Home>Service> Global Love of Lives Award> 18th Fervent Global Love of Lives Award> An Artist Who Can’t See Ching-Ju Huang
【Color the darkness and light up her life】

 “I believe that my learning experience sets an inspirational example to younger students. I have been creating chances to surpass myself since I was little. Although I am constrained by poor eyesight, surpassing myself is the path I must take in life.”
-Ching-Ju Huang
Color the darkness and light up her life
Ching-Ju Huang is in her second year of master study in Department of Leisure and Recreation Management at Dayeh University in Taiwan. She got glaucoma when she was a child. Her optic nerve degenerated because she didn’t have immediate surgical treatment. Then, Ching-Ju went completely blind in sixth grade. It was devastating. Suddenly, her childhood turned from colorful and joyful to black-and-white and tearful. Ching-Ju shut herself off for three years. Fortunately, she met Qiao-Zhen Shi, an orientation and mobility (O&M) trainer at Jhongping Junior High School in New Taipei City, and Zhao-Wen Chen, a teacher at Taipei School for the Visually Impaired. They helped her start from braille reading to O&M training. With drawing, Ching-Ju broke down isolation. She also learned to make good use of computers. Every word carried a teardrop and every step of the way encountered an obstacle.
Later on, in the National Athlete Meets for the Physically and Mentally Impaired President Cup, she won the first places in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter races respectively. She was crowned champion in art, speech, singing, badminton, and English recitation contests. She also received certificates of Outstanding Student Award and Mayor’s Award from two former Mayors of Taipei, Ying-Jeou Ma and Lung-Pin Hau.
As soon as Ching-Ju graduated from Department of Leisure and Recreation Management at Dayeh University with excellent academic performance, she passed the MA entrance exam with flying colors. In her free time, Ching-Ju taught braille to members of Kind-hearted Volunteer Club at university. In winter and summer breaks, she offered tutoring services at her senior high school, Taipei School for the Visually Impaired. She used drawing to tell students there not to restrict themselves or feel inferior. She kept encouraging them to make their career plans for college. Ching-Ju has proved that everyone has talent.
It is Ching-Ju’s spirit that impresses people most. She takes up challenges and refuses to be constrained by complete blindness. Instead, she aspires to become an artist though she can’t see. She has made the winters and darkness in her life draw back by drawing. Furthermore, her inspirational story has encouraged those who are visually impaired. Ching-Ju’s story shows that blind people can do more than providing massaging service. They can also experience their lives, color their lives, and see the light. Ching-Ju has earned the title “an artist who can’t see”. She stands out among the 2341 candidates for the Love of Lives Medal of Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation. She was awarded the 2015 Fervent Global Love of Lives Medal.
Colors faded from life in an accident
Ching-Ju is in the second year of the MA Leisure and Recreation Management at Dayeh University. In her childhood, she was innocent, playing and dreaming her future like her peers. Her world had been bright and cheerful until her eyesight degenerated and her world blurred in sixth grade.
Ching-Ju once accidently fell down and suddenly lost her vision. Examinations showed unknown pathological changes in her eyes. She was diagnosed with glaucoma and optic nerve degeneration. Darkness enveloped her and the days thereafter.
All of a sudden, Ching-Ju’s world was no longer beautiful and wonderful. She could sense powerlessness and disappointment in her family’s comforting words. These disturbing and negative remarks constantly haunted her. She was helpless and afraid all the time. At that moment, only music could soothe her vulnerable lonely heart. In the Enchanted Garden, a piano album, helped her play the melody of her life. She finally found warmth and peace.
Turn over a new leaf in the darkness
Hearing the gentle music, Ching-Ju always imagined roaming at the seaside. She recalled those days when she still had healthy eyesight. That was when she could see the world clearly and face the beautiful and the ugly with smiles. However, she had lost the door connecting to the world. She wanted to see the lush green garden depicted In the Enchanted Garden, but darkness was the only thing she saw. Ching-Ju didn’t collapsed. She told herself that when God closed a door, somewhere he opened a window. As long as she saw with her heart, she could experience the world with the purest mind.
Having this faith, Ching-Ju entered the resource class of Jhongping Junior High School in Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City. In that class, the O&M trainer Ms. Shi taught her with love. Ms. Shi helped Ching-Ju know her new self living in the darkness and start her new life as a blind individual. Ms. Shi taught Ching-Ju to read braille, manage O&M, and operate computers for the blind. To start a new life wasn’t as easy as she imagined. It meant to bid farewell to the old life she had been used to. Ching-Ju didn’t escape; she gratefully embraced her new journey of life.
On the journey of life, Ching-Ju has had a lot of helping hands. It was her humble attitude that transformed others’ favors into inner boosters. For Ching-Ju, Ms. Shi’s influence was unforgettable. At school, she taught Ching-Ju the basic abilities of living as a blind person. After school, she even stayed and helped Ching-Ju review schoolwork, recognize Chinese characters, and read. With Ms. Shi accompanying her, not only was Ching-Ju happy to learn, but she also gained the courage and determination to stand up straight in the face of difficulties and obstacles.
To realize her college dream, Ching-Ju attended Taipei School for the Visually Impaired after she graduated from junior high school. Most of her classmates were also visually impaired. They were bright and Ching-Ju soon blended in. They supported one another. Like other senior high school students, they studied geography, history, mathematics, English, etc.
Survive with company and thrive in challenges
During her three-year study at Taipei School, Ching-Ju participated in various intramural and extramural contests. She was crowned champion in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter races of the National Athlete Meets for the Physically and Mentally Impaired President Cup; she received Creativity Award in school’s anniversary singing contest; she won the third place in school’s Chinese and Taiwanese speech contests; she won the fifth place in National Chinese and Taiwanese speech contests for the visually impaired; she was awarded the second place in school’s anniversary gate ball match. Ching-Ju recalled that there were two awards that impressed her the most. In tenth grade, she received the Outstanding Student certificate from Ying-Jeou Ma, the Mayor of Taipei then. On the graduation ceremony, she received National Mayor’s certificate from Lung-Pin Hau, Mr. Ma’s successor. Holding these certificates of excellence, Ching-Ju’s heart was filled with courage and strong will. She was determined to keep going and believed that she would have more outstanding performance in the future.
Zhao-Wen Chen and Cui-Ling Lee played an important role in Ching-Ju’s learning experience. Ching-Ju started learning braille at a rather old age, so she recognized it more slowly than her classmates and usually needed to use Chinese characters. When she took notes, she often had a hard time locating the words. Ms. Lee always stood beside her, holding her hand to write down characters one stroke at a time. Oftentimes she wrote on Ms. Lee’s hand, but Ms. Lee didn’t mind at all. She still patiently and gently encouraged Ching-Ju to learn, giving Ching-Ju the support and courage to move on.
When Ching-Ju was in twelfth grade, she had a roommate, Yu-Ling Liu, two years younger than her. Yu-Ling was completely blind and deaf, which was hard for people to identify with. The two girls communicated by writing braille on each other’s palms. Via writing back and forth, they had no trouble communicating even though they couldn’t see and hear each other. Ching-Ju saw a bright heart in Yu-Ling. Living with her made Ching-Ju a person who understood others’ needs. Meanwhile, Ching-Ju was moving closer to a brighter future under teachers’ guidance.
Overcome mental obstacles and create her value
Ching-Ju was admitted into Dayeh University after graduating from senior high school. Leaving her hometown Taipei and going to a new place Changhua all alone, she was excited and nervous. Ching-Ju had always longed to study in college, yet for a blind student, it took quite a long time to adapt to a new environment. Her school assigned an O&M trainer, Yi-Jing Lin, to solve this problem. Ms. Lin traveled from Taipei to Changhua on a weekly basis to help Ching-Ju familiarize herself with the university. Universities are a microcosm of society. Ms. Lin knew that Ching-Ju wasn’t used to it, so she kept her company and gave her encouragement. Gradually, Ching-Ju’s fear faded away.
Since Ching-Ju was a freshman in school, the university appointed two seniors to help her with her study. They were Hong-Hua Lai and Jia-Yu Chong. Although it was their part-time job at school, they did care for Ching-Ju. Every day, they accompanied her to classes. They turned written notes into e-notes for her to read. They also helped her with reports and took her out after school. What touched Ching-Ju the most was that they treated her just like other people in spite of her blindness. She really appreciated their respect.
Ching-Ju didn’t want blindness to be the obstacle of her life. In the College of Management freshmen orientation camp, she, like everyone else, completed mountain climbing training such as tightrope walking, abseiling, and downhill. In her junior year, she went rafting with her classmates. All of her teachers and classmates thought these activities too dangerous for her and tried to dissuade her from doing them. However, Ching-Ju accomplished these “missions impossible” and used her action to allay everyone’s apprehension. Completing these activities, Ching-Ju was cheered. She also realized that all the “cannot’s ” were merely limits set by herself. If she didn’t think that she could make it before giving it a try, she would leave regrets in the past and have regrets in the future. Therefore, when she encountered challenges, she welcomed them.
It was commendable that Ching-Ju displayed such great perseverance. It was neither passing enthusiasm nor a playful personality. Since she entered senior high school, she had taken part in numerous class and school activities. Encouraged by Mr. Chen, Ching-Ju and Hao-En Lin, a younger student, emceed or hosted various events. When they were hosting, they learned how to organize events, how to create a lively ambience, and how to make a great team. In these activities, Ching-Ju kept developing her potential. The extracurricular experience had indirect effects on her career plan in college.
Students in the College of Management at Dayeh University study together in the first two years before they choose departments. Ching-Ju fully explored her interests and abilities in the first two years. She worked really hard. Her academic performance was the second best in her class when she became a junior. Then, she chose Department of Leisure and Recreation Management. From senior high school to college, Ching-Ju never stopped gaining knowledge of the fields she was passionate about.
Experience, cherish, and give
Ching-Ju didn’t just learn things. She also learned to give. She taught her classmates braille, so that they can communicate. This also improved their mutual understanding and respect. She volunteered to tutor students in her senior high school. She also shared her story, telling those blind students that they could control their destiny. It was their eyes that were blind, not their hearts. Those who cannot see shouldn’t be labeled as “the cannot’s”. Only when they stopped limiting themselves could they stop restricting their development.
Ching-Ju has walked through a valley of deep darkness and is embracing new scenery of life. She believes that her learning experience is an inspirational story for people struggling in the same dark valley.
Looking back on her life, Ching-Ju has been creating chances to surpass herself. She firmly believes that people create their own opportunities. Constrained by blindness, she is still determined to remove the constraint. Falling and rising over and over again, Ching-Ju wants to let people know that dreams are built between imagination and action. Don’t be frustrated by falls and don’t be confined by pressure. Work harder and learn to live with frustration, though frustration brings pain and unease. Once you overcome frustrating hurdles, they will become the most beautiful episode in your life. It is frustrating experience that makes people achieve levels of greatness that they have never reached before. Don’t label yourself as “the cannot’s” due to congenital defects. Don’t use your defect as an excuse for incapable of doing anything, either.
Ching-Ju keeps telling students in her senior high school that they are no different from anybody else. For example, Ching-Ju had to perform her duties in class like her classmates. She wasn’t able to see words on the blackboard while cleaning the board, but she could still do her job. All she needed to do was spend more time wiping in a straight line again and again. By doing this, Ching-Ju could carry out her duties just like people with healthy vision. She said, “We’re just born with some flaws, but we can work it out by working hard. We can pursue our dreams just like anybody else.”