the news. As a result, Huang raised a total of more than 60,000 yuan in more than one year.

Through Huang’s efforts, the "Dujiangyan Xinqicheng Disabled Charitable Service Station" was officially established on March 9, 2010. She also obtained the NGO organization certificate from the government.

Huang has saved some money in the past three years. Furthermore, some kind-hearted people and charity organizations have donated money and goods for the disabled to her NGO in addition to offering free technical training. According to her plan, the money and goods will be used to provide vocational training and psychological assistance to the disabled, and to improve their living conditions.

Currently, there are six staff members at the NGO, of whom three, including Huang, are disabled victims of the earthquake, and one has low vision. Only her husband and another member are not disabled. They are working together to help more disabled people lead a happy and healthy life.

Huang said that this year, the NGO will focus on establishing an employment center for disabled people and seek assistance from enterprises. Cross-stitching is relatively difficult and requires patience and is not a suitable job for boys and intellectually challenged children. Therefore, Huang is making efforts to find enterprises that are willing to offer disabled people jobs that they can do from home.

Huang laughed happily during the interview. Her husband Deng just sat beside her, refilling her drinking cup and massaging her shoulders from time to time. When telling her story, Huang frequently turned to gaze fondly at Deng, who would whisper a reminder to her if she forgot something important. The reporter was almost moved to tears by the tenacity of life, the glory of humanity and their simple and ordinary happiness.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online
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