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Disabled Child Wins International Art Competition

Nguyen Thanh Tuyen
VINH LONG — Six year-old Nguyen Thanh Tuyen’s step-grandmothers never believed their adopted grandchild would become an internationally recognised artist.

After all, it seemed there were hobbies better-suited to a child with two fingers on each hand and two toes on each foot.

The judges of the Sixth Enikki International Children’s Painting Contest were surprised to learn that the gold medal winner was the only deformed child in the competition.

The contest, A painting diary, was organised by the Mitsubishi committee for public matters, the Confederation of UNESCO Associations and Clubs in the Asia-Pacific region and the Festival of Asian Children’s Art in Japan.

The cheerful girl, who looks smaller than her age, came home from a drawing lesson while Viet Nam News spoke to one of her step grandmothers, nurse Le Cam Van.

"There was a solar eclipse in 1995 when a man brought a tiny little infant to our hospital’s obstetric department," nurse Van recalls.

The man later told doctors that he had found the infant floating on a river in Vinh Long town. After saving the orphan, the doctors decided to raise her. Two single nurses, Van and Nguyen Thi Ly Huong, adopted the child. An American charity programme for children supported them with a monthly allowance of VND250,000 that will end this year.

"We were worried about her hands, but we were so relieved when she started holding a pen and crayon – when she was able to write and draw at the kindergarten. Now in second grade, Tuyen is doing well in school," nurse Van said proudly.

Tuyen is too young to understand what is so special about her five prized paintings, titled I am studying, Mid Autumn Festival celebration, Visiting My Thuan Bridge, Kite flying and Helping a wounded soldier cross the street.

Of course, they demonstrate something special or they would not have made it past the provincial painting contest for children aged from six to 12, nor the national assessment held by the Art Department of the Ministry of Culture and Information, nor would they have finally beat the participants from 23 countries in the world.

Tuyen is looking forward to meeting with other children in Japan where she is heading to receive the prize. Tuyen, who dreams of becoming a teacher, said that she has just learned a few songs that she intends to sing for her friends in Japan. — VNS

Reprinted with permission from VietNam News.


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