WBU-AP(Junior Group) Excellent Work
Changing What It Means To Be Blind
Vietnam Nguyen Van Chung (19/Male)

It had the power to pull me out of despair; it led me out of darkness and showed me the light of my soul; indeed, it has given me a lot of good things to cherish.

What is this miraculous thing of which I am talking about? Well, it is Braille! Yes, it was Braille that helped to get me out of the darkest days of my life.

According to Asian belief, I was an unlucky child because I was born blind. Truly, my life was an endless dark tunnel with no hope in sight.

I had a strong desire to go to school like other children. However, my desire was thwarted and only darkness and despair kept obstructing my path. When I was in my darkest moment, a light began to flicker; then suddenly, something beautiful and pleasureable occurred - in a flash, my chance to learn Braille appeared in front of me. The moment of revelation was in June, 1999. it was truly a great turning point in my life - Braille had come to change me, to change the way I lived, to nourish my dreams and turn them into reality.

I could not believe it - I was enamoured with these tiny dots called Braille; they became my tools for learning. After a short while, I was able to read and write Braille proficiently. It enabled me to gain access to all kinds of books in Braille. Through these books, I came to know about the activities of the Blind Association and to learn about other blind people who had overcome their fate of blindness so that they could live a normal life and contribute to society. These good living examples brought me much courage, strength and determination to have faith in my own abilities to overcome the many difficulties arising from my blindness.

At long last, Braille had made my dream of going to school come true. I began to attend the public school with other sighted students in my home-town. Gradually, I got to learn how to look at myself positively and this enabled me to change the perception and the attitude of the people and friends towards me.

As a result, I proved to be an excellent student and I won many worthy awards. I got the first prize for Chemistry in Grade Nine at the district level. Then I won the second prize for History at Grade 11 and 12 in the provincial level examination.

I took part in many conferences and congresses from the district to the provincial level and I delivered many speeches. Indeed, instead of pity, I had now gained much respect and honour from the people and friends around me. Indeed, it gave me such great happiness when in 2008, I got the first prize in the contest on "How to Read and Write Braille Quickly". It was a very great moment for me when I stepped forward to receive the Certificate of Merit Award from the Vietnam Blind Association - I felt such pride and wonderful joy!

However, the greatest moment in my life came when I had the chance to meet the President of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Triet. The Braille books which he gave me have been a great source of motivation for me. When I read the books, they fill me with such courage to continue in my struggle to overcome the challenges and difficulties in my life.

Thus, Braille had helped to dispel all the dark and negative thoughts about myself so I could become a useful person to my family and to society. This belief became even more intense, when I was able to use Braille with computer technology to take up social work studies at the Hue Science University. Not only could I get more information but I was now also able to share this information by communication with other people through the Internet.

With the introduction of other audio devices, I was inspired to compose poetry and I learned to appreciate musicc. The White Cane further boosted up my self-confidence by enabling me to walk independently, thereby greatly reducing my dependence on other people when I needed to move from place to place.

Therefore, thanks to Braille, audio devices and the White Cane, my feelings of inferiority complex have disappeared! They have empowered me so that I can return the love that I have received and I believe I will be able to achieve much more in life so that my parents, teachers and friends will always be proud of me.


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