Meeting Francis Xavier Nguyen Cong Hung for the first time, many people would probably not believe he is an IT expert who has created opportunities for and changed the lives of hundreds of disabled people. That’s because Hung is severely disabled himself. Hung, who only weighs just over 10 kilograms, has been paralyzed since he was a child and is bedridden. This has meant he has had to rely on others to look after him and take care of his daily needs. His main source of contact with the outside world is a computer which he operates using a mouse and his index finger. Having to rely heavily on computers, Hung studied IT and soon became an expert in the field with the help of a Catholic priest. He soon attracted the attention of local state-run IT companies which awarded him the title “Knight of IT’’ in 2005. “I was really happy with that award and it inspired me to change my life and the lives of others,” he said. The result was that he and his friends established Trung Tam Nghi Luc Song (Center for Energy in Life) in Hanoi in 2008, for which he works as a director. Hung, who was only able to finish seventh grade at his home in Nghe An province, said the center runs free courses in English, computer skills and website design for students with physical disabilities and has helped over 300 people so far. Most of the students are paralyzed, amputees or have spinal problems. As well as the courses, the center also advises students, creates jobs for them and introduces them to companies. He said 60 percent of graduates have now obtained jobs and a steady income since leaving the center. “I tell students that they are lucky to have an opportunity to learn, and that they should work hard to overcome their challenges and lead as normal life as possible,” he said. Funding comes from donations and from a few paying able bodied students, Hun said, which restricts the number of new students the center can take. He said his faith has played a large part in his desire to help others and to overcome his own disabilities. “I have a Marian statue and crucifix on my computer and reflect on a Bible verse I pasted on the computers which says ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength’ [Philippians 4:13],” he said. VT13411.1642
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