Global Accessibility News
1st August 2017
Children with vision disabilities find new hope through music in China
Wuhan School for The Blind is the only school of its kind in Hubei province, central China. Not only does it cater to pupils who face enormous challenges because of their disabilities, but it is also proud to have a star teacher who has given new hope to the pupils.
China, with its huge population, has a large number of people with vision disabilities. More than 5.5 million people are registered blind, among them, some 120,000 children. Though there are more than 50 special schools in major cities catering to the needs of these individuals, the task is never easy. Special facilities and teacher training is hard to come by and the children often feel alienated from society and lack ambition.
Zhang Long, born in 1975, volunteered to teach at Wuhan City School for the Blind in 2011. Though she had no experience teaching children with vision disabilities, after seeing the difficulties faced by pupils there, she decided to change the course of her life and accept the challenge of making a difference to their future.
It wasn’t long before the gravity of the situation sunk in. As a music teacher she discovered many pupils at the school of 150 lacked the motivation to even turn up to class, believing their only career option would be to become a massage therapist, a common occupation for blind people in China.
Persevering, Zhang Long established a school radio station, a rock band for the most talented children, and invited performances from other schools. Eventually, the children responded to this new approach revealing both passion for music and hidden talent.