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This one-legged Vietnamese student is painting her future

Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 09:41 GMT+7
This one-legged Vietnamese student is painting her future
Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung (center) poses with her friends on the campus of Ton Duc Thang University, located in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Determined not to let her disability stop her from reaching her goals, Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung, from Ben Tre Province in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, is pushing herself toward a bright future regardless of the hardships life throws at her.

Students at Ton Duc Thang University, located in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, have gotten used to the girl with one leg making her way to class on weekdays.

Nhung is a first-year student of the industrial arts faculty.

Before her accident while playing, she was a boisterous child like any other.

The serious fall broke the upper bones of her right leg but the injury was taken lightly until complications developed a few months later.

Examinations showed abnormal swelling in the leg, which later turned out to be a large tumor.

The little girl’s life was derailed when her leg joints were immediately disarticulated to avoid tissue necrosis in the leg.

Instead of frolicking around just like her peers, Nhung would wind up spending the majority of her early childhood with limited mobility.

The young girl refused to give up learning to walk with crutches, despite the countless bruises and scratches she accrued from falling, and was finally able to walk on her own.

After Nhung finished middle school, her family decided she would sit out high school and find a manual job that does not require much mobility instead.

The girl’s education was spared thanks to her 9th-grade homeroom teacher, who signed her up for Doan Thi Diem High School, located in Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, without the family's knowledge.

Toward the end of her high school years, Nhung again found herself at a crossroads when her family tried to advise her against moving to Ho Chi Minh City to attend college.

Her parents expressed doubts regarding how she would face struggles alone, take care of herself away from home, and how to use less disabled-friendly public transport.

The thought that left Nhung most nervous at this critical point was if she would be able to land a job that matches her mental ability as well as physical disability.

Her final decision made, she did her best in her studies and was admitted to Ton Duc Thang University, where she took her first steps toward a brighter future.

“I’ll look for a suitable job to cover part of my tuition fees and gain new experiences,” said Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung (right). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

'I’ll look for a suitable job to cover part of my tuition fees and gain new experiences,' said Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung (right). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

“I decided to pursue my education to the very end," Nhung said.

"I want to be independent and determine my own future.

“There’re so many places I want to visit and so many things I want to learn.

"I’ll try to exceed my limits and won’t let my impairment hold me back.”

Nhung showed her painting talent quite early in her life, and art helps take away sorrows and gives back love and positive vibes while connecting her to the outside world.

When it was time to choose majors in college, she followed her passion, believing she is cut out for the job, which might not involve a lot of traveling.

Except for the beginning when her father took her to Ho Chi Minh City and helped her complete admission procedures, the physically challenged girl always tries to handle everything on her own.

When she has classes, she hops from the school dormitory, where she stays, to the halls and classrooms within the school campus, one of the city’s largest and most modern-looking.

“Now I can go anywhere within the campus," Nhung shared proudly, adding she just needs to take an occasional rest during the long walks.

"I can reach the second floors on foot but have to use the elevator for higher ones.”

Though she just took some fundamental courses and hand-drawn painting classes in her first year, the student is well aware of hurdles ahead.

Nhung’s father, who earns a meager income as a construction worker, and her homemaking mother struggle to afford education for her and her two younger siblings.

Refusing to let her disability and poverty get in the way of realizing her dreams, Nhung forces herself to face her situation head-on while trying to save as much as she can.

As she is still unable to buy a laptop, she often borrows her friends’ or uses computers at the school libraries, also some of the city’s most well-equipped and modern, for homework.

“I’ll look for a suitable job to cover part of my tuition fees and gain new working experiences,” Nhung shared.

Nguyen Duc Hong Quang, a lecturer of the university’s faculty of industrial arts, pays special attention to Nhung during the two courses she took with him.

According to Quang, art-related fields have seen relatively fierce competition and high requirements in recent years.  

The road will even be much bumpier for students with disabilities like Nhung, he said.

“Challenges can sometimes motivate us to keep moving forward and gain unexpected accomplishments,” Quang noted.

“Nhung should keep up her persistence and determination if she is to succeed."

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Ngoc Hanh - Trong Nhan / Tuoi Tre News

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