My Life Story
Today, I would like to tell my own life story as well as express my deep gratitude to those who contribute to raise me up.
My story will begin with the onset of visual impairment. Many people are frequently asking the question of since when I am visually impaired. I used to have this same question. Once, my parents told me that when I was born, they had a very hard time. Even at six months old, I was so light weight that my mother was holding me on her arm and felt like holding a piece of cloth. My parents had to stay at the hospital during four months, as the pneumonia affected me severely. Of course, it was very expensive to save my life. By that time, they had no house, rent a room, and managed all kinds of expenses with their limited wage. Then it became tougher for them to manage the hospital fee and other payments for me. Althought they tried all their best to save me, but I still was crying day and night. My mother did not know what to do with me except crying.
After those hard days, my parents felt better when seeing in me the life. I made a full recovery eventually. This kind of consolation did not last long. When I was two years of age, the influence of being born with prematurity affected my eyes which became gradually blurred until my vision totally lost. I no longer could see the surroundings and my parents’ faces.
With my parents, the disability let them down. My mother often cried silently when not knowing how to deal with my impairment. Until she knew there was a place in where I would learn to function with my disability. Now she is better. She still keeps in her mind the image of her two year old sighted girl happily riding the bicycle around the hammock in the small space of the rent room.
For me, I had no memories of my babyhood, especially the period of time I had sight. I only remembered all details of the experience of my first day of school. When my mother took me, a five year old girl, to Vi Thuy Home for the Blind, she was telling a sister my story with full tears. Then she left me with the sisters. I was so homesick that I was crying all day long. In the afternoon, after bathing me, the sister made my hair, then she had me touch something soft on my hair. She told me they were two beautiful roses. She took me to the garden and put me in a swing. The sister was standing next to the swing and told me: “You are as beautiful as a small princess!”
Time passes so fast! It is almost five years away. I am ten years old now, I am in the fourth grade. With the tireless efforts of the sisters and all supporters, I have a happy life. My life is full of laughing and surrounded by loved people. I have good friends who play with me and share with my daily activities. I am well taken care by the kind sisters and taught to serve myself as well as all kinds of skills to compensate my visual impairment.
I am also proud of myself for my efforts and academic achievements. From the first grade to this grade, I am categorized as an excellent student. In addition, my mother stops crying, and she is very happy because of my good health condition. I am no longer as light and small as a piece of clothe, instead I am the biggest and tallest one in the class. Whoever first time sees me often guesses I was sixteen years old.
Here is my schedule. My weekdays are full with schooling at a mainstream elementary school. In the evening, after school, the sisters take us to the church for the daily mass. After the holy celebration, I have dinner and then we pray together. At weekend, I join the church’s choir. I am a solo in the choir. I like singing a lot, since I feel wonderful to make this world more musically with my voice. On Sunday, a sister teaches me to play organ. I am taught to appreciate everything I have. I learn to pray for our parents and families, for the sisters and teachers, and especially for donors and supporters who are generously and unconditionally helping us with daily expenses, accommodation, food, and tuition.
I am aware that I should behave and study well to pay benefactors’ love and care, particularly the care of Siters, teachers, Father President and BVCF board of directors, donors all over the world. I will never forget the generosity of those who have been supporting the sisters to raise me up. I will take advantage of your kindness to study and practice with all my best. This year the facility is rebuilt and enlarged. I have a clean and big place to study, sleep, and play. The sisters teach me that all things I receive are from good people. I believe that you are building my strenght and giving me bright eyes of love, and firm feet of belief so that I will be able to enter the world with joy and confidence. Thank you very much for your unconditional kindness. To whom I have not met personally, I would like to extend my grateful greetings to you and to promise that I will live a joyful and useful life to pay your love.
With my sincere gratitude,
In Mekong Delta surrounding by waters, there is an area known by very few people, but this is a place for dream sprouting, the dreams that seem too far away, but these could be come true because of the hands and hearts of all benefactors through the Blind Vietnamese Children Foundation. That is the Vi Thuy Home for the Blind, brings a brighter future for children with vision impairment in rural areas, including those from Kh’Mer minority people.
In 2005, the Thu Duc Congregation fo Lovers of the Holy Cross has extablished this Home to serve children with vision impairment, even though there is only a small ruined house. When Father Thuan Hoang, the Director of BVCF, visited Vi Thuy the first time, he himself had to sleep in a mat on the soil ground. At that time, the roads in villages have not made, so he has to visit blind children’s families by a small boat that had enough place only for people sitting closely. However, because he saw poor life conditions of blind blind children families, he called out for donations from benefactors to help blind children to have anough food to eat and cloths to wear, to have good care and education. For families that were very poors, he also help a small capital so that they can invest in the field to make enough rice or the families. The characteristic of this Home is it has 5 pairs of blood brothers and sisters, that are Giang and Truong from Giong Rieng, Tan and Kien from Soc Trang, Nhu and Tinh from Bac Lieu, Phi and Yen from Cau Mong, Phu Quy and Phu Quy from Kien Giang, Tran is by herself but as other children, she loves everyone as in her own blood family.
This year, with the support of BVCF, Vi Thuy Home for the Blind is building a new one-floor house to provide better facilities for the children, so that they will no longer be very hot by the sunshine and be wet by the rain. The building is in its process but it goes slowly because of limited budget. We are hoping that the Home will continue to receive donations from benefactors to be completed to welcome more blind children in the new school year. Surely when blind children live in this new house, they will not forget to thank the benefactors and keep everyone in their daily prayers.
Appreciation Words from A Student of Vi Thuy Home for The Blind
From Saigon, along National Road I, directly toward Can Tho Bridge’s west side, is the border of Hau Giang province. From the greeting gate of Hau Giang territory, continuing to travel futher 50 more kilometers, passengers will approach Vi Thuy town of Hau Giang, where we live and study in a full of love home. It is Vi Thuy Home for the Blind, a sub-branch of Nhat Hong Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
I am Le Van Giang. I am 16 years of age. I do not know exactly since when I become visually impaired. I hear from my parents that I was born with blindness. My family is currently living in Rong Gieng – Kien Giang Province. My parents have three children. I have one older sister. She was a nine grader last school year, and now she is no longer in school because my parents cannot afford her schooling. If she continued her education as a ten grader, she had to travel very far from home. The distance cannot be reached by bicycle.
I have a younger brother. His name is Le Van Truong. My brother also has congenital visual impairment like mine, but he has additional disabilities. When he was staying with my parents, his muscle was weak and body was skinny, he could not stand upright and walked. When he needed to move, he had to drag his legs hardly. In recent years, thanks to the sisters of Vi Thuy Home for the Blind who took him in their home, and with the support of BVCF, he is taken good care and rehabilitated well. He now can walk rather normally, scoop food and dress up by himself, talk more, tell stories, and communicate with other people friendly. Every day, the sisters help him stretch his muscle and massage his arms and legs so that his arms and legs are strengthened, as well his touching sense can be developed to help him learn about the surrounding more easily and learn to do basic personal things by himself. Beside that, Truong also have orientation and mobility lessons so that he can move around independently. Along with other young peers in this home, Truong is learning Braille, singing with fun. Thanks to these learning activities, Truong is developing and making good progress.
For me, I have been living in this house for nine years. The sisters has been assisted me and given me good opportunities to study. I am in seven grade of Nguyen Quoc Tri middle school. I have classes every day in the afternoon, and classes whole three days in a week. The sister takes me to and from school by motorbike. I always try to be good at school because I am well aware that to have today condition of living and studying, many generous individuals sacrify for me. Thanks to the awareness, I always get good standing at all school years.
After school and self studying hours, I help the sisters teach young friends Braille writing and reading, and mathematic with Soroban. On Sunday I take time to study how to play the organ. Now I can play many songs, thus I feel happy and I will try to spend more time on studying more.
After school, I usually go to the church to attend the daily mass to thank God for blessing us a peaceful and healthy day. I am taught to pray for benefactors and donors around the world who have been giving us this advantage condition. In the evening, other students and I finish our day with the liturgical hour and rosary recitation with the sisters. Then I prepare materials for the next day school before going to bed. I try my best in learning to become good person, be useful to myself and to family. My dream is to help young students study well. May Our Lord bless all benefactors and donors with His warm love and care.