Le Hoang Quen, a 56 year old blind man, has brought the ‘light of hope’ to fellow sufferers and rescued them from leading lives of beggars by giving them the chance to find training and a job.
He lost both of his eyes and had a leg amputated after stepping on a landmine in 1978 in Cambodia when he was a soldier. Since 1998, he has worked as the chairman of the association of blind people in Long My District in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang.
Thanks to his efforts, the locality now has fewer beggars.
With the belief that those who are physically challenged often have an inferiority complex, and behave with a ‘don’t care’ attitude, Quen came to talk with them in person and ask them to join his association to have the opportunity of training and jobs.
“By measuring my thinking to understand others, I try to find out what they need to get rid of the ‘don’t care’ attitude,” said Quen.
Quen said that at one point he knew around 30 people with disabilities in his locality. Many of them not only earned their living by begging on the streets, but they also disturbed social order and aggressively demanded money from drivers and passers-by.
He recalled one man in particular who was considered the most disruptive: Trinh Hoang Nham in Long Binh Commune.
“Nham said he was desperate because he is disabled and has no relatives, and no parents,” said Quen. “He said he drank alcohol and caused trouble so that he could die, but he didn’t.”
Quen told Nham to follow him, and Nham would be given 15kg of rice a month through a subsidy of the local government.
In addition, Quen would teach Nham to sell lottery tickets so he could have an income and sleep in the blind association’s office.
Nham is now living an independent life.
Many others in similar situations have been helped by Quen.