Although They Cannot See, They Can Hear
“You are my eyes. With you I can feel the changes of seasons….” This touching song of a famous live singer, Xiao Huang-Chi, has spoken the heart of visually impaired people to the public. As Xiao himself is with visual impairment, he has been through many ups and downs in life which are different from those of normal people. Fortunately, with his exceptional sense in hearing and pitches, he has succeeded in music industry today.
In the past, the education and medical resources for visually impaired people were either lagged or insufficient. Therefore, with the efforts of many parents with visually impaired child and ardent people “Parents’ Association for the Visually Impaired” (hereinafter referred to as “the association”) was formally established in July 1996. Dedicating to form independent dignity and to increase community involvement of the visually impaired, the association has not only devoted to develop more tactile teaching materials to support them in studying, but also to assist them in bringing their advantages in hearing into full play.
Since 2004, the association has trained the visually impaired, involuntary unemployed, and middleaged and senior unemployed people with potential to piano tuning industry.
A New Job Option that Demonstrates Their Talents in Piano Tuning
The association joined “Multiple Employment Promotion Program (MEPP)” of Ministry of Labor (MOL) in 2005 to propose the “Employment Guidance and Training for Piano Tuning: A Program that Expands Employment Opportunity for the Visually Impaired” (hereinafter referred to as “this program”). This？program of high economic value was designed for visually impaired people to acquire a new job option: piano tuner. With the support of government policies and budgets, this program has created a support system to offer unemployed visually impaired people, and middleaged and senior unemployed workers employment opportunities, ensuring their basic living requirements.
This program is mainly about making the best of support system to enhance skills of visually impaired people in piano tuning and of the other employee in marketing. By providing training courses in piano tuning to strengthen their professional abilities, this program aims to provide them a sustainable employment and thus they can live on their own.
The association had participated in the Multiple Employment Promotion Program for 7 years, which included expense for three-year economic program and partial subsidies for 4 years. Though facing the pressure of decreasing subsidy and cost increase on employee salaries, the association still managed to maintain a stable operation. In 2012, all the subsidy applications came to an end. The association has achieved full financial sustainability. Besides, in terms of assisting employees in fostering their vocational capabilities, the association has deepened professional knowledge of visually impaired piano tuners by constant on-the-job training, supported them in acquiring certification in piano tuning and enrolled employees in all types of vocational trainings, such as computer software application skills, communications skills, marketing management, and so on.
In addition to integrating governmental and community resources to continuously nurture visually impaired piano tuners for sustainable employment opportunities, the association has strengthened their operation of “Piano Tuning and Second-hand Piano Trading Center” run by visually impaired personnel to offer consumers good quality pianos at lower cost. It cooperated with some employee welfare committees in large companies offering them discounted price. In addition to that, thanks to electronic media and internet services, the association can post its business information regarding piano tuning and second-hand piano trading on some public welfare website, and thus expands its piano collection, sales network and business opportunities.
Ever since the foundation of the association, it has been supporting the visually impaired along the path of studying, exploring their own strengths and nurturing their professional specialty in piano tuning and thus creates sustainable employment. The association expects every visually impaired is able to find his or her position in the job market and make a good living.
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Please attribute this article to “Workforce Development Agency, Ministry Of Labor”.