A humble dream of four wooden pillars…

Our Communications & Marketing intern, Vy, recently returned from a trip to the field to visit our Cow Bank Initiative (CBI) project, which aims to improve the livelihood security of people with visual impairment in Tay Ninh province.  Here, she met one of our inspiring beneficiaries, Mr An.  Please read her account of how a humble dream can be made true by the gift of a humble cow…

A “dream” – we often talk about it, but do we actually know what it really means?

I used to think about dreams as something big, something beautiful, like flying with the birds, swinging under the rainbow, hugging the clouds or more realistically like living in a beautiful country house in the South of France and traveling around the world. When I came to know Mr An personally, I realized that so many people dream about more humble things in life.  Things that we all need to live, but not everyone has.

We came to Mr An’s home just as it was starting to rain.  The first thing we saw was Mr.An trying to get his cows to the shelter. Despite the rain, despite being visually-impaired, despite the hard-to-control cows, Mr.An managed to get them all to the shelter before the rain started pouring down.

Mr An is a participant of our Cow Bank Initiative project, which works to improve the livelihood security of people with visual impairment in Tay Ninh province . For many years now, Mr.An has been such a faithful participant and his hard work did pay off! His cow has recently given birth to a healthy baby calf.  This means when the baby calf is strong enough to be returned to the ADRA cow bank, the mother cow will be his to keep.

Mr An welcomed us to his home, a dilapidated makeshift houses, or rather a mere shack.

Mr An told us that the four wooden pillars of his house are so rotten that when there’s a strong wind, he can feel the house move. “I just can’t sleep at night with the thought that the house could crash down on the whole family at any time!”

Seeing Mr An’s house made me sad, especially knowing how lucky we all are.

“I wasn’t born blind,” Mr An said. “At the age of 6, I got really sick with a high fever and my family was so poor that we could not afford proper treatment other than some traditional herbs that we could get from the garden. But of course, because my family didn’t know what kind of sickness I had at the time, the herbs wasn’t enough to cure me completely and I started to lose my vision gradually.”

Mr An’s wife has been trying her best to look for job and support the family but she’s very ill herself so she is unable to work much and that’s why nothing has changed for them. For so many years now, they have to wake up everyday worrying if they’ll have anything to eat for that day or they’ll have to go to sleep that night with an empty stomach under a roof could fall down anytime.

Now since they received their cow loan from ADRA, they can finally start hoping and working towards a better future.  This time, this dream is within reach.

“Words just can’t describe the joy we had on the day our baby calf was born. The mother cow now belongs to us and I can start thinking about the day that the second baby calf is born and it’ll be raised to be so healthy and strong that we’ll be able to sell it at a high price. I can almost see that my dream of buying four brand new wooden pillars for my house is going to come true soon!”

And dream can be as simple as that. A dream of four wooden pillars for a house of a man who works from sunrise to sundown.

It’s always hard to go out to the field and see with our own eyes the poor conditions our beneficiaries have to live in. It’s our heart’s desire that all these hard working people can one day have a decent life. But our resources are limited and we know we can’t help everyone. We just have to remind ourselves of our motto: “Changing the world, one life at a time.” Yes, one life at a time! The journey begins by one single step. Join us on this journey and the world can be changed.

Some pictures of CBI project beneficiaries

Written by: Vy Nguyen, Communication and Marketing Intern

Photo: © 2020 ADRA Vietnam | Vy Nguyen