|Nguyễn Văn Hoàng teaches his student how to mix colour. — VNA/VNS Photo Thu Hoài
HCM CITY — Twice a week, Nguyễn Văn Hoàng travels 20km from District 10 to Hóc Môn District in HCM City to teach disabled children drawing skills.
The 54-year-old has volunteered this way for ten years at the city’s Vocational Training Centre for People with Disabilities and Orphans.
After graduating, Hoàng worked in mechanics for ten years until he realised his real passion was the arts.
He first learned photography to pursue his passion, offering photography services to invest in better cameras and accessories.
Hoàng learned to draw by himself from his passion for photography.
In 2007, he opened his own gallery and met his first drawing student.
“A parent took a disabled child to my gallery and said the family wanted him to learn drawing,” he said.
Hoàng did not hesitate and agreed to teach the deaf and mute child.
“There were lots of difficulties at first. After many years of making efforts, he can draw well and has stayed at my gallery to work.”
This opportunity opened up many others. Hoàng continued to teach other disabled children and was introduced to teaching at HCM City’s Vocational Training Centre for People with Disabilities and Orphans.
“I want to support the less fortunate children so that they feel confident being helpful people,” he told Vietnam News Agency.
“Teaching normal people how to draw is difficult. Teaching disabled children is much more challenging because drawing requires both talent and passion,” he said.
Some students love drawing, while others are there because their health conditions limit their learning skills.
“I used to be a hot-tempered person, was usually discouraged and gave up on what I could not do. Since teaching the children, I have learned to be more patient. I feel I am luckier and happier than many others.”
As well as teaching students, he helps market their drawings to earn them an income.
Their drawings might not always be as good as some of the others, but what is lacking in talent is made up for with love and passion, he said.
During ten years as a drawing teacher, Hoàng had many memories, but the most touching thing is the love of generations of students for him.
“The biggest happiness of a teacher is to witness students grow up. That’s also determination for me to overcome challenges,” he said.
“There were times when I was discouraged. I did not allow myself to do that. The students have physical defects, but their efforts are worthy of respect.”
Hoàng said students taking other classes like sewing or massage would be employed at companies and factories. But it is not easy for drawing students to be employed at the galleries. Students also have to find markets for their products.
“I always think that as long as I am healthy, I will continue to teach children so that they will have jobs and be able to take care of themselves without feeling like a burden to the family and society,” he said.
Lê Thanh Tùng has been paralysed in the legs since an early age and completely depends on a wheelchair to walk.
Having studied with teacher Hoàng for ten years, Tùng said at first, he encountered many difficulties because he did not understand anything about colour and how to draw. However, thanks to the teacher’s instructions, he can now draw better with his paintings being sold in the market.
“I feel happy because I am not a burden to my family and society. I feel more confident. I have taken the course at the centre for a long time because I want to learn more to improve my skills. I also want to support new students with similar circumstances like me,” he said.
Trần Văn Trãi, another disabled student from Tây Ninh Province, said the colourful sketches help him show his voice, emotion and dreams. — VNS