"The White Cane Day" was held with the slogan "Happy Walking with The White Cane" from 8 to 10:45 AM on Saturday, 10/19/13 at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities' courtyard located in Linh Trung, Thu Duc district, Ho Chi Minh City. This was the Third White Cane Day celebration in Viet Nam. Participating in the celebration werre 50 visually impaired youths and staff representatives of Nhat Hong Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Thien An Warm Shelter for the Blind, a reporter from Saigon Times Media, a professor from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities and about 200 students of the Social Workers Department of this university.
"The White Cane Day" is celebrated annually, on October 15, in many countries around the world to raise awareness to the public about vision loss, and the role of the white cane play in the daily life of the visually impaired people. "The White Cane Day" began to celebrate in Viet Nam in 2011. It was an effort and wish of a former orientation and mobility specialist, Le Dan Bach Viet, who passed away in January 2011. Mr Bach Viet, who was also visually impaired, told a story regarding two of his former students who visited him from the Western Area on Teacher's Day were killed when hit by an automobile because they did not use the cane and did not have orientation and mobility lessons. For people with visual impairment, the white cane is not only use as a safety and orientation and mobility device but also provide companionship and an identity. As Thi Bich Tien, a 15 years old student of Nhat Hong, stated: "The white cane is a close friend of the visually impaired. Not only does it assists the visually impaired in safety and effectively orienting the surrounding, but also it is an identification to let the sighted of the white cane holder's disability." Another student, the white cane is a source of confidence, stated: "I was too shy to use the white long cane because I did not want to be stigmatized as "weird", or sometime pedestrians bumped into me or step on my feet, or sometime they even raised their voice and cursed. But, since, I have learned how to use the cane, I feel more confident and no longer the sighted pedestrians complain about my walking."
Such awareness event is made possible by generous donations from BVCF and Globalgiving. Your donation, during this holiday season, will be able to provide a student like Thi Bich Tien and her friends a sense of companionship, identity, and confident.
Today, I would like to share my good news with everyone, including those love me, those that either are very familiar to me or have not known me yet, people whom I just met once or even I have never had an oppotunity to meet face to face.
Until today, I certainly believe that I passed the college entrance exam. Although I have known my scores with uncertainty, my heart is filled with happiness when I received the statement from the school to inform my success. A former failure, a period of sickness, and difficulties from the daily life caused me stress, during the past year, especially when I was preparing for the exam and then waiting for the result. I was afraid that would fail again and disappoint my beloved family, caregivers and friends. As well, I was fearful that I would never go back to school. Nevertheless, the total score of 15.5 for three subjects that is not very high but helps me feels relieve my last-days-pressure and nerves.
For others, to pass the college entrance exam may be usual. With my family, it is a big deal for an unhealthy and not good standing daughter to get into college. When I initially informed my good news to my family by phone, my father laughed soundly, my mother kept asking, and siblings continued interrupting our conversation. The news was so good that everyone in my family appeared to forget the fact that I used to fail and they could not stop praising me. In reality, my family plays a role as a firmly spiritual force that I can lean on. The nuns, who I call "moms", are my real supporters and in company with me. Daily, they assist me with my own struggles. Like a family, these religious sisters always take good care of me, from big to tiny problems and from general to private matters. How they could be worried when I received the school's statement regarding the exam coincide on the same day I got my one eye - my soul's window - removed, I was still not recovering from the operation whien I started studying again. All my important changes and decisions are under the supervision of these beloved "moms". Now that my studying journey turns to a new turning point, I know that there will be a heavier burden on these warm hearted sisters' shoulders. My family and I do not know what to say except expressing two words "THANK YOU" and engraving on our hearts their decication. Also, I come to this step thanks to the support of many benefactors (Globalgivings and BVCF). Although, these benefactors do not take care of me directly. They have been accompanying the sisters on this journey of taking care of me and my friends.
The future is still a long run, and my dream is still ahead. I know that I will stumble over obstacles, or even fall, but I will never stop fighting and overcoming my difficulties because of my own future and those who love me. Once again, in order to end this sharing, I would like to say "THANK YOU" to all individuals who help me to reach this dream.
Do Thi Bon(8/15/1989) comes from Ha Dong, Lam Dong. Bon has been living in Nhat Hong WarmShelter since 2003. She passed the university entrance exam of Kindergarten College Central
Le Thi Nhung was born (07/08/1989) blind and grew up in Tan Phu, Tay Ninh. Since 2009, Nhung and her older sister started living in Nhat Hong Warm Shelter. Nhung got accepted to attend University of Pedagogy, Special Education Program.
In Viet Nam, going to school is a dream for many and going to college is even a bigger dream, especially to those whose are poor and/or disabled. I, a girl with visual impairment coming from a poor family, have been very fortunate to be able to attend college. Thanks to the loving care and support of many people. I know that attending college will be filling with difficulties and challenges. For instance, materials for visually impaired students are limited or not available. Furthermore, during lecture, I can only listen to the lecture while the nun takes notes for me. However, I feel very blessed and humble to have this opportunity.
When I was growing up, though my family was very poor, I had always lived in happiness and under the loving care of my parents. When I went to school, I received a lot of warm, love and care from the teachers and nuns. Due to my loving environments, from home and school, I have not known the concept of sadness and loneliness. In other words, I am always happy. In addition, I do not know the concept of separation because I have always been surrounded by the love of my parents, friends, nuns, teachers and benefactors (such as BVCF and, now, Globalgivings). Finally, happiness, to me, means having someone walking along with me in time of difficulties.
Since last report, BVCF has been recognized by San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City Sister City Committee for services provide to the blind children in Viet Nam...
Lan Anh was born blind fourteen years ago in the northern part of Viet Nam. She is the oldest of three children. Her younger brother and sister both have normal vision. Her family was very poor and moved to Binh Duong in the southern part of Viet Nam in 2001. It was here that her father found work as a carpenter and her mother found work as a seamstress. It was a neighbor who introduced the family to Nhat Hong School for the Blind in Ho Chi Minh City. Then, Lan Anh was 5 years old. She started learning Braille in kindergarten. Her parents live far away but manage to visit her once a month. Four years ago, she moved to the new Nhat Hong School for the Blind in Tam Hai Thu Duc. She is now in the 9th grade in a regular public school with sighted students. Currently, she is a straight A student. Also, she is a very good singer (please see the video in the link below) and loves to play muscical instruments at school. She is very happy at Nhat Hong School and is very close to her friends there. She is forever grateful to the many nuns, teachers and volunteers who have helped her through the years. Now in conjunction with GlobalGiving Foundation's, her dream to become a teacher for the blind is a step closer to become a reality. As of today, BVCF has raised almost $8,000 for tuition for the blind students like Lan Anh. She is a shinning example of the work of BVCF and GobalGiving Foundation's. We can feel and see the warm and genuine smile on her face.
South East Asia has about 900,000 non-sighted people among the population of 88 million. Blindness or low vision in Vietnam is most often due to a deficiency of nutritious food, vitamin A deficiency, the inappropriate use of medicines, poor hygiene, limited access to eye-care services, premature birth, bombs and Agent Orange during the war, and accidental injuries, among other reasons. The major causes are cataracts (70%), glaucoma, corneal infections, trachoma, childhood blindness (Retinopathy caused by prematurity and cornel scarring), refractive error, retinopathy degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy. Some causes are preventable and treatable. Several Catholic eye doctors and charity groups have participated in blindness prevention projects. The projects include raising social awareness, eye screening, assisting poor people in rural areas to obtain access to eye-care services, cataract surgery, provision of Vitamin A and medicines, and clean water supplies for villages.
During the last twelve years Blind Vietnamese Children Foundation (BVCF) has successfully supported the education and career training for many blind children in several schools and facilities for the blind. Up to this day BVCF has made grants to pay for the tuition for over 310 blind students every year. Dalat Home for the Blind has 41 blind students both in elementary school and in high school and is one of the facilities which has received aid from BVCF. Tuition for each high school student is $250/year; for elementary students, the amount is $150/year. Thanks to the GlobalGiving Foundation’s listing of BVCF on its global fundraising program, donations have increased. In the month of September alone, BVCF was able to raise more than $6,000 for the tuition of these blind children. Thanks to our donors who generously gave to this tuition project.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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