HCMC – The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people across the country. For Nguyen Van Vong, who’s disabled, life has become even harder.
Vong, 32, suffered from polio when he was nine years old, leading to muscular deficiency and the inability to move. His father died when Vong was a little boy, so his mother was the only one taking care of him.
Due to poor health and financial hardships, it took Vong 16 years to finish his primary and high school education and enter university.
Thanks to scholarships from the Saigon Times Foundation and Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC, as well as his own determination and support from his mother, teachers and classmates, Vong graduated from the Information Technology Faculty at Vinh University.
After graduation, Vong and his mother moved to HCMC to find jobs and are currently living in an old, tiny rented room in District 3.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Vong worked as an admin for a vegetarian cuisine fanpage on Facebook and then as an accountant for a company in the city, while his mother collected scrap and did household chores for other families to make ends meet. She also took Vong to work on his wheelchair every day.
However, since the pandemic broke out, followed by social distancing and lockdowns, Vong lost his job, while his mother has not been able to collect scrap and do household chores for other families. Since then, his life has become much harder, forcing them to mainly rely on support from charities.
Not to be bogged down, Vong used the social distancing period to improve his skills through courses on websites and YouTube. He is currently looking for a job in the information technology sector, or as a copywriter for Facebook fan pages and websites.
Besides, Vong is also learning English to improve his capacity and apply for the Australia Awards Scholarships, which require IELTS 5.0, with no skill under 4.5.
Vong is unable to pay the tuition fee so he has to learn English by himself at home. He said he struggles with speaking the language as he has no one to practice with. With just around two months until his IELTS test, Vong is urgently looking for someone to help him with his English-speaking skills.
Meanwhile, things don’t look good for Vong on the health front either. He recently suffered from kidney stones but cannot afford the treatment fees.
“One of the biggest challenges for people with disabilities in Vietnam is that most public services and infrastructure are not disabled-friendly. Buses have no facilities for people with disabilities, while pavements, schools and buildings have no entrances especially designed for people like us,” Vong said, adding, “I hope the Vietnamese Government will focus more on developing services and infrastructure for people with disabilities.”
Despite the numerous difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as his poor health and financial hardships, Vong has never given up on his dreams, attributing his mother’s sacrifices for him as his primary motivation.
Besides finding a suitable job, winning the Australia Awards Scholarships and improving his health, Vong said his biggest dream is to establish a company that employs people with disabilities, so that people like him can find suitable jobs despite their physical and mental condition.
If you’d like to support Vong, please send your contributions to: Nguyen Van Vong
Phone number: 0973 140 284
Address: No. 60/69 Ly Chinh Thang Street, Vo Thi Sau Ward, District 3, HCMC