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.