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Thu and his wife Linh live in the Quang Tri province, Vietnam. After Linh suffered a stroke, Thu became her primary carer. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

Thu's story

Vietnam

Thu lost his leg after stepping on a land mine in Vietnam. With your generosity, Thu can now earn extra income and support his wife as she recovers from a stroke.  

Thu putting on his prosthetic leg at his home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia
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Thu putting on his prosthetic leg at his home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

Thu was just 12 years old when he lost his leg. One day, he was looking after his cows when he stepped on an unexploded land mine.  

“War is most terrible with great loss. At the end of the war, there are still consequences such as unexploded ordnance, causing many losses, casualties and death,” Thu says. 

Thu lives in the Quảng Trị province, located on the Northern Central Coast of Vietnam. Situated along the demilitarised zone that divided Vietnam, the province was one of the most heavily bombed areas during the Vietnam War and is considered one of the most polluted provinces in terms of unexploded ordinances (UXOs) in Vietnam.

In addition to being the breadwinner for his family, Thu had to take on the role of caring for his wife, Linh, after she suffered a stroke.  

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Thu and his wife Linh live in the Quang Tri province, Vietnam. After Linh suffered a stroke, Thu became her primary carer. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

She is my wife and we have been living together and depending on each other, I am the one to be there with her and for her.

Thu

"She almost lost herself after the stroke and had to lean on me. I could understand how she felt because I had experienced the same at the age of 12 after a landmine accident took one of my legs," Thu said.

Determined to turn their lives around, Thu and Linh joined the Empowerment of People with Disabilities program, run by Caritas Australia’s local partner in Vietnam, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD). 

The Empowerment of People with Disabilities program supports people living with disabilities to establish Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLA) so that they can access affordable loans. Through the VSLA he was able to obtain a low-interest loan, which he used to open his own barber shop on a new road that was constructed near his home. 

Thu (left) helps make incense sticks with fellow members of his VSLA (Village Savings and Loans Association) group near his home in Quang Tri province. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia
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Thu (left) helps make incense sticks with fellow members of his VSLA (Village Savings and Loans Association) group near his home in Quang Tri province. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia
Thu working in his barber shop at his home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Thu set up the barber shop after receiving a loan when he joined a local VSLA. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia
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Thu working in his barber shop at his home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Thu set up the barber shop after receiving a loan when he joined a local VSLA. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

For Thu, the greatest impact that the program has had is seeing the change in Linh’s physical and mental wellbeing. With the support of a physiotherapist, Linh can now walk short distances with the aid of a walking stick. 

"I am grateful to Caritas Australia for the help they give to people living with disability like me and my wife,” Thu says. “Thank you to Caritas Australia and the Australian people."

Along with your generous support, this program is also supported by the Australian Government, through Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

Your donation can help:

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Thu helps his wife Linh, who suffered a stroke, with her rehabilitation at their home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

Provide specialised rehabilitation devices and support for people living with disabilities

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Thu (right) helps make incense sticks with fellow members of his VSLA (Village Savings and Loans Association) group near his home in Quang Tri province. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

Support the establishment of Village Savings and Loans Associations for people with disabilities to earn income

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Thu works in his rice fields near his home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

Support people living with disabilities to participate in inclusive disaster preparedness and resilience

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Thu fixes a bicycle at his home in Quang Tri province, Vietnam. Photo: Phan Tan Lam/Caritas Australia

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