The expansion of Mr. Hong Ha’s clothing factory on the western outskirts of Hanoi will bring more employment opportunities to the city’s disabled community.
A lifetime sufferer of hereditary Agent Orange side effects, Ha said he opened the business in 2005 in order to help people with disabilities like himself.
“I know the difficulties that these people face every day because of their disability,” Ha said.
“I am luckier than most disabled people because I got an education, so now I want to pass on some of the things I learned to teach people how to work.”
The second building, located roughly 15km from the Vietnam capital in the Hoai Duc district, will double Ha’s 40 staff members, half of whom have from a disability of some form.
“I think my favourite work was always going be providing work for people with disabilities,” he said.
For 26-year-old disability sufferer Phung Thi Khuyen, Ha’s enterprise offers not only a full time job, but semi-permanent accommodation.
An on-site boarding facility provides Khuyen and nine of her fellow workers with a place to live and access to the clothing factory she would not have from her home, 20km away.
“Before she came to work here, she was shy, but after meeting more people with disabilities and making friends is now more confident,” Ha said.
Hong Ha’s garments are one of the many success stories of the Hanoi Disabled People Association, an establishment aimed to foster wellbeing, quality of life and engagement for people with disabilities.
This week, workers are busily sewing 20,000 women’s coats, to be distributed in every Vietnamese province by the time the weather cools in a few weeks.
“I’m sorry but the supplier is very strict,” Ha said.
“No cameras in the factory because they do not want their fashion secrets revealed.”
Vietnam boasts progressive policies for disabled people – by Vietnam Reporter journalist Daisy Lola
Agent Orange still a great concern – Vietnam News