Home of Hope changes China’s perception regarding accessibility

In Shanghai, Home of Hope is the city’s first dance group that includes only people with paraplegia, aiming to reshape perceptions of accessibility in China.

After a car accident in 2012, Pan Jing—a Chinese professional dancer—undertook spinal cord rehabilitation at Shanghai’s Sunshine Medical Rehabilitation Centre. There, she had the idea to create dance routines for people in wheelchairs.

Since forming in 2014, the dancers have performed more than 70 shows, including some on national television. The group inspired many patients along the way and helped its members process their traumatic experiences. Today, the people involved hope its influence will spread outside of the program to reach more people with disabilities.

Why does it matter? In China, people with disabilities often encounter physical and social barriers as the country has stigmatized disability for a long time. Indeed, the official term to refer to people with disabilities until the mid-1980s was “*Canfei”—*a combination of two Chinese characters meaning “incomplete” and “useless.” Today, things are shifting, and several groups are pushing to start using other terms.

Home of Hope is a safe space where its members feel accepted and understood. They hope their performances can play a part in changing Chinese society’s views regarding disabilities.

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