我是Walter宇恒,一個視障屋邨仔的故事。由粉嶺走向世界,不理會自己視力退化的問題,而奮力協助他人。

在三歲時因有先天性視網膜細胞退化,眼睛只得三成視力,當時醫生解釋,我是先天視網膜細胞生長不健全,主要會對感光方面有影響,將來會由三成視力退化至失明。由幼稚園至小學我都不喜歡自己,因為三歲時已經需要配戴眼鏡。

幸運的是,醫生常常鼓勵我的媽媽,他認為很多事情我都是可以做得到,當時醫生亦沒有建議我入讀特殊學校,因此我可以在主流學校讀書。由於視力問題,所以由幼稚園到小學,我都自信心不足和不能合群,在一、二年班的時候,甚至害怕上學。

我生長在一個良好的家庭,從小到長大,雖然有視障問題,但家人並沒有告訴我與其他人有甚麼分別,他們很想我過著平常人的生活,也不會特別照顧我。媽媽會讓哥哥與我一起到球場踢足球,在小學二、三年班時,更讓我獨自前往文理泳會游泳。雖然這些經歷,在那時候很害怕,但慢慢便明白到甚麼是適者生存。

很感恩,中學時入讀一間Band 3的男女中學,我開始很專心讀書,還很積極去學習不同的事物,成績也愈來愈好,而且社交亦兼顧得宜,慢慢建立了自信心,到中學五年級時,我的成績是全級第一名。

在中六時我是社長亦是一個領袖生,成績好,體育活動也可以,在那時很有自信心,但帶著這個心態入讀中文大學經濟系,給了我很大的包袱,令到自己有很大落差。在大學裡我經歴了很多事情,因為大學已經六、七年沒有視障學生入讀,因此我要在大學的不同部門奔走,如考試組、學院和自己入讀的經濟系,甚至宿舍新亞書院,每個地方也要奔波,才能夠取得自己的一個小小安排,也用了一年時間才能買到一個特殊設備,可以看到授課的屏幕。我深刻體會到在中學時有很好的體驗,原來是有很多外界的因素和有很多人幫助我,令我開始懂得謙卑。

在二零零九年大學第一年的暑假,因為我是副修德文,需要前往德國參加暑期課程,我亦爭取到在法蘭克福舉辦「黑暗中對話」的展館實習。第二年暑假到了瑞士銀行與高盛投資銀行實習,當時自己充滿了自信心。

我希望能夠學習多一些,可以協助身旁的殘疾朋友找到工作。大學畢業後,雖然成績很好,而且亦有在銀行的實習經驗,但幾經辛苦才找到一份三個月合約的工作,再過六個月然後才可以轉為長工。自己曾接受過良好教育和有實習經驗,找一份工作也有困難,想想身旁的殘疾朋友怎樣才能找到一份工作。

在二零一三年,開始構思創立一個高學歷殘疾人士學生會、校友會和一個義務配對工作平台。直至遇到了兩位現時伙伴,我們有同一理念,所以便展開工作。二零一四年取得CareER的慈善機構註冊,我們在學生方面開始,跟著聯絡之前我曾經當實習工作的僱主,包括高盛、瑞銀、和一間澳洲駐香港的跨國律師行。開始時律師行給予我們會員第一份實習工作,之後律師行再介紹另一間澳洲電訊公司給予我們,由最初兩間公司合共聘用四位殘疾人士實習職位開始,到了二零一六年已經超過二十九間公司,提供了五十多個職位予高學歷殘疾大專學生,我們的慈善機構不單只是協助視障學生,還包括其他肢體傷殘,聽障,甚至特殊教育、自閉症、讀寫障礙和有情緒問題的學生,我們亦會協助他們尋找工作,到現在我們已經有超過一百八十位會員。

我一直都是有正職工作,但近年發覺眼睛退化速度加快,在去年明白到,慈善機構、自己的事業和眼睛視力三樣事,是不可以兼得,最後選擇了當這一個慈善機構朝七晚十的工作,我希望將剩餘的視力投放在自己意願上,就是為一群高學歷的殘疾人士而工作。

今天以公共屋邨作為拍照的背景,因為希望讓不認識我的朋友知道,我是來自一個普通的家庭,爸爸是經營山寨廠,媽媽是家庭主婦,家境並不富裕,小時候住在沙角邨,之後搬到粉嶺華明邨。我是一個懂得把握機會的人,任何機會我都不會錯過,在沒有社會上有能力人士支持下,加上缺乏資金,憑著過往自己曾經工作過的公司關係,及在其他慈善機構當義工時,累積下來的經驗,經過很多熱心人士和義工協助下,慢慢一步一步地建立了機構平台,將自己之前實習所得的經驗投放在機構裡,分享給其他殘疾人士,而不是只顧自己安逸,便離開這一個殘疾圈,更希望將來我可以完全做得到「非以役人,乃役於人」。

I am Walter. My story is of a public housing boy with visual impairment. I traveled the world starting from my roots in Fanling. I will not mind the deterioration of my eye sight and will only try my best to help others.

When I was three, I had congenital retinal degeneration. My eyes only have thirty percent vision. The doctor, at the time, explained that the growth of my congenital retinal cells was abnormal. It will mainly affect my sensitivity towards light. In future, my thirty percent vision would deteriorate to complete blindness. Starting from kindergarten till primary school, I did not like myself because when I was three, I already had to wear glasses.

Fortunately, the doctor often encouraged my mother. He believes that I can do many things. He did not suggest that I attend a special needs school. Consequently, I can attend a mainstream school. Due to my visual problems, I lacked self-confidence and was not able to blend in with the crowd since kindergarten through to primary school. When I was in Primary One and Primary Two, I even feared going to school.
I was raised in a good family. Although I had visual impairment since I was young and until I was grown up, my family did not make me feel any different from the others. They wanted me to live a normal life and would not pay special attention to me. My mother would let my brother take me to the soccer pitch to play. When I was in Primary Two or Three, I even went to a swimming club myself. Although I was very frightened by these experiences at the time, I slowly understood what it meant by survival of the fittest.

I am very grateful because I was enrolled into a Band 3 co-educational school. I began to focus on studying. I was very pro-active when it came to learning different things. My grades became increasingly better. I was also socially-adept. Slowly, I nurtured my self-confidence. When I got into Form 5, my grades were the best in the class.

When I reached Form 6, I became the club President and Prefect. My grades were good and I could manage sports class. I was greatly self-confident at that time. But when I carried this mentality to the Finance program of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, I felt a mountain on my back. There was a great gap between what I was able to do and with my expectations. During university, I experienced many things. It is because the university has not accepted someone with visual impairment for around six to seven years. Therefore, I had to run all over the place from department to department in the university to find support e.g. the examination team, the university departments and the finance department as well as, my campus. I had to roll with the punches with each place in order to fight for something for myself. It also took one year to purchase a special needs equipment to enable me to see what was on the lecture screen. From my observation, I found that my experiences in secondary school were good. It is because there were lots of external factors and people who helped me. I felt humbled at once.

During the first summer break of my university life in 2009, I had to travel to Germany to attend summer class because I minored in German. I was able to work as an intern in the Dialogue in the Dark exhibition in Frankfurt. In the second year of summer break, I worked in Swiss bank, Goldman Sachs, as an intern. I was filled with self-confidence during that period.

I hope to learn more so that I can help those with disabilities to find work. After I graduated from university, although my grades were great and I had experience working in a bank, it took great effort before I was able to find a job with a three-month contract. It did not become a permanent full-time job until six months later. I once underwent fine education and solid work experience but it was still so difficult to find a job. I wondered how friends with disabilities around me can find a job.

In 2013, I began to conceptualize a student association for highly educated disabled person, a school alumni and voluntary group platform. I then met my two current partners. We carried the same philosophy and that’s why we began to work. In 2014, we were able to register our organization as a charity group called CareER. We started our work beginning from students. I also contacted employers that I have interned with as well as, a Hong Kong-based Australian legal firm. In the beginning, the firm gave our members the first internship work. It later introduced us to an Australian telecommunications company. From the two firms that employed four persons with disabilities it has later, in 2016, evolved into twenty-nine companies providing 50 job vacancies to our highly educated persons with disabilities. Our charity organization not only supports those with visual impairment but includes those with handicaps, listening impairment, those with special educational need, autistic individuals, those with reading-writing coordination problems as well as, persons with mental issues. We will help them to find work. Right now, we have more than 180 members.

I have always had a full-time job but found that it has accelerated the deterioration of my eyes. Starting from last year, I began to understand that the charity organization, my career and my eyesight cannot be juggled at once. In the end, I chose the charity organization work. I hope the rest of my vision can contribute to my dreams. I hope to serve educated persons with disabilities to find work.

Today, I have found this public housing estate area as my photoshoot background because I hope friends who do not know me will learn that I come from a normal family. My father works in a small factory and my mother is a housewife. I do not come from an affluent family. I lived in Sha Kok Estate and then moved to Wah Ming Estate of Fanling. Without support from able people across the society and with insufficient financial funding, I used my connections from my previous work and voluntary experiences as well as, the help from friendly volunteers to slowly develop the platform for this organization. I used what I learned from my prior work experience to concentrate on the organization and share with those who have disabilities. I hope to not just care for myself and leave this disability circle but rather, focus on helping others to find their way.

崔宇恆 CareER創辦人

原文刊於Hong Kong Stories, 香港故事

CareER以建立殘疾大專生/畢業生職業方向和在校支援為目標,同時讓企業和僱主了解殘疾人士的才能,鼓勵企業共融。
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