"Olympics brought me to life" -- a Paralympics volunteer's story

(Xinhua) 13:20, March 14, 2022

BEIJING, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Outside the volunteer service station in the Wangjing subdistrict of Chaoyang District in Beijing, Li Nan, in a wheelchair and dressed in the volunteer uniform for the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, explained details on helping disabled people with full passion.

Li has been a social worker since 2008 when she worked as a volunteer for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"Working as a volunteer, I've found that I'm still capable of managing lots of things. Participating in volunteer services is a rebirth for me," she said.

In 2003, a car accident paralyzed the then 25-year-old Li. The accident caused massive damage to her both physically and mentally, and she spent the next five years in hospital for treatment and rehabilitation training.

In January 2008, she was discharged from hospital, and she was worried. "I didn't know whether I could adapt to normal life again; whether I could work and be accepted by others after leaving the hospital that protected me," she recalled.

At that time, the community of Wangjing invited her to join "Sweet Home", a service organization set up by the local Disabled Persons' Federation that provides recovery, education, employment, cultural and sports activities, and other services for the disabled.

At "Sweet Home", Li showed the career development of disabled people and activities to athletes from 19 countries and regions. The communication across language barriers with athletes and disabled people brought her to life again.

In 2012, the social work office named after Li was established and has so far attracted over 60 volunteers, who work on helping the elderly and the disabled, youth services, and community administration.

When volunteers for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics began to be recruited, Li signed up at the earliest opportunity with no hesitation.

Li and her team worked in the service station to conduct a campaign of general knowledge of the Olympics and provided assistance to the disabled while the surrounding companies and communities would organize personnel to participate in activities with volunteers.

On March 4, the opening ceremony of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games was held. The service station organized an activity by inviting the staff of an enterprise in Wangjing to experience the real-life of disabled people; to help them better understand the disabled and details on helping them.

Li can now control the wheelchair very well and is comfortable dealing with various daily activities, mostly by herself, but occasionally with the help of colleagues or family members.

"It's a great honor for me to be a volunteer for the Olympics and Paralympics. I hope that through my own efforts, more disabled people can open their hearts and embrace society again, and more people can understand the lives of disabled people," she said. 

(Web editor: Peng yukai, Liang Jun)


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