On March 17, 2018, the Vietnam Foundation (VNF) and the Talking Books for the Blind Foundation co-organized a scholarship event in which VNF granted 48 scholarships and 16 specialized laptops without screen to blind college students in Ho Chi Minh City.
VNF scholarships for blind college students in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) became an annual and well-recognized scholarship program since its establishment in 2008. The scholarship program was established to financially support and award blind students in HCMC who pursue college study. Each scholarship amounts to 5 million Vietnamese dong, equivalent to USD 220.
This year, 48 students met the requirements of the program, of which 16 students applied the scholarship for the first time. Most of them are from underprivileged families in Central and Southern provinces. However, they all share a desire to pursue higher education for a better future. They chose to study pedagogy, music, and psychological counseling. Many of scholarship recipients have been supported by the Sun Flower scholarship program for their full four years at university. Our investment into education has brought us profit since many of the graduates can get a job and earn living by themselves to raise their own family. Some graduates have contributed to their community by becoming a teacher to teach and inspire the younger generation or becoming a community leader to help other disadvantaged people. Their career and life achievements and influence provide the strong motivation for VNF to continue sponsoring the Sunflower Scholarship Program.
2018 is the second year VNF awarded the 360-laptop-without-screen to the blind students. The 360 Machine is an innovative laptop without a screen, designed by us for blind users, but has an option for sighted users via a connector cable to a typical TV screen. This device has all the features of a computer, and everything fits inside a portable keyboard. Previously, because of expensive cost for a normal laptop, VNF set the requirement of GPA equal to or above 7.0 to receive the laptop award. Now with this innovation, each 360 Machine costs only USD 110 so we can afford to give more laptops to blind students who haven’t been awarded. This support will facilitate their study and research at school and improve their contact with the global community.