About Us

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Our Vision

We seek to realize the full potential of people with all forms of blindness so that they can participate fully in society.

Our Mission

It is our mission to expand possibilities for the blind and visually impaired people through creating employment and providing programs encouraging independence and self-confidence.

Our Values

Empathy, Responsibility, Respect, Tough-Minded Optimism

HISTORY

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In 2012, Mrs. Huong Nguyen received the Humphrey Fellowship from the United States Government, granting her the opportunity to spend a year of non-degree graduate-level study, leadership development, and professional collaboration with U.S counterparts at the University of Minnesota. During her trip to Seattle, organized by the Humphrey Program at the University of Washington, she met Kirk Adams, President of Lighthouse for the Blind, at a dinner in March 2013. This was the first time she had heard about the model of social entrepreneurship, a model designed to adopt a business mindset to address social issues. She was surprised to learn that Lighthouse for the Blind, through its Seattle operations, could produce manufacturing products of such high quality that they could be suppliers of aerospace manufacturers like Boeing, even though it is an organization established for the primary purpose of having a positive social impact. Returning to the hotel with Kirk’s words “Maybe one day you can do something to help the blind people in Vietnam”, Huong started immediately searching for information about the blind in Vietnam and their situation.

While relatively little research has been done to document the plight of the bind in Vietnam, what few figures we have available reflect the difficulties they face in society today. Only 8% of the Vietnamese visually impaired go to school, 15% attend training courses, and 20% have jobs. Most of the Vietnamese blind live dependent on their families, and rarely communicate with others in their communities. They often do not believe in themselves and feel they have little hope for the future.

Historically, massage therapy has been one of the few and best jobs for the blind here in Vietnam. Unfortunately, there has been very little professional training available to them, from either governmental or private sources, for the improvement of their massage techniques, knowledge of anatomy and its relationship to massage, nor of the skills necessary to manage and create a professional and appealing spa environment.

Hence, they typically only work in very humble parlors, earning a paltry income of about $1.00 to $1.5 US per 60-minute session, and are often exposed to physical and sexual abuses. As a corollary, their work is not respected because of society’s prejudice against massage which is often viewed as a form of disguised prostitution. Our director, Ms. Huong Nguyen, who also a Rajawali fellow at Harvard Kennedy School 2014-15, made a decision to leave a promising political career in the Vietnamese government in order to find a way to make a difference. With families and friends supported, she founded BlindLink in May 2013.

As the first and pioneer organization to undertake such an endeavor in this field in Vietnam, BlindLink has chosen to attack the issues by providing the blind with professional and personal development training, creating high value-added jobs working through its Omamori Spa chain. Its stated goal is two-fold. 1) Provide training and suitable professional employment for a growing number of blind people throughout the country. 2) Transform the image of blind therapists and their work, through word-of-mouth and the media, and by example. (We invite you to share your experience with us far and wide.)

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PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

BlindLink offers a host of programs that we make available to the blind community at large. Our programs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to obtain skills need to achieve success in independent life, interact with peers and sighted people in a variety of social situations, to gain knowledge of the working world and to build self-confidence and self-esteem. Core programs include Massage, English Communication, Entrepreneurship, Sexual Assault Prevention, Soft Skills.

OMAMORI SPA CHAIN

BlindLink cooperates with social impact investors to operate a chain of Omamori Spas in Vietnam. In Hanoi, after the coronavirus outbreak, we are running two branches at No. 100 Hàng Trống Str., and No.15/50 Đào Duy Từ Str., both located at the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Since April 2020, Omamori Spa Headquarter is moved from 52A Hàng Bún Street., Hanoi to Hội An, UNESCO World Heritage Site, ideally situated at No. 61 Phan Bội Châu Street, Ancient Town Hội An.

OMAMORI SPA CO-OP

Omamori Spa Co-op is a part of an initiative of Omamori Spa to provide blind therapists trained by our Omamori Spa master teachers the opportunity to gain their independence and become self-employed. They are able to rent beds within an established spa, thereby empowering them to work on their own but with the marketing and administrative support of a respected organization.

Our Ex-Students' Massage Studios

A number of our highly talented ex-students and employees have established their own successful massage studios. Some are as follow: Himawari Spa is a five-bed studio in the former first location of Omamori Spa at 102 B1 Ngo 5, Huynh Thuc Khang Street, run by Ms. Nguyen Thi Viet Chinh, a completely blind and highly talented female therapist. Tel: 0986 801 836. Mr. Thắng massage studio locates at Ngo 12 Lang Ha, Room 206, H2, Tap the Thanh Cong, Hanoi. Tel: 0917 893 486. Massage Ms. Hằng 108 An Dương, Yên Phụ, Tây Hồ, Hà Nội is run by the female visually impaired therapist Mai Thuý Hằng. Zenmori Spa 35 Ngõ Huyện, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội owned by visually impaired male therapist Phạm Huy. Anh Tú Spa at 196/1 Nguyễn Sơn, Bồ Đề, Long Biên, Hà Nội owned by the visually impaired male therapist Nguyễn Anh Tú. Blind-Link has also provided massage training for blind therapists and helped with setting up the massage studio in Dao’s care, at Hoang Hoa Tham street, Hanoi in 2016.

White Cane Initiative for the Blind in Vietnam

BlindLink is the pioneer for promoting independent and safe mobility for blind people in Vietnam. We delivered free white canes to the Vietnamese blind since our establishment in 2013. After years of BlindLink's endless efforts to raise social awareness about the importance of the white cane as a supporting tool for free mobility of the blind people in Vietnam, on December 5, 2019, Minister Nguyen Chi Dung of the Ministry of Planning & Investment launched a ceremony to announce the ministry's public service program and the Initiative " White Cane for the Vietnamese Blind". The event is organized by the Ministry of Planning & Investment in collaboration with BlindLink and the Vietnam Blind Association, the Training & Rehab Center for the Vietnamese Blind. The Initiative's goal is to deliver 1 million canes to ensure all blind people in Vietnam have access to a white cane for safe mobility and independence. Sign up to receive the white cane as a form: https://bom.to/g5HoQ
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