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Handicapped businessman employs, trains people with disabilities

Despite being born handicapped, a man in Thai Binh Province has managed to open his own business and provide gainful employment for many others with disabilities.

Pham Van Dap (right) is instructing a newly-employed worker. VNA/VNS Photo The Duyet

Pham Van Dap is the director of Garment Production and Service of the Disabled Company in Vu Le Commune of Kien Xuong District.

With strong spirit and determination, he overcame difficulties and became a businessman and tutor to many other people with disabilities. 

Disabled businessman

Dap suffers from congenital muscular atrophy with an immobile leg which means he has to use crutches.

The illness and his family's poverty meant he had to drop out of school as a youngster.

“My family was very poor. My parents could not afford my tuition fees. Besides, the illness made it difficult for me to walk so I could not continue learning at high school,” said Dap.

“In the very first days of staying at home, I was so sad to see my peers go to school every day,” Dap said.

But he knew he could not live with the sadness forever and the difficult circumstances motivated him to help himself and his family.

In 1981, Dap applied to learn sewing at a garment workshop in Vu Le Commune.

In the early days, he faced many difficulties. Each seam was not aligned which forced him to try again and again.

But those obstacles did not discourage him. He worked harder and harder and learnt from experienced workers in the workshop.

He also practised at home at the weekend.

With perseverance and determination, Dap became a skilled sewing worker. A few years later, he opened his own tailoring shop which was loved by customers because of his good quality products.

After nearly 35 years of accumulating capital and experience, in 2016, Dap set up the Garment Production and Service of the Disabled Limited Company.

“When I opened the company, I found that doing business was not simple,” Dap said.

“Along with meeting many people and banks for loans, I had to find employees and customers by myself,” said Dap.

“At first, customers and partner enterprises were also sceptical about the quality of products made by a disabled boss and employees,” he said.

Over time, they were gradually convinced by the product quality and the attention to detail of the company’s owner so the orders started flowing in.

After starting with only one workshop in Vu Le Commune with 10 sewing machines and 10 employees, Dap has since opened one more establishment in neighbouring Tra Giang Commune employing dozens of workers who could earn a monthly income of VND6 million (US$260). 

Tutor of disabled people

After four years of operation, Dap started employing people with disabilities.

“For people with disabilities, it is not easy to have a stable job and good income,” he said.

In addition to developing the company, he also provides vocational training for people with disabilities.

The majority of people with disabilities who come to his company are aged from 18 to 30 years old.

Depending on the types of disability and the ability of the workers, Dap puts them into different jobs and teaches them each sewing technique.

Nguyen Duc An, a worker, said: “I am a disabled person so I was struggling to find a job.”

“Last year, I was introduced to Dap’s company and fortunately I was employed,” said An.

“Working at the company, I have more friends in the same situation as me so people understood and sympathised better,” the young man said.

“And more importantly, I can earn money to support myself, partly reducing the burden on my family,” he said.

Like An, when being hired, Nguyen Quy Loc did not know anything about sewing techniques or machines.

With Dap’s tutoring, Loc has mastered the buttoning machine after a year in the workshop.

“He never refuses disabled people coming to the company. He teaches them like they are his children,” said Tran Thi Hanh, who has worked in the company since it opened.

Every day, Dap has to travel more than 50km between the two workshops and is busy with orders but he still spends time tutoring new workers.

“Vocational training is difficult, but training children with disabilities is more difficult,” said Dap.

Some children are underdeveloped intellectually, while others are dumb and deaf, so teaching can be a real challenge.

“If you are not patient, you cannot teach them how to become professional workers,” the director said.

With love and sympathy for people in the same situation, for the past four years, Dap has trained 70 people with disabilities.

“The happiest thing for me is to help people with disabilities have jobs and incomes,” he said.  VNS 

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