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Carmen Yau

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Not just a life warrior

Carmen Yau Ka-man has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). She is currently pursuing a PhD in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at the Polytechnic University, where she is researching how social media helps women with disabilities strengthen their positive social identity. Carmen has championed the rights of persons with disabilities for many years. In 2009, she co-founded the Home Office Scheme. The scheme encourages public and private sector employers to hire persons with impairments and allow them to work from home, so that they, too, can have the opportunity to put their talents to use. In 2016, an American pharmaceutical company successfully developed medicine to treat SMA. Carmen and other people with SMA formed an advocacy group on their own initiative to collect the details of SMA patients, in order to campaign for the government to bring the medicine to Hong Kong. Carmen wants not only to “live well”, but also to “die well”. In 2014, she and her friends joined a Death Café in the United States. Through group discussions, participants thought about death. Carmen’s inspirational story has earned her the title of “life warrior”. In 2013 she won the South China Morning Post’s Spirit of Hong Kong Award, and in 2017 she was named a Regeneration Warrior.