Located at 272 Tran Cao Van Street in the central city of Da Nang, “Amina spa cafe” has become a popular venue for coffee fans thanks to its comfortable environment and the enthusiastic staff who are mostly people with hearing impairments.

The coffee bar is a special gift from Nguyen Thi Minh Hai to the disadvantaged to help them support themselves.

Hai, 55, who once worked as managing director at many big hotels in Da Nang , decided to open the shop after visiting the municipal association of the disabled.

During her visit she heard about a newly-established club of about 50 hearing impaired people aged between 18 and 35, with many living in difficulty.

Knowing that Bach Dang road along Han River is where the group often gather, Hai asked the club’s manager to bring them to her home every Friday night.

Participating in all the meetings at the club, she gradually won their hearts.

“Although I do not understand all the sign language they exchange among each other, their desire to better themselves is so visible in their eyes and gestures,” Hai said.

It makes her determined to do something for these unfortunate people, to help them master their lives.

With knowledge and experience in hotel management, she taught those willing to learn how to make beverages and equipped them with spa skills.

The biggest hurdle was the communication barrier, Hai said. At first she invited an interpreter of sign language to join her classes and then tried to study sign language herself.

Her efforts paid off, her first seven students mastered all the skills after four months.

However, she wondered how she could give the students a stable job after they finish the training classes. By the end of 2012, she and her family decided to turn their house into a spa and coffee shop.

Since its inception, the shop has become a gathering place for both the hearing impaired and other people in the city.

“They received their first salary during this Tet holiday. This is a great encouragement to all of us,” Hai said.

Although Hai knows many difficulties are ahead, she strongly believes the model will work.

Meanwhile, in Thuan Phuoc ward, Hai Chau district of the same city, people are familiar with the image of a woman in her sixties pushing a dust cart with the slogan “Collecting waste to grant scholarships to poor children.”

Vo Thi Hong Duc started the work more than two years ago, with the aim to contribute to the “Green Dream” fund launched by the Hai Chau women’s association to help poor children who do not have the opportunity to go to school.

Duc, who was once the headmaster of Binh Minh kindergarten in the ward, is now head of the local women’s association.

With 37 years in the education sector, she knows what the difficulties are for poor children who have to work at a very young age to earn money for school.

In response to the campaign launched by the women’s association in Thuan Phuoc ward, Duc encouraged other members to register for the pilot scheme. She herself volunteered to be the first to collect waste.

With the support of many households in the area, she earns about 1 million VND selling waste each month.

So far, more than 20 poor children with outstanding academic achievements have benefited from her association.

Duc has also called on her members to collect school books and clothes for families living in difficulty.

Her model has spread across Thuan Phuc ward, helping not only poor children but women in difficulty and welfare beneficiaries.-VNA