Erenlai - 按標籤顯示項目: rehabilitation
週一, 21 十一月 2011 17:43

Giving Urban Aboriginals a Chance

Victoria Aboriginal Friendship Centre (VAFC), Victoria City, Vancouver Island

The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society is a charitable welfare organisation with a specific mission to support the needs of 'Aboriginal people making a transition to the urban community. It aims to be holistic and cultural, providing social services; support in health, education and recreation, family support and maintenance of traditional values. Since Taiwan also has a significant urban Aborigine population, this was also an excellent chance for our students to see how successful the First Nations people have been in reconciling their dual identities in the city? Are the urban aborigines maintaining and even reviving their culture in this global city? How extensive was the support compared to that in Taiwan?

Filmed and edited by C. Phiv, subtitled by Vica Zhuhan

"The Victoria Aboriginal Friendship Centre was a social work centre of sorts, providing support for various issues often encountered by the First Nations population. For example they provide child-raising counseling for mothers, to avoid a situation where the government doesn’t recognize them as suitable parents and takes over childbearing responsibilities. They also provide services for the same young Indigenous people who had been forced away from their parents as children and were now trying to return to society as adults. This included a halfway house in which they were provided accommodation and a family setting, to give them encouragement. Finally there was also support work from community elders."
Ibu Isliduan (Department of Indigenous Languages and Communication, National Dong Hwa University, Bunon Nation)

"...Mr. Bruce Parisian described to us their bitterness that the local Indigenous people are forced to leave their communities for the city in search of jobs. It struck me, because the same situation also happens in Taiwan. This centre was created by a group of less than ten Indigenous peoples. But they still managed to raise huge funds from civil society and the government. I really admire their efforts, and I think we can learn a lot from them."
Rimuy Watan (School of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Atayal Nation)

friendship_center_dance

Photos: Top: Richard Chen Down: Shu-ching Hsueh


週四, 30 十二月 2010 18:42

"I have no hang-ups"

I never met Robert Ronald S.J. The first time I stepped into the old eRenlai offices was several months after he had passed from this ephemeral world. Yet as I came for an internship I was also somewhat blindly stepping into his shoes.


週四, 31 五 2007 03:59

My Shanghai Experience

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I just came back from 10 days in Shanghai where I gave several talks to various groups of handicapped people and to the students in a large private high school. I was amazed at Shanghai’s size. Every day we would drive for about an hour in different directions and never leave the city. The networks of elevated highways were most impressive. What a lot of planning must have been involved and what a lot of sacrifice and turmoil must have also occurred upsetting people’s lives and uprooting families to clear the highway right of ways for their construction, to say nothing of the countless dwellers dispossessed of their homes to make way for the mountains of high rise structures erupting everywhere. One hopes that there was adequate compensation and the people who had to move are better off than before. Such changes are inevitable and necessary, but so much easier when they happen to others rather than to oneself.

To a superficial eye perhaps, at least to the eye of a foreigner like myself, it might look like the city is turning itself into a clone of some American, European or other “developed” region of the world, but hopefully that will never happen. A culture is not defined by the structures it builds but by the lives and values of those who live in them. Shanghai for all its rush into the 21st century is a Chinese city and may it always remain so. The rest of the world should put aside their pride thinking “how much they are beginning to look like us” and humbly try to help the Chinese to avoid the mistakes they themselves made when they expanded and developed. And the Chinese should never toss away or sacrifice their cultural diversity for the sake of progress or assimilation. The only way Shanghai can become a great Chinese city is to keep its Chinese identity and character. And that is why I was so pleased to find that the heart of the city still seemed so Chinese in spirit and aspiration.

During my stay in Shanghai I had many occasions to meet disabled and handicapped persons. Their concerns are basically the same as those all around the world. All they want is to be accepted by others and treated with respect and, of course, to be given sufficient opportunities to develop their potentials and lead normal lives. Nearly all of them had experienced from time to time rejection, discrimination and denial of assistance. But at the same time, they are still holding on to hope, trying not to give up, but to find opportunities that will allow them to live in peace with self-respect and independence.

Every day for seven days I met a different group of handicapped persons. In each instance, some private individuals concerned with their welfare had organized some activities for them, to discuss their problems and give them some assistance for finding training and work. This is precisely the way that rehabilitation has begun all over the world: some of those who have sharing with those who have not. With its growing economy there are more and more of those in China who have, a very hopeful sign for those who have not.

To those concerned about the needs of all the millions of disabled and handicapped persons in China, the task seems formidable and totally beyond anything they can do as individuals. That is true. What every Chinese who has should be asking himself or herself is not “what can I do to help all the disabled in China?”, but “what can I do right now together with my other concerned neighbors to help those few handicapped right here in my own neighborhood?” This is precisely what those who invited me to speak were doing: extending a helpful hand to their neighbors in distress. If everywhere others would do the same, not only would more and more disabled persons be helped, but also the present rather discouraging attitude of the general public toward handicapped persons would improve dramatically.

We need to change the way we look at persons with disabilities and handicaps. They are not just pitiful people who cannot do things, but only people who cannot do some things the regular way. I cannot walk from here to there, but with a good wheelchair I can still go from here to there. A blind person cannot see the words in a book, but with braille can still read the book.

We disabled persons hope that when you see us you will not say to yourself, "How sad that this person cannot do the things I like to do or go to the places I like to go or work where I work." We hope you will think instead, "Here is someone just like myself. We have the same kind of hopes and needs. Too bad about the limitations, but no matter. What kind of training or special equipment or ramps are needed, so that he or she can also do the things I like to do or go to the places I like to go or work where I work?" What we hope for from you is that you will point out to us all the things we can still do. Help us find a goal for our lives that seems valuable to us and which we can attain even with the disabilities. Then as my friend show me that I am making progress toward that goal and accept me as your neighbor.

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週三, 07 一月 2009 22:47

Bob Ronald has left us.

Robert J. Ronald, S.J. died January 2, 2009 at Cardinal Tien Medical Center in Taipei, at the age of 76. He was a Jesuit for 58 years and a priest for 43 years. The readers of eRenlai who have been reading his fables and essays knew him as "Bob."

Fr. Bob was born in Martinez, Calif., on October 1, 1932. He attended the Jesuit school, Bellarmine College Prep, in San Jose, California graduating in 1950. Influenced by one of his freshmen teachers, Mr. Albert Klaeser, S.J., soon to be assigned to China. Bob applied to the Jesuits and was accepted into the novitiate on August 14, 1950. He had a strong desire to do missionary work and petitioned the Provincial to be sent on several occasions: “Even before I went to Bellarmine I felt attracted to the missions and that desire has remained with me in varying degrees since then.” His wish was granted and at the completion of his philosophy course at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington in 1957, he followed in the footsteps of his former teacher to Asia. Fr. Klaeser was later to become Bob’s Jesuit Superior in Taiwan.

While studying Mandarin in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Bob was stricken with polio in September 1958. He received a further setback when, while being prepped for orthopedic surgery in the U.S., he suffered cardiac arrest and had to be cut open for doctors to resuscitate his heart. He made a slow and painful recovery, receiving therapy at Warm Springs, Georgia. After two periods of strenuous therapy, he made a remarkable recovery and was assigned to Bellarmine Prep to teach public speaking and debate for a semester. All remarked on his constant good cheer and indomitable spirit. His attitude was reflected in his statement: “I am healthy. More healthy than before polio even, just limited in local motion, that’s all.” He was determined to go back to China and was able to resume his languages studies in Taiwan in 1961. He studied Theology in Baguio City, Philippines, 1962-66, and was ordained a priest on May 9, 1965.

Fr. Bob returned to the States in 1968 and worked on a M.S. degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Arizona. He interned at hospitals in Phoenix and was able to get around in a van specially equipped with hand controls and a lift gate. He returned to Taiwan in December 1971 and took up a post as a consultant at the Veteran’s Hospital in Taipei, a position he held until he retired in January 2002. At the same time, he organized and led his own organization, Operation De-Handicap, to provide follow-up vocational counseling and referral services for the disabled. In addition to working with individuals, Bob produced manuals for those working with the handicapped and their families, taught classes and workshops, and gave presentations at international conferences on rehabilitation throughout the world. The organization’s philosophy stressed helping persons to help themselves and assume the ultimate responsibility for their own rehabilitation. The role of the family in the rehabilitation program was also stressed.

In 1974, Bob suffered major injuries in a head-on collision and remained in critical condition for some time. He was able to resume his work, but a year later, an infection set in and his left leg was amputated above the knee. Still, Bob remained undaunted, continued his work and was able to visit foundations and benefactors to support his organization, including a 13,000 mile van trip around the U.S. lecturing and raising money. He continued his writing, counseling, and teaching. His books went through many revisions and printings and were distributed gratis. Over the years the focus of Operation De-Handicap has shifted from those recovering from polio to those coping with other disabilities, especially muscular dystrophy. Bob also devised a computerized pictorial vocational interest inventory test for use with the retarded and those with limited literacy.

Over the years Bob has been recognized as a national authority on rehabilitation in Taiwan and has received government and private awards for his work. His work has been instrumental in bringing those with handicaps into the mainstream of society throughout Asia and will continue to do so in the future through the capable hands of Bob’s associates. He was well aware of the apostolic dimensions of his work. “Though I seldom have the occasion…to explicitly introduce God or the Church, my identity as a priest and as a Jesuit is nearly universally known and my motives respected.”

After retiring from more than 30 years of service at Taiwan’s Veterans’ Hospital, Fr. Bob volunteered to work at Jesuit-run Kuangchi Program Service in Taipei. There, he wrote and corrected English scripts for KPS productions. During his final years, he became a prolific writer of editorials, poems, and fables for the Jesuit monthly Renlai. Many of his writings can be found on the publication’s electronic website www.erenlai.com. Renlai plans to collect, edit and publish Fr. Bob’s writings in book form.

Fr. Bob will be remembered for his deep spirituality and persistence in adversity; he saw his physical setbacks as opportunities for service to others. He often amazed people by claiming that the two greatest gifts he had received from God were his polio affliction and his car accident, because these sufferings taught him so much and enabled him to help so many people with similar afflictions.

Fr. Bob’s kind and joyful disposition, his positive outlook, and deeply human spirituality made him an excellent spiritual director for Jesuits and lay people alike. Bob’s care provider of the last seven years claims that Fr. Bob changed his life through his kindness and patient companionship, always reaffirming and encouraging, never scolding, criticizing or complaining.

Although Fr. Bob has now left this world and his beloved Taiwan, his love of life, his strong and determined spirit, and his compassionate heart will continue to inspire and give hope to all who knew him for years to come. May he rest in peace.

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