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  • Chris McMillan

Educating Visually Impaired Children in China

Huffington Post

13th June 2012

Educating Visually Impaired Children in China

In the Western world, we take for granted the provisions in place for educating children with special needs. In rural China, however, thousands of children suffering from blindness and visual impairment (VI) are unable to keep up with their peers. There are an estimated 70,000 school-aged blind children in China - most living in rural areas and villages. The schools which offer special education for VI children are predominantly located in the major cities hundreds or thousands of miles away. A casual visitor to Shanghai, an incredible economic powerhouse of a city, might wonder how such a plight could be possible.

Fortunately, a number of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are striving to provide equal educational opportunities for these children in the hope that China's developing interior provinces can eventually share in the prosperity of the richer coastal provinces.

Hu Mei works for the Golden Key Research Centre for the Visually Impaired, a Beijing-based charity whose mission is to provide educational assistance to VI children in China's poorest provinces.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day," says Mei, quoting a Chinese proverb. "Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

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