I am lucky to be born in a happy family. I always receive respect and belief from all members of my family that make me forget my disability. At age 6, I was too young to recognize what deafness is. I grew up and just knew the only one thing: study.
I remembered, my high school former teacher said that "You are lucky to be hard of hearing so you can concentrate in your study highly". Although never daring him, I thought in my mind I would study better if I had a good hearing.
After graduating from university in Ho Chi Minh City, I came back to my parents' house in province which was far from the city about 3 hours by car. At that very time, my parents detected that how deaf I was. As you see, during my schooling time, high school or university, I had studied very well while my parents paid much attention to their business. They found many good doctors to treat my hearing loss but regardless the money spent my hearing did not get any better.
Six years after graduated university, I decided not to use medicine any more and ask my parents' permission to go to work. There were not a lot of jobs in the province where my family resided. Finally, I employed by a Chinese company and they chose me because I was a daughter of foreign affair manager of Provincial Chinese Association rather than a chemical engineer. The laboratory where I worked as technician just had two persons my Chinese chief, who could speak Vietnamese and me. I soon found the job was not difficult, because there were not many works here. Unfortunately, The Chinese Company was run unprofitable I was again unemployment.
Accepting disability but not fate
During the unemployment time, I helped my parents to run their photograph shop and read English book as much as I could. Sometimes, I was really sad and did not know what I study English for. I accepted my hearing loss but not fate. I strongly believed that someday I would find a suitable job to me. My efforts proved worthwhile, I got a job and worked as Lab technician at Petrochemical Technique Company. Experiencing from the former interview, I didn't say anything about my hearing loss. No longer after I got the job, my co-workers knew I got hearing problem, because I did not hear and responded to the phone in my room. There were three chiefs in my company: a Chief Executive Officer, a Quality Assurance Manger and a Chief of Laboratory. After that incident one of my chiefs said that "I thought too much about your circumstance and would try to find a suitable task for you, so that you could overcome your disability and showed all your capability ". He reassigned me to Research and Development Department, which meant I must read and translate English materials into Vietnamese and experiment with the outcome products, etc...
Obviously, the period of independent studies helped me. I worked my tasks on day time and at night time. The other two chiefs didn't accept the transferring me to research and development department. They were the founders of the company, so they wanted to take the credit for that and did not want anyone take advantage of that. Therefore, I tried to arrange my time so that I could test samples in the morning and translate materials in the afternoon and at night. I was worried about the noxious environment in the laboratory. I also recognized that I could not workout side the Lab and I could not reach a higher position which less harmful because of my hearing loss.
Finding job is easy but having a suitable job is extremely difficult
I liked translation and thought that it's suitable to me. I started to think about a new job - translator or a certain job which I could work independently. It's true that via self-studying English, I just could translate materials from English into Vietnamese. I realized my risking but I had no way else to choose. Fortunately, a director of overseas education company where I applied for a position of translator, who was looking for employees with disabilities, accepted my application. After the interview, I got a new job. I was the first employee with hearing loss and without Bachelor's Degree in English in her company. The first month is my terrible time, studying, reading and translating English. Starting from sample material and trying to translate exactly. Gradually, I required to be assigned complex documents. When I felt confident in my job, I asked for harder tasks, translate Vietnamese into English.
Maybe, human nature likes to innovate and improve, and mine as well. After three years of working in overseas education company, documents followed around familiar contents and I didn't learn any more. In my company, besides translators, there were recruitment officers who worked consultancy and preparation of application package to submit to Consulate General. This position was leisured, easily, and better but answering the phone was forced to me. How I could do it. I was lucky again, knowing Mr. Johan Hammarstrom and his project, World Fight for Hearing (WFH). After participating in the WFH, I saw my future - a dream job ? working for Deaf Community.
A dream job
I now working as a social worker for Disability Resource and Development (DRD) and as a President of Ho Chi Minh Deaf Association (HAD) with over 120 members including Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened.
"Only people with disabilities are professors on disable field". As a hard of hearing person, I profoundly understand what I need from others to be able to communicate with each others, when and how I can hear well. I also experienced to study and work with hearing people and can share my experiences to my hard of hearing or Late-Deafened clients specifically and persuasively.
With Deaf people, of course, it was very difficult and took me a lot of time to understand deaf people. At first, I thought "I like to be respected regardless of my hearing loss and they do too." I am lucky to have good educational attainment but they are not. I can speak but they can't. They need my help and I love them so much. All are my experiences.
As a supervisor, when working with hard of hearing, I just give some suggestions and they can do well. While working with deaf people, I must play a deaf role and do activities with them. I must be patient and recognize what they don't understand me due to their low educational attainment or difficulties in communication. And one more challenge is studying sign language.
When you find out the signification of your job, you will show all the capabilities and responsibilities that gives the best working experience.
Duong Phuong Hanh, Vietnam
Thank you very much for sharing your article and difficulties of life you"ve faced here i could make my daughter and son to read it to make them strong enough to face this tough world ofcompetition.Yes you are disabled but if one is strong everything ispossible.You"ve done after hardship but you"ve gained what a normal person also cant get at times. congragulate you for it and letting us know through your article that if there is a will there is a way.I will make my children gain confidence from this thanks and regards god bless you with more energy so that you do maore good things.
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