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Disabled woman's knit niche a thread of hope

China Daily,July 22, 2020 Adjust font size:

Seated at a round table, Li Ronghua was preoccupied with her work and did not raise her eyebrows despite a sudden influx of visitors.

With a needle shuttling back and forth, she was quietly working on an infant's wool shoe in the knitting base for disabled people in the Wangjiazui community in Langzhong, a city under the administration of Nanchong in Sichuan province.

A local villager, Li was diagnosed with a form of spina bifida in 2004 and her lower limbs were paralyzed. Thanks to the concern of her parents and the local disabled people's federation, Li mustered up the courage to face the odyssey, said Liao Xiaoying, chairwoman of the Langzhong city disabled people's federation.

"She married a young fellow villager and gave birth to a child. To support her, the local government rated her family as poverty-stricken so that she could receive some financial support," Liao said.

Together with the Nanchong disabled people's federation, Liao's federation set up a knitting base in Langzhong in May 2018 to train disabled people whose families had been rated as poverty-stricken.

Employees from Liao's federation visited Li, inviting her to the base. But she was afraid of being a laughing stock because she is disabled.

"They visited me several times and their sincerity moved me. After I studied at the base for about one month, I could knit something simple," Li said.

She can now knit infants' wool shoes and hats and earns more than 1,000 yuan ($143) a month, Liao said.

Like more than 100 other people with disabilities in the base, she can make between five and six pairs of shoes a day. The sales are handled by Liu Hong, a young woman who excels at selling the knitware online.

Liu's left leg was amputated in 2013 due to bone cancer. With the support of the Langzhong federation, she began dabbling in e-commerce in 2015.

Livestreaming with a cellphone in the base, she sells between 300 and 500 pairs of shoes in one month, Liao said.

Infants' shoes from the base are popular and even attract online buyers from Hong Kong and Singapore. The base sold nearly 4,000 pairs of infants' wool shoes online and offline in May.

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