Xuyen is one of the craftswomen from the Lifestart Foundation Workshop (LSFW) and the creator behind the recycled paper coasters, bracelets and bowls, as well as the knitted egg hats. Xuyen is part of LSFW’s initiative to train Vietnamese people with disabilities with the skills to become self-sufficient.
At the age of 5, Xuyen’s right leg became paralyzed affecting her mobility. When Xuyen joined LSF in 2009, she received a 3-wheel motorbike and began training as a workshop member. Xuyen was an exceptionally fast learner. She was able to make the products simply by looking at a photo and had no need for a pattern. When asked if she will learn any more products, Xuyen said that she is satisfied with her pieces for the time being.
Xuyen plans to work at LSF for as long as she physically possible, but her eye sight is currently failing. She recently lost vision in her right eye and her operation only complicated matters. But Xuyen’s sense of humor and smile keeps us entertained every day at LSFW.
Xuyen works 30 hours a week at LSFW and her favorite product to make is the recycled paper bracelet because it looks so “lovely”, but her best selling item is the set of coasters. Since becoming a workshop member, Xuyen shared that she is now able to earn a sustainable income and cover her expenses. But her favorite part of working at LSFW is the love she feels from Karen, the founder of Lifestart Foundation, who always greets her and asks her simple questions about her life. (She laughed and assured us she was speaking from the heart, and not trying to win points with Karen!)
When not working, Xuyen’s favorite pastime is spending time at home with her little grandson and her family. Xuyen lives with her son, his wife and grandson. Xuyen adopted her son, Binh, after he was abandoned at a local hospital by his mother. Xuyen is hoping for more grandchildren in the near future!