WBU-AP(Junior Group) Fine work
“BRAILLE - THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE”
Vietnam Le Van Tung(23/male)
I was born in a farming family in the Ho Son Commune of Tam Dao District, Vinh Phuc Province, Vietnam. It was a peaceful countryside settlement with many tourist spots such as the Tam Dao Mountain and the Tay Thien Temple.
My appearance in this world brought much joy to my parents because I was the result of their love for over a period of seven years. However, when I was five, my parents noticed that my eyes were not similar to those of other children. So they took me to the National Eye Hospital for treatment. The doctor concluded that I was suffering from Retinosis Myopia and Astigmatism and that these conditions had been with me from birth. My mother cried a lot and put the blame on cruel fate.
Nevertheless, every day my family, friends and teachers would encourage me not to give up schooling. At school I found great difficulty in reading and writing as the words on the board and in textbooks gradually became dimmer and dimmer. After completing the junior level in secondary education, I had no choice but to leave everything - school, teachers and friends; with them went my unfulfilled dreams.
I was greatly disappointed, discouraged and felt that I had reached an impasse in my life. I asked myself why other people could see but not me. I could sense that my parents were silently swallowing their pain for my unfortunate life.
I prayed to heaven to have compassion on me; I refused to collapse in spite of my sorrow and frustrations. Then, one day, on a sweltering summer day in May 2005, the local authority introduced me to the Centre for Education and Vocational Training for the Blind. The Centre was run by the Blind Association of Vinh Phuc Province.
This was the first time I had left my parents to start leading an independent life. I felt timid and hesitant and I was unsure of myself. After some time, however, I was able to overcome these negative feelings because of the love and help extended to me by the officers and by the blind residents at the Centre. Eventually, I got used to the new life and I was able to be integrated into the community.
I was given the opportunity to undergo training in Massage. Then I was exposed to Braille which surprised me very much indeed - with only six tiny dots, and through the sense of touch in my fingers, it amazed me to discover that I could write down my thoughts and read about many ideas in books. I took advantage of the free time during Massage classes to pursue my studies in Braille. My patience and pains-taking efforts were rewarded with the opening of the door for me to new pleasures and excitement.
The first book I enjoyed reading very much was entitled "Mirrors of Disabled Persons in the World". Like the main character in the book, I learned to understand that the beauty of a person shows out best when he puts in 100 percent of his time and energy to overcome the adversities of his fate.
After completing the Massage course, the Blind Association of Vinh Phuc Province introduced me to the Rehabilitation Centre for the Blind in Hanoi. At this Centre, I was given training to be a resource teacher by undergoing the M1, M2 and Rehabilitation Programme. Once again I concentrated hard on my studies and I obtained excellent results. And so after the training, I was given the opportunity to be a teacher at the Centre.
Indeed, I was very happy to be working for the Blind Association of Vinh Phuc Province at their Centre for Education and Vocational Training. It gave me much satisfaction to be able to pass on knowledge and information to the students who had been so unlucky to have been born blind. I cherished the hope that in the near future, we would be able to bring the benefits of Braille to all the countryside and remote regions of Vietnam. Truly, I know that Braille can help to light up the life of a blind person. Through Braille, they can gain access to information technology which would enable them to obtain materials both for study and for teaching.
In appreciation of my effort and contributions, my Association sent me for further training in Braille production at the VBA Headquarters under the sponsorship of the NPO Minzoku Forum of Japan. Here I was provided training on how to use the Braille printer together with the computer. On completing the programme, I returned to the Centre for Education and Vocational Training where I was able to start the Braille Production Service. I helped to organise the work in the transcription of many books from print to Braille. They included textbooks, story-books for children, and office documents.
Now as I look back on the difficulties and hardships I had been facing over the years, I am fully aware that I could not have overcome all these challenges without Braille and without the assistance given to me by my Association. I would surely have "died" due to the lack of knowledge and information.
I am truly thankful to Louis Braille who, with the invention of the six-dot system, had made available the magic light in my life.