Quyen Nguyen wrote -
Project Vietnam 2012: Moving Individual Perceptions of (Dis)ability in Vietnam
Please take 5 minutes to read our project description:
Saigon/HCMC is one of the epicenters of Viet Nam’s movements. This is a city perpetually animated by tourists and kept alive 24/7 by the hustle and bustle of the country’s most affluent and most deprived. But for all of Saigon’s vibrant representation of Vietnam, the movement of people with disabilities is rarely seen among the city’s streets or its society.
The Vietnamese government estimates that of the 87 million living in Vietnam, more than 5 million are people with disabilities; 150,000 of them are children. Close to 37 percent of adults with disabilities are illiterate. Unemployment among them is in the vicinity of 30 percent and nearly a third of households with family members who are disabled live below the poverty line. These statistics both reflect and explain the dominant attitude towards people with disabilities in Vietnam: one of burden, and dependency.
Our project aims to change this wide misconception. Through leadership workshops as well as movement workshops which here means dancing, singing. using text/art, etc. we are going to:
- Engage mentors (volunteers from colleges) and mentees (local high school students) in leadership exchanges through performance art
- Give people with disabilities a chance to share their stories and be heard
- Strive to create a collective performance at the end of our 2-week project as a proof that movement is possible even for people with disabilities
- Plant seeds to transform the Vietnamese perception of people with disabilities from one of immobility to movement
- Encourage local mentees to continue these objectives with post-SEALNet projects of their own
This project was started as a simple volunteer idea of teaching Vietnamese Agent Orange victims to dance but we decided to expand our scale further to include people with disabilities in general because we believe that everyone of them deserves to be respected, recognized and understood.
We are a completely student-run project and your donations would mean so much to us. Please give - not to us, the organizers of this project - but to the community of people with disabilities in Saigon who would love to have the opportunity to interact with young volunteers and share their stories of hope for the future.
Please give us your support and donate to our cause. A couple of bucks from each of you are going to amount to a meaningful project this summer for people with disabilities in Saigon.
So what are waiting for, please click that orange button and donate!
Project Vietnam 2012 Co-leader
 International Labor Organization. “Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Viet Nam.” July, 2009. <http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_emp/@ifp_skills/documents/publication/wcms_112407.pdf?>