Sixteen years ago, Trương Thị Ngọc Thịnh was born a healthy baby girl in the Quang Nam province in central Vietnam. However, at the age of two, she developed an unknown illness that stunted the growth of the muscles and bones in her arms and legs.
Her father, Trương Ngọc Giàu, desperately took Thịnh from hospital to hospital with the hope that the doctors could diagnosis his daughter’s condition. However, despite Giàu’s determination and the doctors’ best efforts, they were not able to find a cure for Thịnh.
Over the last decade and a half, Giàu, 42, and his wife Nguyễn Thị Thanh, 40, have watched their now teenage daughter struggle each day with her movement and mobility. Giàu shared with clear emotion, “Since Thịnh got sick, we have spent almost all the money we have hoping that she can walk and grow up like other children but unfortunately she never could. Now she is 16 and she still needs our help even with her daily activities.”
Adding to their stress, Giàu is a farmer and a carpenter and earns only 4 million to 5 million Vietnamese dong per month (about $180 USD to $225 per month). Thanh stays at home full-time to take care of Thịnh and her fourteen-year-old brother Đạt and eleven-year-old sister Dung.
With Thịnh unable to walk, the whole family is strained. Everyone must help carry Thịnh to all the places that she needs to go, which includes the bathroom. To make matters even more difficult, Thịnh’s family did not have an adequate toilet inside or near their home, which meant that Thịnh had to be carried several times a day to the makeshift latrine 20 meters away. It was uncomfortable and taxing for both Thịnh and her family members.
Responding to this need in December 2015, Habitat for Humanity Vietnam provided a loan of 10 million Vietnamese dong (approximately $450 USD) to build a new toilet next to the home. With the new toilet, the family can carry Thịnh with greater ease and they can all benefit from the sanitary benefits that the toilet provides.
Giàu happily shares, “Before we didn’t have a decent toilet . . . Now it is much easier with a new toilet built next to our house. Thank you Habitat for Humanity Vietnam so much.”
Habitat for Humanity Vietnam strives to improve water and sanitation facilities for the people of Vietnam in addition to eliminating poverty housing, improving disaster preparedness, and providing technical supports.
Credits to Timber Beeninga