As a young person with disabilities, Yi-Chun Chen is currently the assistant sales specialist of PX Mart’s Kaigeng Branch in Taitung. For her active advocation of rights and benefits for the disabled, Chen was awarded the 24th Golden Eagle Award for Model Persons with Disabilities by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOWH) in November 2020, with President Ing-Wen Tsai presenting the award to her personally in recognition of Chen’s self-determination to overcome obstacles and surpass herself in order to bring positive energy to society.
According to Chen, she traveled from Taitung to Taipei to attend the “Self-Advocation Meeting for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities” organized by the Parents’ Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability (PAPMH) for the first time in 2009. She remembers that she was such a shy and introverted passive participant. After continual practice over the last 12 years, she has become a meeting host, speaker, and notetaker. Through different missions, she keeps sharpening her expression, self-selection, self-determination, and self-accountability capacity and attitude. According to her, “learning growth and making progress through challenges” are very important. Therefore, she actively participates in various meetings and independent living learning camps.
For more people to hear the voice of persons with intellectual disabilities, she has travelled to Sri Lanka, the USA, Hong Kong, and Macau with the PAPMH to share her personal experiences, disseminate positive energy, and acquire valuable experience in international exchange. At Taiwan’s 2nd CRPD National Report press conference on December 1, 2020, she shared her experience in participation in a report discussion and the importance of information readability. She emphasized that easy-read information is an important media allowing persons with intellectual disabilities to participate in public policy discussions, and the full and effective participation of persons with intellectual disabilities is the core spirit of the CRPD.
According to the MOWH, it is hoped that the struggle of Chen can help the public understand persons with intellectual disabilities, rethink how we treat persons with intellectual disabilities around us, respect them from seeing them, develop a fair and respectful attitude, and build a society of equality and non-discrimination, in order for each and every person with intellectual disabilities to fully enjoy the right to independent living and community inclusion.