Disabled artisans shine in Hue teahouse project

Published: 09/05/2011 05:00



non-profit organisation that has a shop selling eco-friendly products made by
disabled artisans in Hue city has opened a tea room there.

Healing the Wounded
Heart, SPIRAL Foundation’s fair-trade shop located on Vo Thi Sau Street, sells
products made using recycled materials and traditional Vietnamese textiles.

The shop has now
expanded to include the tea room and a patio where tourists can relax and enjoy
a cup of tea.

“It is a truly special
place: it is not only a relaxing escape from busy Hue, it also supports a
wonderful cause,” the founder of SPIRAL Foundation, Marichia Simcik Arese, said.

“Our staff are
disabled and so HWH provides them vocational training and employment.”

HWH donates half of
its income to fund heart surgeries. In this manner, they are no longer
“disabled” but are empowered to give to those who are even more in need, she

HWH’s Tea Room serves
Hue teas, including some unique ones like flower tea, which has edible fruits
and flowers, Hue me xung (sesame sweets), and some other local snacks.

The staffs have been
trained in traditional Vietnamese tea ceremonies to make the tea room authentic,
Arese said.

“The majority of the
staff are hearing impaired but are incredibly talented at communicating with
visitors,” she said.

“They’re proud of
their work and enthusiastic about explaining HWH’s cause and accomplishments.

HWH was set up in
co-operation with the Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy’s Office of Genetic
Counseling and Disabled Children and the two have provided work for disabled and
disadvantaged workers since 2003.

It opened the shop in

Products made by the
artists are also sold at SPIRAL Foundation fundraisers and retail outlets in the
US and in some local hotels.

HWH currently employs
16 disabled artisans in Hue, providing them not only work but also medical
insurance, housing, a daily meal, and a recreational allowance.

The majority of them
are hearing-impaired and receive training in tailoring, basket weaving, and
other crafts.

Nam News

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