Foreign journalists donate Dragon Boat prize to Shanghai's visually impaired-friendly bookstore| June 07, 2024

Foreign journalists donate Dragon Boat prize to Shanghai

The Niguang 226 bookstore is a haven specially designed for visually-impaired readers. [Photo/Li Junfeng]

In a heartwarming gesture of generosity, a unique dragon boat team consisting of foreign journalists residing and working in Shanghai made a donation to the Niguang 226 bookstore, a haven specially designed for visually-impaired readers.

The donation, presented in the bookstore located in the city's Huangpu district on June 6, was the prize earned by the dragon boat team during the 20th Shanghai Suzhou Creek Dragon Boat Invitational Tournament, which saw 36 teams from both local and international origins compete to win the championship title.

The Niguang 226 bookstore, a collaborative effort between Xinhua Media, the Shanghai Disabled Persons' Federation, and the Ruijin 2nd Road residential neighborhood, stands as a pioneering initiative in Shanghai, catering to the needs of visually-impaired individuals.

This 37-square-meter space, designed to be home-like and welcoming, features specially crafted furniture with curved designs, tactile paving both inside and outside the store, designated resting areas for guide dogs, and a wheelchair-accessible ramp at the entrance.

Since its establishment in December 2022, the bookstore has been dedicated to serving the visually-impaired community by offering a diverse range of braille books authored by both domestic and international writers. It also offers movies with audio descriptions for accessibility, and a variety of custom handcraft classes tailored to the participants' preferences, such as painting, aromatherapy candle making, and crafting handmade canvas bags.

The bookstore's name, Niguang, meaning "born against the light, walk towards the light" in Chinese, reflects its mission to support and empower those facing visual challenges. Staff members at Niguang 226 expressed their commitment to showcasing cultural and creative products crafted by visually-impaired individuals, with these unique works being made available for display and purchase within the bookstore.

As Niguang 226's influence continues to expand, the impact of its initiatives has transcended beyond Shanghai, reaching individuals with disabilities in other provinces of China and even extending into Japan.

Xu Wenzhen, a dedicated staff member at Niguang 226, emphasized the bookstore's goal of shedding light on the stories and talents of the disabled community, aiming to inspire others to overcome obstacles in their own lives.

Foreign journalists donate Dragon Boat prize to Shanghai

Representatives of the dragon boat team gift an autographed jersey to the bookstore. [Photo/Li Junfeng]

During their visit, guided by two knowledgeable staff members, the dragon boat team representatives immersed themselves in a comprehensive tour of the bookstore. Jens Muhling, the team captain, expressed a personal connection to the cause, mentioning his wish for his visually-impaired grandmother to have had access to a similar bookstore in her home country.