Occasional blogger** Robin Landvoght - Cute sock toys make a big difference. Buy a gift and help Nguyen and her Mum.
North East Artisans (NEA) Community Gallery at 122 Bridge Street Benalla is stocking handmade Yumi sock toys, supporting 29 year old Nguyen Pham who lives in Hoi An on the central coast of Vietnam.
For Nguyen every day is a struggle as she lives with a hole in her heart. Nguyen was not diagnosed with the heart problem until she was a teenager and, coming from a poor family, there was no money for doctors or surgery. Her father died of cancer when she was eight and her mother sold betel nuts in the local market to support the family. Now the damage to her heart and lungs is inoperable but still she lives in hope of surgery.
Living in a third world country, there is no welfare system. Nguyen has a great determination and harbours the same aspirations as any other young woman. She is fiercely independent, a talented craftsperson, highly intelligent and has a delightful sense of humour.
Nguyen learnt English in a few short months after working with Australian volunteers in Hoi An in 2008, and has taught herself to make sock creatures – soft toys made from socks. She is continuing to try new designs. Indeed she seems to have a talent in all crafts she turns her hand to. The socks available in Hoi An as she says “are not good quality” so she relies on donated deliveries from Australia.
Nguyen is able to support herself from the sale of her crafts, sock toys and cards and also battles to support her mother who recently suffered a serious stroke and is now unable to work. Although making sock creatures is a job she can usually manage, some days Nguyen cannot work as she is too unwell. She lives knowing that any infection is a serious threat to her health. Fortunately for her, an American charity, the Hoi An Foundation has a family sponsoring her daily medication and American volunteer doctors have been checking her health regularly since 2008.
For a unique gift for a child (or even someone older) do consider these wonderful sock creatures. Their purchase will certainly make a difference to the life of a delightful young lady and her family.
More information is available from Robin Landvogt email: firstname.lastname@example.org
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members who may, from time to time, have a strong urge to write about NEA for this column!.
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Phone: 0402 563 918 (Gallery Hours)
Address: 122 Bridge Street East, Benalla, VIC 3672