If anyone thinks that a barrier exists between children with disabilities and those who have none, they are mistaken.

In fact, most children see those with disabilities as potential friends with whom they can have fun.

On September 19, a gathering of around 100 kids testified to this feeling.

The evening gathering was held as part of Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival), which is a children's festival and falls on the full-moon day of the eighth lunar month.

The gathering took place in the yard of a mansion in District 10 where the Disability Resource and Development is based. The DRD (also stands for Doi Rat Dep) in Vietnamese, meaning Life is Beautiful is a local non-governmental organisation providing support to disadvantaged people.

Visually and hearing-impaired, mentally impaired and autistic children mingled with others from nearby neighbourhoods. They ranged in age from five to 13.

The enclosed yard was fully packed with children. Their boisterous laughter enlivened the space, while their hands were gesticulating wildly.

The kids also spilled onto the passage in the front, which was roofed to provide more space for kids during a lantern-making competition.

They were divided into 20 groups of five and provided with bamboo frames, cellophane of various colours, rayon, scissors and glue to build their own lanterns.

Twenty colourful lanterns of different shapes, most of them lovely animals like rabbit, peacock, swan, bird along with stars and flowers, were hung up in the air after they were completed.

"I wish that all of my friends were as gorgeous as swans in the Mid-Autumn Eve," explained one member of a group, describing the significance of their works to the jury.

All of the kids in the groups held conferences to discuss the significance of their lanterns, according to Nguyen Thi Loi, a fourth-year student specialising in social work at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

"We just gave them some hints, like what a flower or heart means," she said.

Loi and dozens of other volunteer students were assigned to supervise and support groups of kids.

A flower lantern represented the children's dream to have a beautiful flower to celebrate the festival, while a house-shaped lantern conveyed wishes to live in happiness.

"Every wing of this five-wing star represents each of us, as they have our fingerprints on them," explained one child about his group's work. "It means that when we join hands together, we can make a brilliant star."

Tran Thi Ngoc Anh, who is 10 years old and lives nearby, observed that the children with disabilities had "fun to the max".

"I approached a cute-looking girl and asked her name," she added. "But she just turned back and gesticulated with her hands."

"Even though she knows that I do not understand her language, she did try to reply," she said.

Nguyen Ngoc Ha, 15, who listens and speaks with difficulty and lives at Binh Thanh District's Hy Vong (Hope) School for hearing-impaired kids, said she tried to win the highest prize with her group's lantern, which was in the shape of a fish in the paddy field.

"We love to sing and dance," said Ha, who performed dances and songs to celebrate the moon and legendary figures who live on it.

The party, performances of lovely songs and dances, a fashion show and parade with lighted lanterns were activities that spiced up a fabulous evening for the kids.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh, a teacher of Hy Vong School who accompanied some kids, said hearing-impaired children were hungry to mix and have fun with other children.

"They rarely set foot out of school, so they never want to miss a chance like this."/.