17:17 | 25/08/2016 Society
(VEN) - Huy Nguyen Pham and Ha Van Dong, along with the help from photographer An Nguyen officially launched Life and Ambitions , a biography of Dong, a sightless man who is passionate about music and at the same time remarkably independent.
Founded in early 2015 by Huy Nguyen Pham, a high school senior at the Loomis Chaffee School USA, Lighthouse Vietnam is a student-led non-for-profit organization. Their mission is to raise funds to provide music scholarships for sightless children in Ho Chi Minh City and to teach music and English in different schools for the blind in the metropolitan area. A sightless musician himself, Ha Van Dong, joined Huy and his crew to create a memorable and festive fundraising event at the Christmas Charity Concert. Ha Van Dong’s rich vocals, flawless enunciation, and unabated enthusiasm reverberated across the auditorium last December. Mesmerized, his audience sang along, clapped, and even danced to the beat of the Christmas classic as they watched Dong’s heartfelt performance. Nearly two hundred guests had gathered at the Ho Chi Minh City Music Conservatory that night to celebrate the holiday season with Lighthouse Vietnam’s Christmas Charity Concert.
As they worked together in the Charity Concert, Huy and Dong developed a friendship that continued long after the event. In his conversations and interactions with Dong, Huy learned more about the singer’s life and struggles – from Dong’s destitute childhood in Northern Hai Duong to his participation in The Voice Vietnam. Huy admired Dong’s perseverance, dedication, passion for music, and above all, his ability to assert his independence. He also learned that Dong, like many other sightless inpiduals in Vietnam, hoped for nothing more than the ability to lead a normal life in their own terms like everybody else.
Dong, Huy and An (from left) at the book lauching
Huy felt that Dong’s story had to be disseminated after witnessing the isolation that children in blind schools experienced. Not only did he wish to inspire the general public, but he also wanted to give hope to sightless inpiduals who may have felt ostracized and secluded by their disability. Thus, Huy convinced Dong to create a biography that could be easily accessible to the sightless and sighted alike. “Dong is too kind and modest to view himself as a role model or inspiration. Nevertheless, his life story will empower Vietnam’s 2 million sightless people to conquer the challenges they face. Many schools for the blind around the country do their best to care for and train the sightless in order to help them become self-reliant. However, in the face of discrimination and prejudice, these inpiduals may recoil and isolate themselves from the outside world to avoid being hurt. Dong’s example will give them hope and encourage them to find a way to lead independent lives. Huy also believes Dong’s story will educate the sighted and encourage them to provide the support and understanding needed to create a more harmonious and inclusive environment for the blind and other disabled inpiduals in Vietnam.”
Together, Huy and Dong enlisted the help of photographer An Nguyen to create a compelling and heart-wrenching photojournalistic account of Dong’s biography: Life and Ambitions. Huy has worked tirelessly to capture Dong’s voice in the book’s Vietnamese and English descriptions. An’s photographs and Huy’s notes of Dong’s daily life reveal the struggles, hopes and dreams of a sightless singer who wishes for nothing more than a normal life. Along with Vietnamese and English texts, a Braille version of Dong’s biography is also available.