China: Yuying Chen

I’ve finally got a chance to repay society!

— Yuying Chen

Chen Yuying was seriously injured in a factory fire in 1993. Ten years later, she set up a Handicapped Service Station in Zhongxian County of Chongqing City. This station focuses on migrant workers, victims of industrial hazards, and the handicapped, and provides knowledge assistance, as well as physical and moral support. It has helped many handicapped people regain their confidence in life, and to find work.

Chen Yuying is from Zhongxian County in Chongqing City. At the beginning of the 1990s, when she was only 15 and had not even finished junior high school, she went to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and worked in the Zhili Toy Plant, supporting her brother’s desire to go to university. There, a big factory fire changed her life: 75 per cent of her body was covered with third degree burns. She was unable to work. She also lost over 80 co-workers in the fire. However, within one year, with the support of her relatives and friends, Chen regained her wish to live. Despite the emotional trauma she had to face, she took up the fight for the welfare of migrant workers from rural areas and against the factory. She also wished to do something for those who had cared for her. Thus the Self-support Service Station became a new start in life for Chen, as well as for her fellow workers and handicapped friends. Chen was kind to her handicapped friends. A woman, Yanzi, was a dwarf and a hunchback, and felt terrible about her physical appearance. Chen spent a great deal of time with her and won her confidence. Gradually, Yanzi was able to confront the outside world and start her own business, and soon she met someone and fell in love. Yanzi is only one of the many people Chen has supported. On June 18, 2002, Chen set up a sign for a handicapped service station at her home, with two hotlines. She runs this service station on a voluntary basis and is happy that she has a chance to repay society.