A photobook of more than 100 black-and-white images of children has been produced by a local photographer to raise funds for Ho Chi Minh City's Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for Blind Children and visually impaired students living in poor provinces.

The photos by Tran The Phong, now on display at the school, show beautiful moments of visually impaired children at study, play and at home.

"My photography aims to encourage people to give more to children who have visual impairments. Most of them are from poor families and live in difficult conditions," said Phong, a member of the city's Photographers Association.

Some of the black-and-white photos, including Tinh Ban (Friendship) and Hon Nhien (Innocence), depict happy and smiling chidlren.

Phong's photobook, Vuot Qua Bong Toi (Crossing the Dark), promotes a message of love and compassion.

"I want to support these kids so they can live more confidently and be happy," said Phong, who spent several months on the project.

The photos used in the exhibit will be donated to students and teachers at the school.

Sponsored by the South African Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, the photobook is being sold to raise funds to help Nguyen Dinh Chieu's students and disadvantaged, visually impaired children in poor provinces.

"Phong's photos left a very strong impression on our teachers who have worked hard to provide their kids with love, caring and training," said Ha Thanh Van, headmaster of Nguyen Dinh Chieu School, who has taught disadvantaged children for more than 20 years.

"Although Phong's photos are in black and white, we can see a colourful rainbow in his art," she added.

Van said the school was struggling financially to improve its facility.

More than 200 blind children aged six to 23 from the southern region of the country attend the school, which has 20 classes from the elementary to junior-high level.

Lessons are taught in Braille or by audio cassettes. Fees are 100,000 VND to more than 250,000 VND a month, except for poor children whose families cannot afford to pay.

The 30 teachers, who are all well-qualified, receive a monthly salary of 2 million VND (96 USD).

"The task of teaching the children is not an easy one. We teach them maths, music and painting, reading and writing, but it is equally important to understand and prepare them for life in society," said Van.

The special exhibit at the school is open every day from 8am to 6pm and ends on May 2.-VNA