Pupils in Quang Binh’s primary schools were eager to answer the questions in the Mine Risk Quiz. The Korea-Vietnam Mine Action Project will continue to continue to regard Mine Risk Education (MRE) as a core activity to encourage children to be educators themselves when returning to their families and communities. Photo: UNDP Vietnam

When I was young, I never thought:
I will be the director of a short film that has been screening until today.
I will be a project staff of UNDP
I am also surprised that these things have come true. It all starts with confidence, the desire to take off.

My story began with a short film making course sponsored by UNDP 4 years ago. During the opening session, what surprised us was that a UNDP leader did not call us as people with disabilities, did not say that we were vulnerable and in need of social assistance. He looked at us and said: You are "special" artists, with lots of emotions and stories to tell. We want to listen.

It’s the time someone believed and understood us so much. When being trusted, we responded with enthusiasm and passion. We are a group of 3 women with disabilities. We choose the topic of single motherhood for our film. The budget was limited, and we only spend time on the weekends or evenings for film making as we all have formal jobs. I am both a director and a main actress, sometimes a camerawoman also. Sometimes we worked hard all day for filming but after going home, we found out that a lot of the scenes are too panicked and shaking. Frustrated crying but did not argue back. We continued working. After 3 months, the film was completed and premiered at the UN building in a cozy atmosphere. Our short film “Diary of mother and daughter” won the Second Prize of the Judges and the Audience Most Favorite Award.

Once I Take Off, I Want Other People To Take Off, too. Not long after that from 2017-2018, I volunteered as a Project Coordinator on a project named "View of people with disabilities". I also call young trainees with disabilities of the project as special artists. 4 films of these special artists have been screened in many places, including universities that make the audience feel love and be moved; the film "When you believe you can, you can " won the Gold Kite Award for the short film category.
All from that trust, I began to dream another dream. Few year later….

Earlier this month, in the white sandy area in Quang Binh, local people saw a very small woman who is working as an interpreter for a big international expert in the area of ​​mines and UXO clearance. That is me - an employee of UNDP of Vietnam-Korea Mine Action project. There, Vietnamese soldiers searched and dealt with the mines left on every square centimeter. Right next to the newly cleared area, I saw a construction work coming up. The local people cheerfully said that only about 1 more year, this place will be a school, a playground for children.
When I go to work on the project site, I often smile. The soldiers asked why in such difficult conditional working, I still smile a lot. I smile again, said: I envision the girls and boys playing freely on the land contaminated with mines and UXO a few years later to become national players. Just thinking like that, how could I stop smiling.

Nguyen Minh Chau on her field trip under Korean-Vietnam Mine Action Project. Photo: UNDP Vietnam

In my life, many times, I watch others take off and, in my heart, I feel desire and a little bit jealous. I want to take off too. I love going to school, study hard and well but many times, I still have to cry in a while and want to drop out of school as I could not stand the mockery, even I was beaten by children younger than me. I graduated from a university, a hard work employee but there are still years of unemployment, meet a lot of challenges in getting a job. However, in the most difficult times, I still believe: even though it's only 1m18 tall, I was born as a gift from my parents' love. If someone recognizes me as a gift as a way of calling me a "special artist" and a UNDP employee like any other colleague, I will be confident and strive to make the gift of myself take off and can help others also to Take Off.

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