SHANGHAI, June 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Beyond the stereotype of a massage therapist, what other career possibilities does life hold for the visually challenged? On the evening of 21st May, to celebrate China's 33rd national day of assisting people with disabilities, the social media platform Soul App launched an online pro-bono party called "Negotiating Life's Challenges" whereby two blind users were invited to work as "trainee Melancholy Healers". They listened to the struggles of their peers and offered suggestions in real time to walk them out of the woods.
The invited trainee Melancholy Healers both were long-time SOUL users, who had once shut themselves off from the world because they found it hard to reconcile with reality. Fortunately, they broke out of their shell using social media and launched into a new realm of possibility: On the Internet, they connected with others from different backgrounds as equals, and received genuine encouragement and feedback, reveling in the healing warmth of acceptance.
On 11th May, the trainee Melancholy Healer campaign was launched by SOUL, which started to receive and reply to many user messages. On 21st May, the Negotiating Life's Challenges live party was held to help users talk through worries and confusions about life, participated by many SOUL users. During the online group chat, users opened their heart to each other, discussing any topic on their mind such as career concerns, interpersonal relations, and even love. Their questions were answered by an accredited psychological counselor @Jiaozhu, who gave them professional advice for their specific life challenge. At the same time, the two "trainees" @Wen and @Huang also contributed by sharing their personal stories about "imperfection" and putting forward suggestions from a different lens, spreading great positivity and optimism among everyone involved.
@Jiaozhu is a licensed psychological counselor and crisis intervention specialist with experience in the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. She said, "Visibility is a cure; visibility is power. Due to many reasons, an invisible gap stands between people with and without disabilities – one that has bred misunderstanding and even estrangement. Through the platform of SOUL, this activity enables us, sightless or not, to actually "see" each other. It is equal communication and mutual understanding that have given us the strength to press ahead and meet each other halfway."
In 2023, SOUL has created a "Melancholy Healing House of Magic", a question-and-answer mutual aid forum in-app, where users can post their worries about life, career and love. After SOUL verifies required qualification (Professional credentials needed for a psychological counselor, for example), Melancholy Healer applicants can begin to give a helping hand. Home to nearly 600 Melancholy Healers, the House is piloting a "Candlelight Program", which recruits users with disabilities who have experience in areas spanning psychological counselling, relationship, horoscope and career planning.
@WhiteTea added, "For visually impaired people, career options are very limited. I'm happy for the opportunity to gain brand-new experience as a trainee Melancholy Healer. I'm going to keep learning and put my creativity to full use. It'd be great if I could continue to help other people."
The results of the Second National Sample Survey of Persons with Disabilities, the data of the 7th Census of 2021 of the National Bureau of Statistics, and the official website of the China Internet Network Information Center, show that there are 16.91 million people with visual impairments, 27.8 million who have difficulty hearing, and 29.77 million with physical disabilities in China. As huge as the numbers sound, these individuals and their needs are rarely seen in everyday life. Physically or psychologically, they are eager to move out and live life just like everyone else to enjoy the many opportunities and experiences the world has to offer.
As a social platform, SOUL is committed to removing communication barriers for all users, especially vulnerable groups, to ensure a frictionless exchange of minds and hearts. With equality, kindness and inclusiveness in its DNA, the platform strives to create an environment where every user can express themselves authentically and connect with like-minded friends. By encouraging users to establish emotional bonds and feel the sense of belonging and happiness that comes with friendship, SOUL envisions to facilitate an uninterrupted flow of love and warmth.
Source: Soul App