Tiny woman with great heart

Vuong Ut Hau, a frail 40-year-old woman with a tiny body, has struggled her whole her life to stand on her own feet, but she has succeeded and set up a garment workshop to help those with disabilities. 

Vuong Ut Hau in front of her garment workshop in Ha Nam Province (Photo: SGGP)

Her body is small, like that of a three-year-old child, at a height of 60 centimeters and weighing 13.5 kilograms. When she was born, she weighed just 1.2 kilograms.
 
Her parents managed to earn money for her treatment, but it was unsuccessful and she remained weak and her body did not grow.
 
Though unable to go to school like other children, she can compose poems and sing very beautifully. She even won first prize at a poem composition competition held in northern Hoa Binh Province, where she was born, in 1969.
 
 “When I was at working age, I asked my parents to open a tea shop on a roadside for me to run. I told my parents that I wanted to go to school very much but I couldn’t, and they should let me to make my way in the world so that I can know life, feel happy and meaningful to continue to live,” she said.
 
Her tea shop attracted many customers. After a few years, she saved some money.
 
Her life opened a new chapter when she was introduced to live and work at the Humanitarian Education Center in Hanoi in September 2000. This gave her an opportunity to live on her own, and prove her skills and energy.
 
Living with other people with disabilities, including some who shared her situation, she learned many interesting things from life and realized its value.
 
During seven years in the center, she and other disabled children went throughout the country to perform art.
 
Thanks to singing and composing poems, she was elected head of the art performance company.
 
When going to a pagoda in Ha Nam Province in 2008, Hau met an old friend, Pham Xuan Dinh, who helped her set up a garment workshop.
 
With all her savings, she bought six sewing machines and employed four disabled people to open Vang Trang Khuyet garment workshop in northern Ha Nam Province in May 2008.
 
At present, the workshop has 12 workers, and she is planning to employ more to expand production.
 
“To cover the workshop’s costs and develop production, I have to use my relatives’ land-use right certificates to borrow money from banks. I usually ask someone to take me to fairs and festivals to sell souvenirs to earn more money to take care of my disabled staff,” she said.
 
Though difficulties still lie ahead, Hau is very optimistic. She said, “Vang Trang Khuyet (Crescent Moon) refers to disabled destinies here, but it will always have bright hearts. When my heart still beats and my mind still active, Van Trang Khuyet will remain bright.”

By Pham Duc, Van Hai – Translated by Hoang Yen

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