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Published: September 13th 2009
Almost without fail, the first arrival every morning at the Lifestart Foundation Workshop is Nghe. When asked why she generally rolls up to the workroom at least fifteen minutes before production starts - no matter what the weather - she answers simply: “I'm afraid of being late and missing out on some time with the group”. The benefits of the camaraderie Nghe and her group members have developed at least equal any financial rewards their efforts may produce.
Born into a poor farming family, Nghe contracted polio at the age of five and from that age began walking with her hands. When she was ten she attempted to go to school but, despite her enthusiasm, the distance was too far to traverse using her hands. This was only means of movement she had. Undaunted, she learnt to read and write a little at home. By the age of eighteen, she was managing to help her mother by shuffling short distances around her house using a crutch. At 23, Nghe finally had medical treatment but six months of hospitalization produced little improvement in her condition. The failed operation may have caused some to give up - but not
Nghe pictured on the left, making beautiful note cards.
Nghe. She opened a small stall but with her disability found that she was unable to compete with more able-bodied stallholders.
Next she tried to find paid work. “I was willing to do anything”, she says, but she failed to get regular work and could not continue with these endeavors. So now she lives with her father and youngest brother's family and sees her involvement with the Lifestart Foundation Workshop as a way to ease the financial pressures her living there creates. Nghe is much loved and fortunate to have a devoted family. Her younger brother is extremely supportive of Lifestart Foundation's work in Hoi An and is very grateful for the help we have been able to offer his sister.
Like so many, Nghe's lifeline is the three-wheel motorbike provided by Lifestyle Foundation. Initially her only means of movement was by squatting and propelling her feet by her hands. The immensely tiring effort of doing this had rendered her virtually housebound. Later on, a three wheeled mechanical, push-pull bike gave her greater mobility. Now with her new three wheel motorbike she says she can go anywhere and do the things she needs to and wants
NGHE & PHUC
Lifestart Foundation paid for both Nghe and Phuc to learn embroidery.
to. For instance, last year for eight months she was able to study embroidery in town. Previously, travelling into town daily would have been an exhausting task. Nghe has recently had an operation funded by Lifestart. All is well and she has made a speedy recovery.In fact, she was back at the workshop probably sooner than she should have been. The first few days back at workshop she wasn't well enough to make her bookmarks but was happy to be back as part of the group.
In addition to making her Buddha Coin Bookmarks that are selling like "hot cakes", Nghe joins Luong and Hoa in making embroidery cards that are proudly for sale in the Lifestart Foundation Workshop.
It is not hard to imagine just how much Nghe's life has changed. Each day looks a lot brighter now. Sales from Nghe's cards and bookmarks in the workshop have the potential to provide her with a sustainable income stream, something that after all of the disappointments she has faced in life she never would have thought possible.
Visiting Vietnam??? Please pay a visit to the first not for profit shop in Hoi An. The
Nghe's father proudly watches his daughter work.
Lifestart Foundation Workshop is located at Viettown,127 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoi An. Nghe and the ladies are always delighted to welcome visitors.
If you missed the blog about the Lifestart Foundation Workshop click here... The Workshop: Take 3!
Interested to read more about this inspiring group of people? click here to read the Memory Portrait blog... Memory Portraits: Vietnam
Lots of Love from Karen.
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Visit us at: LIFESTART FOUNDATION WORKSHOP
127 Phan Chu Trinh Street,
Hoi An, Vietnam.
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