”Nothing is as real as a dream. The world can change around you, but your dream will not. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it. Because the dream is within you, no one can take it away.” – Tom Clancy

There is a 27-year-old girl who lives in a remote mountainous area in Hue, Vietnam, with her 67-year-old mother. She is unable to move, do regular activities by herself and has trouble speaking because of her disability. The only one standing by her side is the frail old mother who takes care of her every day. Huynh Thi Thanh has a curled-up body, deformed limbs and is unable to move right from birth.

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Thanh has a beautiful dream to draw with her feet and sell her art to support her mother in daily expenses. Her mother is the only support that she has. She takes care of her every day by feeding, giving her water, washing and much more. She never lets Thanh out of her sight.

Thanh can’t control her limbs to perform daily activities, so she just lies on the floor and uses her feet to grab the crayons to draw. The pictures she draws are innocent, optimistic, full of color, and depict a happy family that Thanh didn’t have. However, she draws them with a variety of emotions. Her feet work magically as she uses them to grab crayons between her toes while her body is twisted. It’s hard and painful to see that.

Once her mother asked her, “Why do you draw these pictures?” To which the girl replied, “I want to help you to buy rice, fix the house and much more.” Sometimes her mother pretends that her pictures are sold for thousands of VND to motivate her to live and spread happiness every day.

Her mother used to participate in youth volunteer organizations and was exposed to Agent Orange without being aware of it. When she had twins, Thanh’s sister passed away because of the disease she has.

I said farewell to this girl after a short visit and then thought to myself, “How is this girl going to live when her mother is no longer alive? Will her dream of becoming an artist continue?” My heart aches and the tears flow. I hope that good things will come into this girl’s life one day.