With shock and great sadness, we heard about the unexpected death of GO Campaign’s partner in Vietnam, Nguyen Cong Hung, on December 31, 2012. Cong Hung was one of Vietnam’s only advocates for children with disabilities. Despite his own disability which left him with mobility in only one finger, Cong Hung was able to attend formal school to the 7th grade, learn how to use a computer, start and run a successful business, and found the Will to Live Center, a small social enterprise that supports, trains, and assists disabled youth in finding employment so they can increase their level of independence.
By overcoming his own physical limitations, Cong Hung was a role model for the disabled and an inspiration to all. Cong Hung is survived by his wife and sister who will continue Cong Hung’s mission of building the skills and self-confidence of disabled Vietnamese so that they can become independent, productive members of their community.
The Will to Live Center’s first GO grant will end in June 2013. Funds are being used to provide vocational training for 30 disabled youth. Fifteen youth have already completed the course. Will to Live staff reported that over the six-month course, they “watched how the very quiet, shy members slowly gained confidence, not only in classes but in everyday life.
Everyone supported one another in every way. There were also some lively members of the group and they enjoyed a joke or laugh. Humor is a great way to learn – not all the time, of course, but it releases tension and the less able students can join in a joke or laughter and feel very much part of the group.”
At the end of the course, 3 students were hired by companies, 2 students will stay and work for the Will to Live Center, and 6 students will return to the Will to Live Center after winter break to continue with the next course and advance their skills in graphic and web design. Unfortunately, four students had to return to their homes because their ability and their health did not permit them to continue their studies at the center. Classes will resume at the center on Jan. 20, 2013.
GO Campaign remains committed to helping the Will to Live Center keep the memory of Cong Hung alive and continue their mission of improving the quality of life for disabled youth in Vietnam.