by Phuong Mai
Beauty and determination
Wheelchair-bound Nguyen Thi Aùnh Ngoc won Viet Nam's first beauty pageant for disabled people in Ha Noi last Sunday.
The third-year psychology student at the Ha Noi University of Social Sciences and Humanities read a eulogy she had written about her mother in the talent contest.
The 21-year-old was born with scoliosis, or an abnormal curvature of the spine. At 14 she had a surgery, but not only was it unsuccessful, it also left her unable to walk.
Thanks to her parents' love and her own strong will, she never descended into depression.
She decided to study psychology to heal people's souls.
Ngoc was among the 10 finalists who were united by their extraordinary strength and determination not to bow to fate.
"People's biggest mistake is to throw in the towel," a contestant, Doan Le Thu, said.
Trinh Cong Thanh, an organiser, said seeing the beautifully dressed and confident young women on stage moved him and made him happy.
"Despite their unfortunate situation, they always have a smile on their lips," he said.
He hoped the community would take care of such people and not allow them to lapse into loneliness.
The pageant, aptly called Ve Dep Vang Trang Khuyet (The Beauty of the Crescent Moon), attracted more than 70 contestants aged between 18 and 30 from across the country.
It was organised by the Ha Noi Association of Disabled Young People and others.
Artist helps heroic mothers
Painter Quang Dat will travel through Viet Nam on a Vespa scooter to raise funds for women who were awarded the title of "Viet Nam Heroic Mother" for their contributions to national liberation.
Dat, also a UNESCO ambassador, will leave HCM City on April 30, Liberation Day, and arrive in Ha Noi on July 2.
Stopping in provinces and cities en route, he will auction off T-shirts with images related to heroic mothers and a signature of a famous person as well as souvenirs donated for the cause.
At the end of his trip, he will donate all the money he raises to heroic mothers.
Dat, 58, and his Vespa have travelled across the country to promote traffic safety and to raise funds for needy people.
Last year he made a tour of the country during Liberation Day, visiting and giving gifts to 72 heroic mothers. — VNS