Medipeace is currently conducting the 'Sharing and Dream' project in Quang Tri Province, Central Vietnam. It aims to provide psychological support services to mothers of children with disabilities and establish a sustainable psychological support system within the local community. Last year, psychological assessments were conducted on caregivers of children with disabilities, revealing that more than 300 caregivers needed psychological therapy. Therefore, the project currently provides group psychotherapy to 150 caregivers five times a year. Today, we interviewed two mothers who started psychotherapy in May. We will hear about their lives as mothers of children with disabilities and their impressions of participating in psychotherapy. The interview was conducted on July 11, 2023, in Yeongin Hyun, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, by Hoang Thi Thuy Nhung, a staff member of Medipeace Vietnam branch.
[▲ Photo: On the right is Le Vu Vien Phuong, on the left is Village Health Worker]
Q. Nice to meet you. Please introduce yourselves to the readers in Korea, especially to Medipeace sponsors.
Le Vu Vien Phuong (Le): Hello. I am Le Vu Vien Phuong. I live with my two children in Gio Linh Hyuen, Quang Tri Province. My daughter has hearing impairment and is currently studying at Quang Tri Special School.
Tran Thi Thom (Tran): Nice to meet you. I am Tran Thi Thom. I live with my family in Yehai Township, Quang Tri Province. I make a living selling things near my home, and I have a fifteen-year-old son with a disability.
Q. How did you come to know about Medipeace?
Le: Since 2015, my daughter has been attending the Yeongin Rehabilitation Center, where I learned about Medipeace. We received rehabilitation therapy services and support for improving our living environment, which allowed us to repair our home.
Tran: My son has been attending the Yehai Day Care Center since it opened, and that's how I learned about Medipeace. We received rehabilitation therapy services from them.
Q. Both of you have come into contact with Medipeace through receiving rehabilitation therapy services for your children. We can imagine that raising a child with a disability is not easy and can be quite stressful. When do you often feel stressed or depressed in your daily life?
Le: When my daughter was younger, I had to take care of her all day, so I couldn't earn money to support our livelihood. I felt lost, not knowing how to improve my child's disability while taking care of her all day long. I didn't know how to overcome these difficulties, which led to a lot of stress.
Tran: My son has never been able to perform daily activities on his own. This has been the most despairing and exhausting problem for me.
Q. Just listening to your stories, I can feel how much stress and despair you must have experienced as loving parents of children with disabilities. How do you cope with this stress?
Le: When I take my daughter to the Yeongin Rehabilitation Center, I meet other parents of children with disabilities and talk to them. We share our experiences of raising children with disabilities and exchange rehabilitation methods. I applied the methods I learned to my daughter, and her condition improved positively. Seeing my daughter getting better makes me happy, and being able to empathize and understand with people in similar situations is comforting.
Tran: To relieve stress, I participate in social activities and communicate with others. I attend education programs for caregivers, learning how to teach my son to perform daily activities on his own. When I mingle with others and talk about my problems, I feel better. Every day, I encourage myself with the belief that my son's condition will improve. I teach my son how to perform daily activities step by step, and when he accomplishes even a small step on his own, I feel extremely happy.
Q. I'm glad that both of you have found your ways to cope with stress. The 'Sharing and Dream' project supports group psychotherapy to provide effective help to caregivers who experience similar difficulties as you do. I'm curious about your impressions of participating in group psychotherapy.
Tran: The atmosphere during therapy allows participating caregivers to empathize and support each other, making me feel comfortable and happy after each session. Moreover, I learned many practical skills during therapy that I can apply to my daily life, which has been very helpful.
Le: Participating in this program gave me the opportunity to make friends with other caregivers who are in similar situations. Seeing others facing similar difficulties made me realize that I am not alone in this journey, which gave me the motivation to keep going. I also learned how to set and achieve goals through therapy, which makes me feel more confident. Every time I receive therapy, I feel more comfortable and happier.
[▲ Photo: Tran Thi Thom(in the Center), On both sides are members of the psychological support committee.]
Q. It's heartwarming to hear that you both found support and strength through connecting with other caregivers in group psychotherapy. What changes would you like to make through continued therapy in the future?
Le: I want to learn more psychological knowledge to improve my mental well-being. As my confidence grows, I believe I will be able to take better care of my child and help him integrate into society more effectively. I hope to continue participating in programs like this.
Tran: Through this program, I have made new friends, learned psychological knowledge, and improved my emotional state. I hope to gain more confidence and become more positive. When I am more comfortable, I can take better care of my family, and that will make my life happier. I also want to share the experiences and knowledge I gained through the program with others who need help.
⭕ The mothers participating in group psychotherapy in the 'Sharing and Dream' project shared their candid experiences of facing life's challenges. Research has shown that parents of children with disabilities experience more psychological exhaustion and isolation compared to parents of non-disabled children. Both of them expressed that the group psychotherapy program provided them with empathy and support from fellow caregivers, which significantly contributed to their emotional well-being.
Support for mothers of children with disabilities is essential to ensure the well-being and healthy development of the children. Medipeace and the 'Sharing and Dream' project team will continue to do their best to support the mental health and happiness of these mothers. They ask for continued interest and support from readers and Medipeace sponsors to enable even more efforts in the 'Sharing and Dream' project.
🚩 This 'Sharing and Dream' project is supported by Samsung Electronics and Fruit of Love.