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Agent Orange victim overcomes difficulties to help others

December, 03/2020 – 08:19

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Hoàng Lan Hương learns how to knit by her feet. She is paralysed as a consequence of war, but always leads to a meaningful life. — VNA/VNS Photo Nam Sương

TUYÊN QUANG — Hoàng Lan Hương was born paralysed, has difficulties in speaking and finds it hard to communicate with others.

The only body part she can control is her feet and although she has to use a wheelchair, she hasn’t lost her optimism.

Hương is learning how to write and read, to draw pictures, plant flowers, knit and even use a smartphone by herself.

Trịnh Thị Mùi, Hương’s mother, said she gave birth to her in 1977. She was a cute and healthy baby girl.

However, she didn’t grow up much and was still the size of a three-month-baby when she turned one.

The couple took the baby to the hospital for health a check-up and were informed that the Hương was suffering from exposure to Agent Orange.

Due to her weak health, Hương spent most of her time in her house in Minh Xuân Ward in northern Tuyên Quang Province. She couldn’t speak well, found it hard to communicate and couldn’t move much.

Mùi thought her daughter would live like that for the rest of her life, but Hương had other ideas.

At the age of 10, Hương was able to write on paper by herself.

“We went to the bedroom and saw her write with her feet. There were her names, her age, our names, our ages. They were clear and easy to read,” Mùi said.

Mùi and her husband couldn’t hold back their tears of happiness.

“She learnt it by herself. She learnt it when we helped the children with their studies.”

Hoàng Chất Lượng, Hương’s father, said he used to be a soldier and had been exposed to toxic chemicals sprayed by the US during the war.

Hương is paralysed as a consequence of war.

She can use a smartphone and creates her own Facebook account to socialise with people. 

Since the day Hương showed her ability to write, Lượng has spent part of his monthly allowance to buy books, newspapers, paper and pens for her to study.

Hương became more self-confident and cheerful and started learning how to knit clothes for her mother and younger brother. She also studied how to embroider.

Her biggest embroidery painting is more than a metre long and features a landscape of mountains. She has also learned how to draw pictures and paints the faces of her parents, children and herself.

Mùi said Hương was sometimes so passionate for the work that her legs cramped up, but she would insist on finishing.

Hương has also learned to socialist. She can use the computer, write emails, surf the web and creates her own channels to guide people on how to knit or embroider.

She posts photos of her products on Facebook and her paintings, woollen hats and flowers made from vegetables and fruits have received a lot of support from internet users.

Hương gives a large number of her products to donate to disadvantaged children in remote areas. On each photo, Hương writes sentences to encourage people and herself to overcome difficulties and lead a meaningful life.

Vũ Việt Lan, head of Hà Nội-Sài Gòn Volunteering Group, said Hương gave woollen hats that she made to donate to children in mountainous areas in Tuyên Quang, Hà Giang and Lạng Sơn provinces.

This was a special gift to the children as they were made by a special person who always willed herself to overcome the pain of Agent Orange and have a meaningful life, she said. — VNS

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