Thursday, February 14, 2008

Abilites Not Disabilities

At Reaching Out we are learning more than we are contributing. We are continously surprised at the level of sophistication of Binh and Quyen's management style. They have created an example for the world of how encouragement, empowerment, acceptance, strength,determination and love can transform lives.
Our new friends have shown us that by focusing on our skills and abilities, we are able to accomplish great things. The deaf are not distracted and therefore work with incredible focus on stitchery, beading, embroidery, metal work. The intensity of their concentration allows them to produce works of art with speed. The mobility impaired also seem capable of unwavering focus.

One is taken by their obvious pride and satisfaction in creating beautiful works of art. They express themselves through their work, whether Down Syndrome or physically disabled from the effects of Agent Orange as are young Nguyen and Dung (pronounced Yoom), the young men pictured above on their crutches. We are trying not to have favourites, but as you can imagine Bruce is particulary drawn to Nguyen and Dung whose parents were guerillas in the mountains during the war and obviously were exposed to the chemical. Nyguen will soon marry a young woman who also woks at RO.
Most importantly, everyone here is living independently and sometimes supporting a family with the fair wages that they are earning. Benefits include health insurance, training, a loan program for bicycles, motor bikes etc.

Hoa Nhap, the Vietnamese name for the store and workshop, means "integration".....a mission that is being achieved here in the heart of Hoi An....the real heart!

The legacy of the scholarships which we presented from Canada will support more " other abled"people to transform their lives. Thank you,thank you!!

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