Born into a poor family of nine members in the remoted area of Long An province, Khoi left school at grade 5 and started working with his parents until he joined the army of the old regime.
“Unluckily, I was bombed and lost my left leg in 1973, when I was 22 years old.”
Khoi is now 65, and through the last 43 years, he only had three prostheses. The first one was made two years after amputation, the second was provided by an NGO (VNAH) in the 1990s and the latest one by the SFD, in April 2016.
Low level of education, isolation, and limited access to information are among the reasons leading to his dependence on a very old prosthesis, which is almost obsolete. But his economic situation also refrains him to access the care he needs.
“Thanks to our pension and the spontaneous money from selling the pigs and ducks, my wife and I earn around 20 million VND a year (approximately 900 USD) which is enough money to cover very basic expenses…
… But a trans-tibial prosthesis of 3 million VND (135 USD) is a real luxury that we cannot afford!”
According to the ordinance of poverty line applied from 2016, with this average income, Khoi’s family is classified as pro-poor household in rural areas (700.000 – 1.000.000 VND per capita per month) (roughly from 31 to 45 USD).
For Khoi, life is not settled down at the age of 65 as he has too many burdens to bear.
“Day in day out, I walk on the bumpy and muddy lanes in the countryside to check the family’s small rice paddy field nearby, feed the pigs and ducks, and I also look after my grandchild”
This prosthesis subsidized by the SFD is an added incentive and an effective supporting tool for Mr Khoi to keep moving on despite all hardship surrounding him. This device helps Khoi enjoy a more descent life.
“It makes me feel that I am not a useless person but an independent old man who can contribute to my family’s wellbeing.”
In 2015 in Viet Nam, The SFD contributed to fitting 1,292 destitute persons with disabilities with orthopaedic devices (including 1,333 prostheses, 35 orthoses and 2,570 crutches) at four rehabilitation centres/ hospitals and one Prosthetic & Orthotic school throughout the country. Out of these 1292 persons, 734 are war victims, including 636 men, 95 women and 3 children.
On average, 90% of people in developing countries who require a mobility device do not have access to physical rehabilitation services. Persons with disabilities face multiple barriers and challenges and face social exclusion. Only 20% or less are employed. (World Report on Disability, 2011)
Disability and poverty reinforce and perpetuate one another