Since we really missed our school, home, Sisters, teachers and friends so much, the atmosphere before the gathering what taking place at 3:00 p.m. on December 3rd, 2021 was already hot with the sound of our laughs and greetings.
At 3:00 p.m, Aunt Van Nga, coordinator of the Social service of the Congregation, introduced the members of the meeting. The meeting had the attendence of leaders, sisters, teachers, parents and students of agencies for the blind. Aunt told the students: “I want all of you turn off your microphones as we begin to pray to start the meeting. You are allowed to turn on your mics when you are offered to give your answers. Do you know how the blind turn off their microphones?”. The students quickly answered: “Press Ctrl + D!”. This showed that it seemed to be no difference between the blind students and normal ones. After the prayer, Mr. Minh turned questions to students in turn:
– Mr. Minh: Do you know the reason of the meeting today?
– A student “raised his hand”: Yah, today we’re celebrating the International Day of People with Disabilities.
– Mr. Minh: The International Day of People with Disabilities was set on December 3rd, 1992 by the United Nations (UN). Well, how many anniversaries of this day have been celebrated so far?
– Student: Yah, there have been 29 anniversaries.
– Mr. Minh: According to the report of the World Health Organization (WHO), the current rate of the people with disabilities around the world is more than 10%. So, if the world population today was 10 billion, how many the disabled people would we have?
– Student: Yah, there would be more than one billion people with disabilities around the world.
– Mr. Minh: We have talked much about people with disabilities. Can you tell me who the people with disabilities are?
– Student: Yah, people with disabilities are people whose bodies are imperfect of some parts, compared with those of ones without disabilities.
– Mr. Minh: So, what are their priviledges?
– Student: People with disabilities have all priviledges like normal people. In particular, they have rights to go to school and receive respect, concern and nourishment from other people.
– Mr. Minh: Do you know what always goes with priviledge?
– Student: Responsibility always goes with priviledge.
– Mr. Minh: So, what are the responsibilities of people with disabilities?
Thinking in a few minutes, a student said: “The disabled people must comply with the law. They also have to achieve good education, have determination and enthusiasm in taking part in the development of community and society”.
– Mr. Minh: Who can name some of people with disabilities that are the good examples of determination?
Right at that moment, the “heat” of the meeting reached the climax. The achievements of the people with disabilities contributing to the society were gradually shown through the “Ask-Answer” conversation between the teacher and his students. The students would be able to learn many useful things from good examples such as Louis Braille, Helen Keller, Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Nguyen Ngoc Ky,… And then, Mr. Minh ended the meeting by saying: “Sister Tram has noted down the names of students who answered today. And the awards for them are ‘little’ phonecards for their phone accounts”. Everyone gave loud applause…
All the things happened above were the scenes of a meeting organized by the Sisters of the Thu Duc Congregation of Lovers of the Holy Cross with 223 participants. The meeting was obviously held online due to the Corona virus pandemic. This was a meeting that both teachers and students with disabilities talked about people with disabilities. It is suprisingly amazing, isn’t it? Yes, we are people with vision impairment.
To provide the equal opportunities for students with and without disabilities, our Aunts and teachers have taken care and taught us with their love. Love will be answered by love. Love is the nature that always exists in anyone of us and does not depend on our physical status. And more importantly, love is never enough. Therefore, the students have been given love and then they will give it away in their daily life.
I would like to end this writing with the topic sentence of the Holy Father’s message on the International Day of People with Disabilities, which was listened after the initial praying: “You are My friends”. We, the disabled, are friends of Jesus Christ, which means we are loved and have duty of spreading His love.
It’s true that if we have a heart without love inside healthy bodies, we are ‘disabled’ souls. And this is a frightening thing!
(Diễm Hạnh)

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