House helps restore a man's dignity

Updated: 2012-01-12 09:42

By He Na (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Li Jian, 51.

Education level: Junior secondary school.

He worked at a Beijing newspaper before he was sentenced to four years in prison for fraud.

"I was released on parole in January 2009 and went back to the home that I had left for three years. Since February was the lunar new year, I had a big gathering with relatives, which lapped me in happiness," Li said.

Then his daughter-in-law was found to have a brain tumor, plunging the whole family into deep sorrow. They worried about her health and the huge medical costs.

"I really wanted to help and tried many ways to find a job. But my lower education level and prison record made the job hunt impossible," Li said.

"I couldn't lend a hand to my son; on the contrary, I still needed him to support me. Many failures at job hunting filled my heart with despair. I even had the idea to steal some money to give my son and go to prison again.

"I don't know how the policemen knew about my difficulties," Li said, "but they persuaded me to visit the Chaoyang Sunshine Halfway House. To my surprise, the place was just like a nice hotel and the work staff were all very friendly."

He had been nervous on the way there, but wasn't afterward.

"Putting Li's condition into consideration, we asked him to live in the halfway house for three months and first solved his worries about a dwelling and food. Then we made a job-hunting plan for him," said Liu Yong, deputy director of Chaoyang District Bureau of Justice.

"With their help I got a minimum living allowance and medical insurance several days later," Li said. "The staff here also treated me as guest and friend, and my mood became much better."

But Li's age, poor health and limited education restricted his job options. Although staff members connected with many companies, a month passed with no job available.

"The refusals iced my enthusiasm, and I almost gave up hope," Li said.

"The policemen seemed much happier than I did when they got information about a job that might be suitable for me."

The efforts paid off, and Li was hired as a driver for a school.

"Though I cannot help my son much, I can support myself and live with dignity as a normal person," he said.

Liu said, "We often visit the school where Li works, and Li's boss and colleagues highly praise his performance. He's a person who knows gratitude. Although his salary is not much, he often helps people like him."