Sunday, June 28, 2009

How times change ………….

On a visit to see Quan a couple of years ago, I met an elderly lady who was a regular visitor and a friend of his. She used to sit with him sometimes to keep him company, help while away the many hours (and years) he sat in his family home with nothing to do. During our visit she signalled to me with outstretched hands, and tears in her eyes, miming the tragedy of this young boy she knew. It was very sad.

You can imagine my delight when I received this photo from Jim. I immediately recognised the elderly neighbour, but this time I didn’t recognise the expression on her face. There is no sympathy to be seen, you can clearly see the happy respect she shows Quan as she meets with him when he returns to his village for a visit.

(I might add that he was a passenger on a motorbike, hence the helmet .... he wasn’t driving! :)

That sad young man is now a distant memory. Quan is a respected member of the community, even somewhat of a celebrity, they love it when he comes home for a visit.

The local youngsters are quite intrigued, they all know Quan, he’s the blind guy who was given an opportunity to go to Hanoi. He's the guy who studied hard, worked hard and got himself a life!
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If you would like to read the full story of Quan's journey simply follow the link: http://www.accv.net.au/18.html
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There are many other young Quans out there waiting for a similar opportunity. We are hoping to raise the funds to run a few more courses for blind students this year.
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We greatly appreciate every donation, it is simply not possible for us to run the courses without your help.

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Kind Regards
Alison & Rose

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(please send us a quick email if you make a donation so that we can acknowledge your kindness - thank you)
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Friday, June 12, 2009

Where words fail, music speaks ....

When Rose and I were in Hanoi we spent some time at another Blind Association where we are hoping to establish a massage course for ten young blind people, similar to the course we ran for Quan and the other students back in 2007.

This particular Blind Association is located in a very old concrete building, three or four stories tall, a bit like a hospital or school you would see in an old movie.

While we were discussing the basics for running a course with the executives of the Blind Association we could hear the most beautiful music wafting through the building. It was quite distracting. At one point I interrupted the meeting to ask where the sound was coming from. We were told that a number of local young blind members of the association like to get together and have a bit of a music session.

We were lucky enough to be treated to an impromptu concert. This amazing voice belongs to a lovely young blind girl named Sen, she is hoping to be a student of the next ACCV massage course.

Take a minute and have a listen to this young lady’s voice …… the words may be Vietnamese, but the sound of music is definitely universal.

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It really struck me how these guys are no different to any other group of teenagers, they have great fun just hanging out and making music together.

They are also very keen to have the opportunity to train as massage therapists so that they can make a living and build a better life for themselves.

Hopefully ACCV will be able to help them.


Kind Regards

Alison & Rose

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Different worlds……..

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We have been providing Braille boards for the blind students of the Hanoi high school I have previously mentioned. We recently had a new batch to deliver but we decided that before we took the Braille boards in we would show them to Brian's young students and let them have a bit of a play and an impromptu Braille lesson.

It’s always nice to spend time at Brian’s school, the children are great and they’re always happy to say hello to us and to spend a bit of time with Dat and listen to what he has to say. They come from a very different world to the kids we usually deal with, but they’re just as delightful and they are very keen to hear about their poorer, blind counterparts. With Brian as their teacher they have learnt that there is a bigger, poorer world out there.

Another thing they learnt is that Braille is certainly not as easy as it looks.


Firstly, to read Braille, you run your fingertips across the page from left to right, feeling the raised bumps that have been imprinted onto the page by a small, sharp device called a stylus. Each letter is a combination of dots placed within a cell (somewhat like a domino) with separate arrangements to denote spaces, capitals etc.

However, to WRITE Braille you must produce the letters across the page from right to left and completely in reverse!

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Dat was in his element as teacher, he loved having the students surround him as he taught and marked their work. Teacher Brian was also a diligent student, trying so hard to learn his letters well!


We really had a lot of fun and the students had a new respect for their blind counterparts at the end of the lesson!

They also enjoyed catching up with Rose and her sour lollies!


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The next day the Braille boards were duly delivered to some very grateful young blind teenagers in Hanoi …….. but that’s a story for another day!


Kind Regards

Alison & Rose


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