The Beijing 2022 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games kicked off on February 4 and March 4. At the award ceremony, as the athletes were guided onto the stage to accept the awards, the audience noticed that the bouquets they were holding were different from those used before – they were all hand-woven woolen flowers.
Among the 1,251 flowers used on the 2022 Beijing Games, more than 500 were produced by over 150 disabled people from the Hope House for People with Spinal Cord Injury.
The Hope House, a nonprofit that aims to help people with the spinal injury condition have a normal life, was co-founded by Tang Zhanxin, an alumna of CKGSB’s EMBA program with spinal injuries.
In August 2021, the Beijing Disabled Persons’ Federation approached Tang and asked if her team could help make some handmade woolen products, which were later revealed as the Olympic bouquets. In the following three months, Tang worked with her team of 150 disabled people from across Beijing to make bouquets for the Winter Paralympics.
Since 2020, the Beijing government and the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have been employing Tang’s team to test accessible facilities and provide assessments and supervision plans. Tang and her team of 30 people with disabilities would travel to hotels, venues and transportation hubs to check if existing accessible facilities comply with government regulations and put together a report offering suggestions to the government.
In addition to the government, construction companies have also been keen to use their services to help the construction of accessible facilities.
“I really hope that one day when people see us, they don’t see our wheelchairs or the grief we experience, but see us as capable (despite our disabilities) and wonder what else they can do to help us become even more capable,” Tang said.