Nhat Thi Le joined the SFD team in May 2016 as a project assistant. She is based in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Nhat wears an orthosis, and was recently interviewed by VTV4 channel about her experience, as a person with disability studying abroad. In this interview, Nhat explains how access to physical rehabilitation services and education has changed her life.

Watch Nhat’s interview here

In the late of 1970s and early 1980s, polio was spreading across Viet Nam because coverage by vaccination programmes was insufficient to protect children from the virus.

Nhat Thi Le was born in Hanoi in 1983. She developed a form of paralysis when she was two years old. Thanks to her parents’ efforts, she was sent to school just like the rest of her peers. Her parents wanted her to have the same education as other children.



Nhat says “I realized that because I was at a physical disadvantage, I needed to stand out using my own abilities. I believed that only education would allow me to do so”.


She continued going to school until she passed her Bachelor’s degree, which according to many people’s beliefs, including her parents and siblings, was enough for her. But Nhat wanted to keep on learning and striving for as long as she possibly could! The existing educational system and the social beliefs in Viet Nam were not in line with what she needed, so Nhat started looking for a scholarship to study abroad.

Thanks to Australia’s Awards Scholarship, Nhat was offered a great opportunity to study for a Master’s degree in Australia, which has affected her in many positive ways.

First of all, she was able to enhance her knowledge of development theories and practices with different topics such as gender, poverty, research, migration, child health, or disability. Secondly, she extended her network with people from different countries. And thirdly, she learnt different lifestyles and cultures through her friends, who also came from other countries.

Last but not least, before leaving for Australia, Nhat had access to orthopaedic services and received a suitable orthosis.

“The orthosis not only supported me well in my efforts to restore my mobility, it also changed my point of view on the functioning of a device. I never used to wear any assistive device as I felt uncomfortable and did not recognize the benefits of wearing it”, she says.

After her Master’s degree in Australia, Nhat joined our team. Since May 2016, Nhat has been working with the SFD on physical rehabilitation projects and she applies not only her knowledge of development issues but also her own experience of physical rehabilitation, knowing just how important it is for people facing mobility difficulties.

Thanks to physical rehabilitation services, people can regain the mobility required to finally access other services such as education, health care and employment.

The full interview is available here: