Michelle’s Friday Project Update: Will to Live Center

Today I am going to share information about one of our partners which is transforming the lives of disabled youth. Will to Live Center was founded by the late Cong Hung, who died suddenly only a few days after Scott first met him in Hanoi. Disabled himself, Cong Hung, was an advocate and an inspiration to others with disabilities. Only able to move one finger, he taught himself how to use a computer and was able to find a job in the IT sector. He started the Will to Live Center to help other disabled individuals learn skills so they can realize their full potential.

Organization: Will to Live Center (WLC)
Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Context: Despite Vietnam’s rapid economic growth in recent years, there are still a large number of people with disabilities that have limited access to education, health care, and employment, causing high rates of poverty among this population. Many believe Vietnam’s high rate of disability is linked to the continuing effects of Agent Orange and the chemical warfare waged by the US in the 1960s.

Background: Cong Hung passed away in 2013; WLC is now run by Cong Hung’s sister, Nguyen Thi Van. Thi Van was born with a severe movement disability and requires the use of a wheelchair. Like her brother, she is passionate about giving disabled youth the opportunity to lead successful, productive lives for themselves and their families. Since its inception, WLC has trained over 700 students – 550 of them with disabilities and the remaining were orphans or youth from extremely poor families. Upon graduation from the program, 80% of their students have been employed with an average salary of $230 a month.

Current Status: In September 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant for $35,000 to support the IT vocational training program at Will to Live Center. Funds were disbursed in October. Another cohort of 31 students started in November 2015, and the session will finish in June! Students have been learning computer software such as Microsoft Office and Photoshop, as well as photography, personal finance and more.

Meet Ngo Thi Ly

Ty Ly

Thi Ly was born with brittle bone disease. Despite the financial burden of her medical care, her parents worked hard to give her a “normal” life. Her mother took her to school every day for six years. One day, Thi Ly fell on her way home from school and broke her femur. It took her a long time to recover. During this time, Thi Ly contemplated suicide because she felt like a burden to her family. She ended up leaving school, at which point she felt like her life lost all meaning. Then she heard about the Will to Live Center. She intends to succeed in the IT program so she can contribute to her family and show the world that people with disabilities can be productive and valuable members of society. Thi Ly wants to thank you for helping restore purpose and meaning to her life and giving her hope for the future.