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Transforming Lives

Language: English | Vietnamese
Ly hopes to help parents of LGBT people work together for equal rights.

When Dinh Thi Yen Ly’s 18-year-old son, Nguyen Dang Khoa, told her he was gay, she felt they were the most painful words she had ever heard. She didn’t understand what it meant for him or for her family; she thought being gay was a sickness. And Ly was not alone. Some studies show that many parents in Vietnam still think homosexuality is a disease, a trend or an abnormality.

Y Nguyet's swimming class in Kom Tum province

For Y Nguyet, during the rainy season in Vietnam, just going to and from school was a fearful experience. Without knowing how to swim, she had to pass through treacherous, fast-flowing streams, which have been known to sweep people away.

Staff prepare sandbags to reinforce the company's roof.

Each summer, as typhoons and tropical depressions hit Vietnam’s city of Danang, the Lighthouse Corp. braced for strong winds, heavy rains and floods, hoping direct damage to its warehouse, factory, office and construction materials would be minimal. Unfortunately, many times the construction company was not spared from collapsed windows, doors and walls, damaged goods and products, and an interrupted supply of materials as damage was repaired.

BuonCocaPlant

April 2014—H Kem Buon, an ethnic minority woman in Vietnam's Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, recalls a time when things were not easy for her family. They did not make enough money to cover basic expenses.

Pham Thi Gai and her son, next to the fully stocked shelves of her store.

April 2014"My daughter was born as a pretty baby,” said the mother of 38-year-old Pham Thi Gai, “but now, [she] lives in disability and tears.” Polio struck during childhood, leaving Gai with paralyzed limbs on the left side of her body.

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Last updated: January 20, 2015

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