Aspiring disabled female inspires others

A Vietnamese aspiring female with disabilities has inspired others by both giving free vocational training and creating jobs for disabled and vulnerable people and turning into an entrepreneur.

Japanese Princess Kiko likes Thuong Thuong Handmade's paper paintings.

Over the past 20 years, female director Nguyen Thi Thu Thuong with osteogenesis imperfecta in Hanoi has offered free vocational training and created jobs for many disabled and vulnerable people.

As she has osteogenesis imperfecta - a disease that makes human bones weak, leading to easy fractures, Director Thu Thuong has a small body with a weight of 20kg and she is unable to do personal activities. Despite her weakness, Ms. Thu Thuong has successfully founded Thuong Thuong Handmade social enterprise in Hanoi’s Dong Da District to help unlucky people like her get jobs. They have worked together to create a brand for rolling paper painting products.

Talking about her passion for making paper paintings, Ms. Thuong said that making crafts has been her hobby since she was a child when she saw her mother sewing and making embroidery work.

Realizing her mother’s difficulties in repairing and sewing goods for customers to raise children, she was determined to earn a living for herself and her parents.

After spending time persuading her parents so long, Ms. Thuong was finally allowed to take part in a about 3-month vocational training course to learn how to make ironing buttons.

Feeling that making the button didn’t earn much money, she kept learning many other crafts such as knitting scarves and making paper paintings over the next 10 years. She saved money from selling her own crafts to carry out her plan to open a vocational training workshop and create jobs for other disabled people.

Despite having difficulties in having capital and finding customers, she still strives to maintain and develop vocational training as well as handicrafts making with the main product being rolling paper paintings.

Even though Ms. Thuong never went to school and was taught English by volunteering students, she still managed to sign trade agreements with many foreign customers to sell her company’s products and sent customers product samples designed by her and an artist with disabilities.

By posting articles on ads, e-commerce platforms, on social networks such as Facebook, TikTok, and Zalo to introduce the factory's products which have received a lot of interest from the community, Ms. Thuong has been increasingly expanding the market, partners and target customer files. Since then, the factory's sales website has been created with many product models made from rolling paper, including landscape paintings, logos, jewelry boxes, pen boxes, and earrings.

The woman and her staff have worked together to create the brand name Thuong Thuong Handmade's products which are more famous as the company has received a lot of orders from international partners because it meets the tastes of foreigners who love handicrafts. Thuong Thuong Handmade products are present in many international markets such as Japan, Germany, the US, the UK, and France.

Currently, Thuong Thuong Handmade is supporting accommodation and creating jobs for 15 disabled and vulnerable people. In addition, Ms. Thuong has also organized and participated in many community projects such as the program ‘Together to Shine, Join Hands with the Community’ or a painting auction to help people in more difficult situations than hers.

Last but not least, she established the group ‘Thuong Thuong Sings for the sick’ on the walking street to raise funds to help dialysis patients, poor patients with congenital anemia and the disabled.

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