VietNamNet Bridge – Clutching his first salary payment of VND2 million (US$95), Nguyen Van Minh, 41, who lives in northern Hung Yen Province, could hardly contain his joy.
It was his first pay since he had his leg amputated after an accident on a building site 10 years ago. After five months of studying and practising as a leather apprentice, Minh finally got an employer's nod.
Women in the northern province of Hung Yen join a free vocational training class sponsored by the Spanish Red Cross. — Photo courtersy of Spanish Red Cross
"I've got a job," he said. "I stayed at home for quite a long time as I thought there was no chance for me outside".
After the accident, just a few months before his wedding, Minh could not return to his job as a construction worker because he was on crutches. He applied for many less physical jobs but was seen as not healthy enough.
Minh remembered the happiness and pride in his wife's eyes when he gave her his first salary after more than 10 years of marriage. Up till then, she was the bread-winner of the six-member family.
"My wife kept smiling for days," Minh said.
Minh was among 244 disabled people in northern Hung Yen and central Lam Dong Province to get free vocational training and a job thanks to a job training scheme implemented by Spanish Red Cross and Viet Nam Red Cross.
The EUR796,000 (US$1 million) programme seeks to help about 1,500 disabled people who live in poverty to learn skills to be tailors, hairdressers and electricians, or to make leather, rattan and bamboo crafts during period 2010-14.
They are given 5-7 months free on-the-job training and career guidance at 54 vocational training centres and enterprises in the two provinces of Hung Yen and Lam Dong.
Isabel de Blas Marin, a representative from the Spanish Red Cross, said people with disabilities faced difficulties finding jobs due to lack of training.
"To provide them with skills to get suitable stable jobs will help them improve their lives and better integrate into the society. It is much more effective than financial support," she said.
Viet Nam has about 6.7 million of people with disabilities, according to statistics. About 60 per cent of them are of working age and most live in rural areas. Up to 70 per cent of disabled people can not live on their own, are unemployed or need regular support from their relatives. Many social organisations provide vocational training and help to disabled people but there are no professional centres with special curriculum and equipment for disabled people.
Vice chairman of Ha Noi Disabled People Association Le Minh Hien said people with disabilities, even graduates with excellent skills, found it very difficult to find jobs.
"There's a lack of understanding between enterprises and disabled people," she said. "Most enterprises think they will get lower productivity and have to pay to change the working conditions so they refuse to employ disabled people."
"Moreover," Hien said, "there are no professional vocational centres for people with disabilities.
"They study the same curriculum as normal people do but it is totally ineffective because they need more practice and a longer time to master skills."
Statistic from Hung Yen Province People's Committee show that there are about 21,570 people with disabilities in the province, of which more than 7,120 were capable of working, but only about 960 people could get jobs.
The rest were dependent on their relatives or social centres.
Hien said special curriculums and studying equipment were needed for people with disabilities and communication and job-seeking skills should be included to make them more self-confident.
Meanwhile, Minh has been provided with a prosthesis to help him move around faster, thanks to support from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"I will try to make more belts this month to get a bonus. I'm thinking of buying something special for my wife. It will be my first gift to her," he said.
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News