Vietnamese Talents
Scrap fabric co-operative offers disabled people hope
  • | | December 15, 2020 01:12 PM
A disabled man in Hanoi has helped dozens of other disabled people find jobs from leftover fabric.

44-year-old Le Viet Cuong was born healthy but a fever at nine months old left him mobility-impaired. He underwent 10 operations in order to walk again. In 2017, he established Vun Art Co-operative, hoping to help other disabled people to find jobs and integrate into society. After three years, 18 people were able to find employment with a salary of VND1.5m to VND6.5m a month.


Le Viet Cuong shows some works made from leftover fabric.

"Seeing other disabled people unemployed and lacking social connections, it urged me to do something so I established this co-operative," he said.

At the co-operative, they use thrown-away scrap fabric from Van Phuc Silk Village and put them together to make artworks. Their artworks are inspired from various Vietnamese folk paintings from Dong Ho, Hang Trong, and Kim Hoang villages. The members have various disabilities like deaf, mobility impairment, Downs Syndrome or autism.

"All products are handmade. I believe that we have helped protect the environment by recycling these scrap fabric," Cuong said.


Many people have stable incomes after joining the cooperative.

Vun Art Co-operative produces hundreds of artworks each month. This is also a tourist spot and gathering spot for young people during the weekends. Cuong said he had faced many difficulties while searching for a job before so he understood the challenges and feelings of disabled people. Cuong goes to the workplace three times a week to work and talk with other members. They have overcome initial difficulties like funding.

"Instead of opening a huge class, we have a small class where each member is given a thorough lesson. Whatever skills they lack, I'll find teachers for them," he said. "The most important thing is finding a suitable job. The government policies and attention also help the disabled people a great deal."

According to Cuong, in order to make a complete artwork, they first have to select the right materials, iron the fabric and glue them to the board. The whole process is divided into small parts and given to suitable members.

"Besides their own efforts, the disabled people also need attention, sharing and encouragement from society. Vun Art means valuable things made from putting pieces of fabric together," Cuong said.

Bui Thu Dung, a member with mobility impairment, has been at Vun Art since its first days. She now can make a complete artwork by herself and has a stable income. She said, "I used to feel inferior and didn't want to go out. But after coming here, getting to talk and work with other people, I can earn money by myself and feel much better."

On November 27 and 28, Cuong was honoured as one of 400 outstanding citizens during the Silent Contribution to Society ceremony held by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs for his achievements.

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