Than Thi Khan, 80 years old, lives alone in a remote area of Vietnam. Her husband passed away 14 years ago. She has 3 daughters, and like most people who live in a rural area, two of her children have moved to work in a big city, while the other is married and lives with her own family in a different district.
“As a result of ageing, I had poor eyesight for many years due to the cataracts. At the beginning of this year, I completely lost my sight. At the same time my daughter, who had lived with me and looked after me for many years, had to move to Ho Chi Minh City. At that time I thought I had no one left to help me, and I was so scared and weak. My daughter works very hard to earn enough money for my eye surgery, so she is rarely able to visit me,” said Khan.
Khan had faced many difficulties due to her poor health so the Tan Thoung Village Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) decided to urgently provide her with support. “The club sends two volunteers to visit me several times a day to help me with daily tasks like washing and hygiene, food preparation, cleaning, giving massage and laundry. The club also provided me with a small donation last month to buy necessities. I don’t feel lonely anymore. The volunteers visit me everyday, and I am very happy to have a chat with them.”
Tan Thuong village is located in a coastal area which is often struck by storms. The volunteers have been trained to prepare and assist older people and vulnerable people during an emergency situation.
“The volunteers came to cut branches and clear the land around my house before storm season. In case I need to be evacuated, they know where to find my essential things. I used to feel unsafe living on my own because I can’t see. Now I know who I can rely upon for support.”
“The ultimate wish for me now is an eye surgery. I hope I will be able to see the world once again.”