During the last period, Vietnam Blind Association (VBA) has selected a new board member due to the 9th General Assembly hold in Hanoi on 6-7 December 2017. The General Assembly welcomed 442 participants from 57 local provinces and 3 international delegations including Ms. Michiko Tabata – WBUAP president, Thailand Association of the Blind and Laos Association of the Blind.
VBA always develops it branches at all level nationwide. Presently, VBA has its branches at 56 provinces and cities (out of 63 provinces and cities) with over 73,000 members.
Activities for the blind members in all fields are always paid attention. Employment and education are still major fields which VBA organises many important actities. In 2017, VBA organised the 1st national masssage contest which attracted around 60 massagers from 36 local branches. For the blind in Vietnam, massage is still the most suitable job with higher income in compared with other jobs of the blind, then vocational trainings is promoted. VBA get the fund from the government to give loans to its members with very low rate; at the moment VBA is managing the total fund of nearly 2.3 million USD.
We cooperated with Perskin International School to support the blind children with multi-disabilities by conducting trainings for members and staffs of local branches; cooperated with Hanoi International Women Club to carry out trainings for blind women on policies for the disables, some typical laws on genders and soft skills, producing materials on CDs and developing the forum for women, etc. ICT is promoted at VBA at all level with the number of blind members who can use computer in their work or study is around 3,500 people. An important project on IT was signed and impletented with the fund from The Japanese International Cooperation Agent (JICA) in 2017.
For higher education, more and more blind students continue to follow higher level. Presently, there are appreximately 150 students studying in universities and colleges and over 450 students have graduated.
In 2016, VBA organised the 5th National Singing Festival with the participation of over 250 blind singers and musicians. The Festival had helped to advocate activities of VBA as well as to raise the awareness of the society about the capacity of the blind in particular and the disable in general.
Public transportation also has a good improvement, especially bus system: many blind persons are issued free bus cards, the booking travel application on smartphone is easy to access, etc. In big cities, there is talking notice for the next bus stop which facilitates the blind very much.
As a member of Vietnam Fatherland Front Committee and National Committee for People with Disabilities, VBA has actively participated in conferences and commented on mechanisms and policies related to people with disability in general and the blind in particular. VBA continues to contribute its ideas and recommendations in the national report and shadow report of Vietnam to the UN CRPD.
International activities were also promoted by participating regional contests and workshops or seminars such as International Braille reading and writing contests in Thailand, ONKYO contest, the WBUAP leadership training seminar, sub-regional meeting for ASEAN countries on the Marrakesh Treaty in Singapore, massage seminar in China, etc.
VBA actively participates and promote the national law on the disability and the UN CRPD for the benefit of the blind in Vietnam. Presently, VBA is working with related government ministries and agent to promote the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in Vietnam. We hope that Vietnam will ratify the Marrakesh Treaty in the near future, and of course, we need your participation and sharing in the process to make this become true.
In conclusion, the living standard of the blind in Vietnam has improved recent years, however, there still many other difficulties and challenges which VBA will try the best to promote activities and the living condition of our members, so that the blind in Vietnam can follow the movement of the blind in the region and on the world.