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Published: January 15th 2010
WHAT A SMILE!
Xuyen has plenty to smile about these days despite being blind in one eye and having one leg paralysed.
It has been a long time coming but life is finally sweet!
Can you imagine learning to ride a motorbike for the first time at 60 years old!? Thanks to funding from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, Lifestart Foundation has been able to offer Xuyen, and two other Lifestart Foundation recipients, the opportunity to be truly independent for the first time in their life. The grant from the Australian Embassy in Vietnam was for the purchase of 3 Three Wheeled Motorbikes. Xuyen was one of the recipients of a new Honda three wheeled motorbike. She had her first lesson on Christmas Eve 2009, and although she isn't quite confident enough to drive on the road solo as yet, we are all very excited about the impact that this will have on her life.
Xuyen has always lived in Hoi An. When she was five years old her right leg became paralysed. She doesn't know what caused the paralysis, or remember how it happened, but afterwards she could only move around on her hands and feet. When she was 10 years old her uncle made a crutch for her, which meant that she could at last walk upright again.
She is now able to walk slowly with a crutch, but it's difficult
A NEW THREE WHEELED MOTORBIKE
Thank you to the Australian Embassy in Vietnam for making this possible.
for her to walk far. Although she lives near the centre of Hoi An, she generally relies on her son to give her a lift on his motorbike if she needs to go out. It is tiring and can be painful, if she has to walk any distance on her own.
Xuyen adopted her son, Binh, after he was left in the local hospital by his birth mother. We love that even though Xuyen clearly had enough problems of her own she looked beyond herself and adopted an abandoned baby. She has worked hard to make sure Binh has had a good education. He is now a delightful 28 years old and studying at college. When questioned as to why he was still at college at age 28 (that seemed a little too old) to my suprise the answer was, Binh completed year 12 and then found work and saved enough money to pay for his own college education as he knew that Xuyen would not be able to afford this. It is difficult for Xuyen to find work because of her disability and age - she has had many different jobs such as selling fruit, washing dishes in
A SIMPLE PARTY
Xuyen is pictured enjoying a party at the Lifestart Foundation Workshop on International Disabled Day
restaurants and knitting.
More recently she also became blind in her right eye. Again she doesn't know the cause of the problem and an operation to try to correct the sight problem instead made it worse.
The Lifestart Foundation Workshop has become a great success thanks to the hard work and determination of the ladies already working in the shop as well as our dedicated supporters and volunteers. This has meant that we have been able to invite new members to join the Lifestart Foundation Workshop to train and create new products to make and sell. Xuyen joined the group in October 2009. She quickly showed her talent by knitting sample designs without a pattern. After a few attempts she was able to make egg hats just from looking at a picture.
The knitting work is much less physically tiring for her than some of the other, more manual, work she sometimes has had to do. Xuyen's hope for the future is simply that the income from knitting her products will be enough to provide food for her and her son.
When asked how she feels about being part of the Lifestart workshop with a big
FIRST TWO PRODUCTS
Xuyen proudly shows her first two scarves that are for sale at the workshop. Needless to say that they sold in a second!
smile she says she feels very happy in the workshop and she loves talking to the staff and other members of the group. The other ladies warmly welcomed the newest and proudly oldest member and she quickly showed her enthusiasm and excitement at being part of the group.
We're really happy that Xuyen is already enjoying the companionship and sense of community that comes with being a member of the Lifestart Foundation Workshop, and hope that selling her products will also help her provide a sustainable income to support her and her son.
Sales of her scarves and egg hats are already putting her well on her way to achieving this goal at age 60! and we can only imagine what it must feel like to finally have mobility and independence at this age.
Thank you to all volunteers involved in securing the grant for the three wheeled motorbikes. Mark, Greg and Ken a sincere thank you for your help with this submission and a big thank you to all at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam who made this grant possible. HOW YOU CAN HELP XUYEN
Donations of wool are welcomed. The
Xuyen makes a terrific range of scarves.
wool will be used by Xuyen, Hanh and Luong in the Lifestart Foundation Workshop to make beautiful scarves, shawls and hats. Earth tone colours would be best and we need enough balls to make either a scarf,shawl or hat.
If you are travelling to Vietnam put out a call to all of your friends for donated wool for these ladies.
Lots of Love from
If you'd like to find out more about our work there are some links to some related blogs below. What a difference a 3 Wheeled Motorbike makes Song's New Scooter Nghe's Story Thank you from Hiep Thank you from Menh The Lovely Miss Luong The Lifestart Foundation Workshop
Enjoying the blogs?? Forward them on or subscribe those who you think would be interested in Lifestart Foundations work.......its free!
Visit us at:
LIFESTART FOUNDATION WORKSHOP
127 Phan Chu Trinh Street,
Hoi An, Vietnam VOLUNTEER WISHLIST ESL TEACHERS
Volunteer ESL teacher placements are now being accepted for 2010.
We already have a volunteer ESL teacher for March ... to May 2010. Expression of interest for dates either side of this would be welcome.
We require a one month minimum placement. ART TEACHERS
We are looking for someone with experience in
KNITTED EGG HATS
These cute knitted egg hats are in a set of 4 and sell for $10aud per set add another $10 for postage from Vietnam. The $10 will cover 4 sets. Orders can be placed via this blog.
contemporary product design who could design marketable products and train those with disabilities in Hoi An to produce them to a professional standard. Please have a look at the previous link about the workshop to see what we are already making. SALES & CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF
The Lifestart Foundation Workshop in Hoi An would welcome sales and customer service volunteers.
Expressions of interest can be sent via this blog or email Karen direct firstname.lastname@example.org
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