Nguyen Thi Hang, a mother of two school-aged children, lives in Vinh Long province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, where high poverty rates are prevalent among ethnic minority groups. For the last 14 years, Hang has earned a living for her family by making baskets and carpets from water hyacinth.
April 2015—When Tho Nguyen was born 10 years ago in Danang, Vietnam, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy—a congenital condition resulting from abnormal brain development that affects muscle coordination and movement.
Surrounded by almost 2,000 quacking ducks, Le Thanh Thuong reflects on the changes he has made on his duck breeding farm and hatchery in Can Tho, Vietnam. Previously, his ducks were free range—they drank water from a nearby pond and grazed on small fish and shrimp from rice paddies, which left them undernourished and susceptible to diseases like salmonella and parasites. Poor sanitation and insufficient separation between residential and production areas put his family and workers at risk for picking up diseases from the ducks.
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.
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.
Last updated: June 29, 2015