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Korean couple spends retirement helping children with hearing impairment in Vietnam

Saturday, August 31, 2019, 19:08 GMT+7
Korean couple spends retirement helping children with hearing impairment in Vietnam
Choi Young Suk holds training sessions for teachers in Xa Dan Special Education Center in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A South Korean professor gave up her job in a well-known university for people with hearing loss in her home country to start a new journey of helping children in Vietnam.

Choi Young Suk, along with her husband Kwon Jang Soo, ten years ago made a decision on early retirement and moved to Vietnam’s Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to promote specialized education for children born with hearing impairment.

They spent their retirement allowance on books for students, teaching aids and house rents, as well as learning Vietnamese properly to communicate with local authorities and students’ parents.

“Life in Vietnam was quite struggling at first, but we tried hard to offer them the best educational system they deserve,” said Kwon Jang Soo.

Choi used body language to communicate with students and held different entertaining activities from art classes, DIY sessions to outdoor trips to strengthen their bond and enhance their language ability.

She also promoted her students’ handmade works in Korean and sold them with reasonable prices as a way to boost their confidence despite disabilities.

“We focused on improving the mental condition of our students since children with disabilities were very vulnerable and easily affected by social criticism,” she said.

The South Korean couple, along with many volunteers and philanthropists, had succeeded in establishing a specialized education center in Lam Dong with essential facilities and well-qualified Vietnamese teachers.

They also managed to invite South Korean experts in specialized education to help with training sessions and cooperated with parents to offer students the best study environment in their ability.

A photo of Kwon Jang Soo and his wife Choi Young Suk. Photo: Chu Ha Linh / Tuoi Tre
A photo of Kwon Jang Soo and his wife Choi Young Suk. Photo: Chu Ha Linh / Tuoi Tre

Choi even came up with a so-called bizarre idea of helping her students get access to verbal language and music, which faced doubtful prejudice at first but later received approval and encouragement from others.

“Children with hearing impairment got 80 percent of growing normally like others as long as parents were fully aware of this,” she said with determination.

Choi and her husband have recently traveled to an education center for the disabled in Hanoi to develop the teaching quality there as the head teacher’s request.

Pham Van Hoan, the head teacher in Xa Dan Special Education Center in Hanoi, expressed his respect to Choi Young Suk and Kwon Jang Soo for their contribution to help underprivileged students.

“They were the real life savior of the human kind and we were honored to have them here,” he said.

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