ĐẮK LẮK — Boarding houses in Buôn Ma Thuột have become second homes for many sight-impaired people over the past 10 years in the Central Highland province of Đắk Lắk.
Most of them earn a living from selling small simple goods such as toothpicks, cotton swabs and brooms.
Nguyễn Thế Đức, chairman of the Buôn Ma Thuột City Blind People’s Association, told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the association had 106 members.
Over the years, the association has opened vocational training courses for its members, with massage therapy being prominent among them.
The association has opened 10 massage parlours and created stable jobs for 35 people to date.
Most of them rent boarding houses near each other so they can offer support when necessary. Y Som Niê Hamlet is home to the largest community of people with vision impairment in the area.
Lưu Thị Thương from Krông Năng District is one of them.
Thương got married nearly 10 years ago, and her husband is also sight-impaired. They have to work very hard just to get by.
Everyday, they wander tens of kilometres around different markets to sell toothpicks and cotton swabs.
They start their day at 4am except for when its raining.
Thương said it was very miserable for them during the rainy season because they aren't able to sell anything.
Thương and her husband earn just VNĐ100,000 (US$4.3) per day, and their burden became heavier when they had a baby.
The new mother had to go back to work just 40 days after giving birth, and took her new son with her.
Now their son is in second grade, but at the weekends he acts as a guide for Thương and her husband.
“We try to work hard so that our son can go to school like other kids,” Thương said.
Vi Văn Hàm and Hoàng Thị Thu have also found happiness down the small alley.
They met each other nine years ago at Braille class, and Hàm fell in love with Thu’s voice.
They are both good singers, and use their skills to attract customers to buy their goods.
Now they have two children, who are their motivation in life.
The small alley is home to six blind couples now, and although they live in different conditions, but they are always willing to support each other.
Despite the hard work, they are always optimistic. — VNS