Earn­ing money and dig­nity on­line

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By MAO WEIHUA AND PENG YIN­ING

Ah­mat Gopur lost his legs in a car ac­ci­dent in 2012.

As a cot­ton farmer, the 36-year-old from Daxi vil­lage, Yuli county, the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, made 40,000 ($5,800) to 50,000 yuan a year, but the ac­ci­dent stripped him of ev­ery­thing.

In 2014, des­per­ate to make his own liv­ing, he started learn­ing how to use a com­puter. The train­ing pro­vided him with the skills to set up an on­line store in Au­gust, sell­ing dried fruits and nuts.

“My life was in ru­ins be­fore I started my on­line busi­ness,” he said. “I make 2,000 to 4,000 yuan a month, not as much as I made be­fore, but bet­ter than noth­ing,” he said. “For a dis­abled per­son, hav­ing a sta­ble in­come means be­ing in­de­pen­dent and hav­ing a de­cent life.”

Be­cause adults with dis­abil­i­ties are more likely to live in poverty, Daxi vil­lage’s e-com­merce ser­vice cen­ter pro­vides pref­er­en­tial treat­ment for peo­ple in Gopur’s sit­u­a­tion.

He man­ages his store from an of­fice built and pro­vided by the cen­ter, and al­though he some­times needs help read­ing Chi­nese, his lan­guage skills are im­prov­ing through fre­quent con­tact with his cus­tomers.

The of­fice pro­vides a base for 10 dis­abled in­ter­net en­trepreneurs. Be­cause they have mo­bil­ity prob­lems, de­liv­ery teams visit the of­fice to pick up their prod­ucts — an­other pref­er­en­tial ser­vice.

One of Gopur’s peers, Zhou Yuexia, had po­lio as a child. Since the 46-year-old opened an on­line store in Jan­uary, she has made about 3,000 yuan a month. “The ser­vice cen­ter pro­vides us with a free of­fice, com­put­ers, tech­nol­ogy train­ing and sub­si­dies,” she said.

Af­ter her store made 3,000 yuan in its first month

For a dis­abled per­son, hav­ing a sta­ble in­come means be­ing in­de­pen­dent and hav­ing a de­cent life.” Ah­mat Gopur, an on­line store owner in Yuli county, Xin­jiang, who was a cot­ton farmer be­fore he lost his legs in a car ac­ci­dent monthly in­come of Zhou Yuexia, an on­line store owner in Daxi vil­lage, Yuli

of busi­ness, Zhou took her 11-year-old daugh­ter to eat hot­pot, a rare lux­ury for the fam­ily.

Zhou used to work as a nurse at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal, but one day, a pa­tient re­fused to be treated by her be­cause of her con­di­tion. “He made fun of me and then im­i­tated the way I walk,” she said. “Not long af­ter that, I quit.”

Later, she tried a num­ber of small busi­ness ideas, in­clud­ing sell­ing fried chicken on the street.

“How­ever, my dis­abil­ity al­ways haunted me. I couldn’t bear the way peo­ple looked at my legs,” she said. “The on­line store has solved my prob­lem; I’ve not only earned money, but also dig­nity.”

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