As we all know, life is ever unpredictable. But you can still change your own life, if not the lives of others, with your passion and vision. In the end, it’s all about love …
In 2007, my Mom became permanently disabled after two operations on brain tumours that unfortunately grew just adjacent to the nerves corresponding to her right limbs. Nothing could be more horrible than seeing my lovely Mom changing from an active middle-aged woman to a weak and disabled person, relying on a wheelchair.
Since then, my family has learned how to take care of a disabled person in every aspect of her life. My Mom is lucky as both her son and daughter have private cars to drive her around regularly. But what about the times when both of us are too busy? Can she take a taxi? Dad’s tummy is too big and his waist too fragile to move Mom from her wheelchair to the seat. A bus? Not every bus is wheelchair accessible and goes to her desired destinations.
When researching her options, I found out that many wheelchair accessible vans do exist – illegal ones with bad hygiene and, importantly, no insurance protection. Nevertheless, they are very active, especially in transporting the elderly between nursing homes, clinics and hospitals on a regular basis. Ridiculously, these vans charge fares that are 2 to 3 times higher than a taxi!
My Mom had no choice but to try it out once. She exclaimed, ‘It’s really smelly inside!’ On hearing this, my mind lit up and I asked myself, ‘Do I really want to bear this phenomenon until I myself am on a wheelchair one day? No way!’ I decided that I need to change this unfair and inhumane situation, not only for my Mom, but for all wheelchair users. I need to take action and pave the way for a safer and more comfortable ageing society by creating barrier-free infrastructure!
Then, I learnt about a social enterprise idea for disabled transportation at Social Ventures Hong Kong. This was in late 2007 when, coincidentally, I was taking care of a wheelchair user, my Mom. I began to work with Simon Wan and Alfred Ngai, both SVhk Directors, as a volunteer to explore the possibility of launching a high quality barrier-free transportation service. We have spent nearly three years building up a network of trusted partners, particularly in the taxi industry and elderly homes. Now, we are pleased that Diamond Cab has been successfully set up: a groundbreaking innovation tackling the challenge of providing legal and barrier-free transportation to an ageing society. We are more than ready to face forthcoming challenges …
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all those who offered support throughout the project: Advisors, Partners, Professional Volunteers, Sponsors, Shareholders and Social Ventures Hong Kong. Diamond Cab is a labour of love to enable the disabled and physically weak to enjoy more freedom. As a social enterprise, it is a brand new way of providing care to those who need it most in our society.