Omamori Spa is the chosen model introduced in the global "Social Initiative" project of the Ministry of Labor of Taiwan. A brief introduction was posted on Social Economic Development Web Portal of the Government of Taiwan.
"Cultivate employment for the visually impaired and embrace a bright future-Blind-Link helps the visually impaired to regain autonomy and self-confidence
Blind-Link helps the visually impaired in Vietnam to learn a skill, establish independent ability and smooth employment through functional training, employment assistance and media voice creation, etc., thereby changing the public's stereotype of the visually impaired and allowing them to better integrate Society, fulfill its potential, regain self-confidence and a better life.
Blind-Link, established in 2013, is the first non-profit organization in Vietnam that aims to help the visually impaired find employment. When the founder Huong Nguyen was studying in the United States, she saw the amazing effectiveness of Seattle's "The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc." (The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.) in solving employment and life problems for the local visually impaired. It was decided to use the operating model of social enterprises to improve the plight of the visually impaired in Vietnam.
Huong Nguyen found that the visually impaired people in Vietnam not only have great obstacles in work, mobility and other life aspects, but the general public has a very limited understanding of the life of the visually impaired, and there are few specialized agencies to provide systematic help. Among them, what surprised her most is that even the necessary tool for helping the visually impaired to "go out": the white cane (guide stick) is in short supply in Vietnam. Huong Nguyen said: "Here, resources to help the visually impaired find employment and live independently are extremely scarce. Most visually impaired people need family assistance to live a life. They rarely communicate with other people in the community. Most of them do not. Believe in yourself, there is almost no hope for the future."
Therefore, Huong Nguyen decided to establish Blind-Link to provide social support services for the visually impaired in Vietnam in terms of professional training, employment, and life, and become an important promoter and backing for helping them get out of their predicament and change their lives. In order to achieve this goal, Blind-Link has planned several strategic goals and directions, including creating job opportunities through the establishment of a profitable and highly competitive business model; creating a safe working environment; helping the visually impaired develop professional capabilities, and supporting the visually impaired. People with disabilities live independently and integrate into society; finally, change the society’s perceptions and attitudes towards the visually impaired, and let everyone work together to promote more programs to help the visually impaired rebuild their lives.
Combining vocational training and employment, establishing Omamori Spa
After careful evaluation, Huong Nguyen and Blind-Link decided to start with massage, which is the most suitable profession for the visually impaired, but she soon discovered that the local visually impaired massage industry in Vietnam is not only not regulated by the government, but also There is no relevant professional training mechanism. This situation has made the visually impaired massage a high-risk industry in Vietnam for a long time. Most of the visually impaired people engaged in massage are in low wages and poor working conditions, and there is no guarantee and no future. Let employment and life fall into a deeper circular trough.
In order to improve this dilemma, Blind-Link resolutely invested in the massage market in Hanoi, creating a social enterprise specifically for the visually impaired-massage spa Omamori Spa. Omamori Spa provides a learning field that integrates vocational training and employment for the visually impaired to help them enter the workplace smoothly and cultivate the ability to live independently. At the same time, through interpersonal interaction at work, they can enhance their self-confidence and successfully integrate into social life. Omamori Spa focuses on mid-to-high-priced professional massage services, trying to change the negative impression and perception that Vietnam’s visually impaired massage has long been cheap and messy. For this reason, Omamori Spa specially designed various free vocational training courses for its students to meet its needs. Business needs, including massage skills, English conversation, business management, gender-friendly workplace education, and communication skills, etc., so that the visually impaired can provide customers with truly professional and high-level massage services.
There is love in society and life is unimpeded. Start the White Cane Project
Blind-Link not only helps the visually impaired learn work skills and get a successful job, but it also promotes the "White Cane (Guiding Blind Cane) Project" to try to improve the mobility of the visually impaired in Vietnam in daily life, so as to enhance the general public in Vietnam. Knowledge and understanding of the visually impaired. For hundreds of years, the white cane has long been a necessary tool and symbol for the visually impaired to realize the autonomy of life. Without a white cane, the visually impaired will not only suffer inconvenience in life but also greatly weaken their courage to step out of the house. However, Huong Nguyen found that there is an extreme shortage of white canes that can be used by the visually impaired in Vietnam. Even if they can be found, not only is there no one to teach the correct way to use it, but the price is also not affordable for the general visually impaired. For this reason, Blind-Link has continued to promote the "White Cane Project" since 2013. It is hoped that all visually impaired people in Vietnam will have their own white cane in the future to increase their courage to step into society and interact with others.
The "White Cane Project" seeks the understanding and support of all sectors of society and raises sponsorship funds to give free white canes to the visually impaired. At the same time, it also designs a set of "mobile safety and white cane usage training courses" to teach the recipients How to use the white cane also created an opportunity for them to communicate with each other. The "White Cane Project" opens a window to freedom for the visually impaired in Vietnam. At the same time, it also enhances the public’s awareness and recognition of the white cane, so that ordinary people can easily distinguish between the white cane and the visually impaired. Provide corresponding assistance to the visually impaired from time to time to strengthen the support of the community.
After years of hard work, the series of actions of Blind-Link have also successfully attracted the attention of Vietnamese officials to the visually impaired. On December 5, 2019, the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam officially launched a sponsorship plan for the "White Cane Project" and offered to Blind -Link donated about 13,000 white canes and set a specific long-term goal of "ensure that all visually impaired people in Vietnam can obtain white canes" so that the society can begin to see and pay attention to the actual needs of the visually impaired, and the rights and interests of the visually impaired Promotion is of great significance.
Create a more comprehensive career development from majors, employment to entrepreneurship
Omamori Spa, established by Blind-Link, has now become a well-known and widely acclaimed massage place. Omamori Spa has not only gradually changed the perception of the massage industry in Vietnam but also opened up a bright career for the visually impaired. Development path. At present, Omamori Spa and the Vietnam Association for the Blind have conducted professional massage training courses for more than 300 visually impaired persons, and 40 trainees went directly to Omamori Spa to work after the training; in addition, many trainees went to Hanoi after the training or Returning to my hometown to open my own massage center, starting a new chapter in life from a staff member to being a boss.
However, the Ministry of Labor of our country has always spared no effort to help the visually impaired and other persons with disabilities in employment. Over the years, it has not only actively cooperated with non-governmental organizations to promote various employment programs for the disabled but also strengthened the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Protect the employment rights of the disabled so that they can also have equal and free career development opportunities. In the "Survey on the Labor Status of People with Disabilities" conducted by the Ministry of Labor in May 108, it can be found that indicators such as the number of employees with disabilities, labor force participation rate, unemployment rate, and regular wages have continued to improve over the years. Related work shows results. In Vietnam, where the visually impaired people are in a more difficult situation in their education and employment (on average, only 8% have gone to school, about 15% have participated in vocational courses, and about 20% have been employed), Blind-Link has successfully helped the visually impaired to rebuild their careers The bright experience has also given Taiwan related social enterprise development and the career reconstruction of the visually impaired, it has provided a lot of reference and borrowings on the combination of professionalism, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Our vision is to enable all types of visually impaired people to integrate into society and realize their potential.
~ By Huong Nguyen
Blind-Link has created Omamori Spa, a social enterprise for the visually impaired. (Provided by Omamori Spa)
Huong Nguyen, founder of Blind-Link. (Provided by Omamori Spa)