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French photographer helps VN’s disadvantaged children

Update: October, 06/2016 - 15:35
Atmospheric: Man on the Mekong is on display at the exhibit. — Photo by Emilia Jacotin
Viet Nam News

After an unexpected meeting with the administrator of the Bretagne-Vietnam Association in Huế city, a young French photographer committed to help disadvantaged children in Việt Nam by offering them half of her photo proceeds and sponsoring a child living in Huế city.

 by Bạch Liên

Smiles can connect people together.

For French photographer Emilia Jacotin, the smiles and generosity of Vietnamese people deeply touched her and kept her connected to Việt Nam much longer than she first planned.

The 21-year-old woman spent one month travelling throughout Việt Nam in March to take photos of local inhabitants and landscapes that deeply amazed her.  

One day, when she was visiting a clothes shop in Huế city, she had a chance meeting with Joseph Robino, administrator of Bretagne-Vietnam Association, who came to Việt Nam from France for a mission trip.

“To my big surprise, he comes from Louannec, a neighbouring city of Trégastel city where I’ve spent my vacation every year since I was born,” she recalls with a smile.

Lifeways: A mother brings her daughter home from school in Sóc Trăng, south Việt Nam. — Photo by Emilia Jacotin

Robino talked to her about the humanitarian projects of the association in central Thừa Thiên Huế province to help disadvantaged families in Thừa Thiên Huế province since 1990.  The association offers medical and educational support for disabled children and families in need, and contributes to economic development through the support of family agricultural projects.

Following this unexpected meeting, she began to think of contributing to help Việt Nam’s disadvantaged children.

“Back in France, I’ve always remembered this encounter. And the idea to help this association with my photos gradually materialised,” she said.

Benefactor: The young French photographer Emilia Jacotin. — Photo courtesy of Emilia Jacotin

Exhibition “Faces of Việt Nam”

Back home in France, she organised a photo exhibition in August showcasing her 25 most beautiful photo portraits of Vietnamese people from among thousands of photos she took during her trip.

The exhibition was held in Trégastel city in the Brittany region of western France. It attracted lot of people.  Many were amazed to discover and rediscover Việt Nam.

“With this exhibition, I wanted to share my impressions about the trip with the public. The exhibition had a surprising big success. Some of the visitors to the exhibition had already come to Việt Nam previously. Many told me they lived a lot of emotions and memories about the country again on seeing the photos. It was very nice to see my photos evoke such strong emotions,” said the young woman who lives in Paris now.

Jacotin then sold her photos and donated half of the proceeds to help the Association Bretagne-Vietnam.

“Emilia was touched by our projects, and in particular the projects helping children go to school. We want to thank her deeply for her generosity. It was really kind of her,” said Joseph Robino.

“It is the first time that an artist has offered our Association part of her photo proceeds,” Robino said. 

Opening: Emilia Jacotin (third from right) poses with members of her family and of the Bretagne-Vietnam Association at the opening of her photo exhibition Faces of Việt Nam. The opening took place in the Brittany region of France in August. — Photo courtesy of Bretagne-Vietnam Association

To continue to help disadvantaged children in Việt Nam, Jacotin also decided to sponsor a child from Kim Long Ward in Huế city to ensure that he can go to school until the age of 18.

“I find it very good. By deciding this, she will keep contact with the Việt Nam that enchanted her. She will be happy to receive news of her godson often. I think this will be a very good reason for her to come back to Việt Nam,” said Robino. 

Sense of place: A Jacotin photo on display at the exhibit. — Photo by Emilia Jacotin

For Jacotin, Việt Nam has been an unforgettable experience.   

“This country does not leave me indifferent, because of its beauty but especially because of the beauty of the inhabitants,” she said.

“The daily life of the Vietnamese is really physically challenging. Many jobs require them to carry very heavy things, while the climate does not facilitate the task because it is hot and wet.

“But Vietnamese smiles abound. I discovered their true generosity. I wish I could have stayed there longer. 

“Let’s say that this trip gave me a taste of the discovery of life,” she said. — VNS



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