A young man is set on taking and printing 10,000 free photos of poor children in Vietnam’s mountainous provinces by year end and has taken more than one third of them so far.
A few years ago, out of his passion for photography and love for children, Do Van Hung, 24, initiated the project of taking and printing 10,000 free photos of needy kids in the northwestern mountainous region.
“During my university years, I visited a few mountainous areas and learned that many kids there have never owned a photo of themselves. Several photographers did take photos of them, but never gave them the pictures. I have since cherished my dream of gifting the kids each a photo of themselves,” he shared.
After graduating from university in 2012, he went to Singapore on a three-month internship program. He bought his first professional camera then.
After that, while he was teaching the Vietnamese language to Thai students in Thailand, he began to map out his plan and raise funds.
“10,000, which I chose randomly, is quite a big number, as it’s difficult to gather a large number of kids in isolated, remote areas at one time. But I strongly believe that I will get it done,” Hung added.
In March 2014, the young man returned to Vietnam, gathered several like-minded friends and set off on his project.
Their first destination was Meo Vac District in northern Ha Giang Province, some 500km from Hanoi.
The group encountered numerous difficulties, including the treacherous terrain and biting cold.
“There were days when it rained torrentially, leaving the mountain paths precariously slippery, especially with our heavy load of equipment. However, we didn’t postpone the photo shoot, as the last thing we wanted was to let the kids down,” Hung recalled.
At villages where there was no electricity to run the printing machine, the group took the photos, and printed them at the place they were staying before gifting them in person the following day.
To cut costs during the trips, Hung and his friends mostly stayed at kind-hearted locals’ homes.
“Despite all the difficulties, the kids’ sheer joy is an immense reward. Seeing the camera and printing machine for the first time, they circled around us for hours, eagerly awaiting each photo which came out,” he smilingly recalled.
Hung has so far conducted his project at many villages in 11 remote communes in Ha Giang, Lai Chau and Hoa Binh Provinces, taking and gifting the kids there some 3,500 portraits and hundreds of group photos.
He planned to reach his targeted 10,000 photos and wrap up his project by this November.
He shared that after the project, Hung and his friends may launch a similar one with children in central and southern provinces’ rural areas next year.