Lê Thị Thanh Nhàn (right) talks with one of her disabled partners. Photo nhandan.com.vn
HUẾ CITY – Lying peacefully on a small lane of Huế City is a house filled with lovely paper flowers and charming recycled old items.
Lavin Home is a peaceful place that houses the young dreams of Lê Thị Thanh Nhàn, 28, and her special partners, to preserve the beauty of flowers.
At Lavin Home, the atmosphere is cool and fresh amid the peaceful sounds of the small green garden.
Nhàn, the owner of a paper flower house, brings visitors a feeling of closeness, lightness and purity.
After graduating a university of foreign languages six years ago, Nhàn worked in restaurants and tourism firms where she had opportunities to talk with foreign tourists. That helped the young girl enrich her knowledge and experience.
Nhàn has had a special love for flowers since childhood.
"When I saw flowers, I stood in amazement, forgetting everything else. It is like being mesmerised by the best moment of each flower when it was blooming", Nhàn told Nhân Dân (The People) newspaper.
Her love of flowers increased year by year and motivated her to find ways to preserve the beauty of flowers.
Then, Nhàn started to learn how to make paper flowers.
After years of accumulating experience to make good products that were popular among customers, Nhàn decided to quit her job to chase her paper flower making dream.
In 2018, her dream came true when the Huế girl found an old house in a small lane on Lê Ngô Cát Street.
"As soon as I saw the house, I felt very close and decided to choose it although it looked very old and messy,” Nhàn recalled.
Nhàn and her family and friends quickly started renovations for the house and surrounding area to turn it into today's Lavin Home.
“'La' stands for Lavender, the flower I most love, I always dream about it, and 'vin' means vintage, a style I want to be,” she said.
So Lavin Home was born, she said.
With the slogan 'Bring soul to paper', Nhàn makes each flower not just the same as a real flower but also puts her mind and spirit into the flowers, making the pieces of paper come alive.
“To make lively paper flowers, the makers needed to understand the characteristics of each flower,” Nhàn said.
Along with making paper flowers, Nhàn and her partners also produce other items from recycled materials such as glass vases.
At Lavin Home, visitors can enjoy the free library and make cups of flower tea.
As well as starting up a business originating from her love of flowers, Nhàn also brought her dream to the community through the activities Lavin Home hosts.
Most of the partners coming to Nhàn are young people with disabilities.
Two of them are young girls suffering from osteomyelitis and some others cannot hear and speak.
The girls with osteomyelitis make flowers at home and their products are sent to Lanvin Home for sale, said Nhàn.
And the other disabled people can come to the house to learn how to make flowers and join community activities, she said.
Trần Thị Mỹ Phượng, 25, has a hearing and speaking impairment and has been in Huế City for nine years.
Before meeting Nhàn, Phượng faced many difficulties in her life.
“I worked many kinds of jobs. But they were so boring and brought low income. I had few friends and colleagues,” Phượng said.
"Since working with Nhàn, I can earn VNĐ3 million (US$130) per month which helped me to cover my daily life and save some to send to my parents in my hometown,” Phượng said.
“At Lanvin Home, I feel at home because I meet many people in the same situation,” Phượng said.
“Nhàn also encouraged me to teach sign language to others. I found myself useful,” she said.
Lavin Home holds workshops on flower decoration, making paper flowers and learning sign language.
The activities have made Lanvin Home a destination not only for Huế people but also tourists.
"I was very worried when Nhàn decided to quit her job to pursue this dream,” said Lộc, Nhàn’s mother.
“But I always supported her. And witnessing what she was doing, I was so happy,” the mother said.
It's impressive that despite all the hustle and bustle of modern life, young people like Lê Thị Thanh Nhàn and her special partners have managed to carve out a peaceful old place like Lavin Home. – VNS