Zhou Jialin poses with her handicrafts. [hnradio.com]
A woman from central China's Hunan Province has devoted herself to the promotion of traditional palm leaf weaving techniques and the assistance of physically impaired people in their employment for many years.
Zhou Jialin, 41, comes from a family in the city of Changsha. She became hearing impaired after swallowing medicine by accident when she was a baby.
Zhou's father personally instructed her to learn painting at seven when he discovered she had a talent for the subject. Soon afterwards, her work won a gold medal at a provincial contest.
Zhou received high acclaim and recognition at 12 during an exhibition designed to promote artistic products created by physically impaired people. That year she became apprenticed to Wu Fuqiu, an authoritative artist in the circle of palm leaf weaving .
Zhou began to sell her handmade products in a shopping mall in Changsha after she graduated from Changsha Special Education for the Deaf in August 1994. Thanks to her commitment and high-quality work, her business began to be prosperous and she made a fortune within a short period, though she had to rely on body language to communicate with her clients.
Since her marriage in 2001, Zhou has worked with her husband, who was one of her classmates in Changsha Special Education for the Deaf, to inject more innovative elements into their handicrafts.
In addition, Zhou has displayed her works in many high-level exhibitions at both home and abroad during the past few years. Zhou was recommended by Hunan Provincial People's Government to exhibit her works at the Shanghai Expo in July 2010.
During the event, Zhou had an opportunity to talk with then Party chief of Hunan about her creations. Moreover, a total of four handicrafts authored by her have been housed by organizers of the Shanghai Expo.
Under the support of local federation of disabled persons, Zhou and her husband founded their own firm in December 2014, with the aim of further expanding their business and providing other physically impaired people with vocational training and employment.
To help the public learn more about the intangible cultural heritage craft, Zhou has often held lectures or visited schools in these years.
Zhou has received many awards and titles from local authorities in recent years for her dedication to the traditional craft and her efforts to assist others.
She has been recognized as a municipal-level ambassador of palm leaf weaving craft as well.
(Women of China)