Thu, Feb 16, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Eden foundation promotes `handicap experience'

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Eden Social Welfare Foundation announced plans for this year's "handicap experience" camp yesterday and at the same time called for better public facilities for the physically disabled.

Ben Lin (林文賓), general manager of the Eden foundation, said that the organization has been fighting for the rights of the handicapped for 23 years.

Participants in the "handicap experience" camps will gain a useful insight into the lives of the handicapped and will be able to share the knowledge they gain with other people, Lin said.

Yang Cheng-ping (楊正平), a former instructor responsible for student affairs at Fu Jen Catholic University, said that he often helped disabled students in the university and encouraged university students to participate in the camps, which have been held on various campuses in the past.

"Some people will eventually need a wheelchair when they get older and can't move around easily," Yang said. "Through this camp, people can learn how to take care of their grandparents, their parents and even themselves when they become older."

Lin Hsin-bei (林欣蓓), who works for the Eden foundation and helps to campaign for the installation of public facilities for the disabled, said that most young people these days are coldhearted toward the disabled.

Lin, physically disabled herself, explained that people are usually scared to interact with disabled people because they think they are bad-tempered or even overly frail and easily injured.

After participating in a handicap experience camp, people may better understand the disabled, she said.

Lin said that the government has been working hard to improve public facilities for the disabled, but that the design of these facilities often cause inconvenience for them instead.

For example, the metal safety railings on both sides of handicap restroom stalls actually pose an obstruction to wheelchairs, Lin said.

She also expressed hope that buses in the country would be fitted with descending ramps for wheelchair-access.

This year's handicap experience camp will be the foundation's sixth and will be held on March 18. For more information, call (02) 5551-7699. Foundation camp volunteers speak English.

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