KON TUM — Surrounded by đót plants, Lê Văn Thạch is sweeping up, by making brooms from their branches.
The 38-year-old doesn’t let his disabilities stand in his way as he crafts brooms from the many plants near his home in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum.
Thạch grew up in Đoàn Kết Commune suffering from a problem with his legs, making it very difficult for him to walk and work.
Like many people with disabilities, he was used to earning money by selling lottery tickets.
However, when he got married and had three children, Thạch was determined to find another stable job.
Luckily, in early 2016, Kon Tum City implemented a project to support people with disabilities in disaster risk areas in order to orient the family economy to suit the needs of those people.
Thạch registered to join in the project, and learned to make brooms.
He said: “I am interested in the model of making brooms because it is not too heavy work and has a stable output.”
He said đót plants, that grow a lot in the Gia Lai, Kon Tum, and Quảng Ngãi provinces, are the perfect source of materials for his enterprise.
The project staff provided technical guidance and advice to help him develop his broom-making craft.
By the end of the course, he had firmly grasped the knowledge and cherished the desire to start a business making brooms.
At the end of 2016, with the support of Đoàn Kết Commune authorities, a group of broom-making craftmen was established with 10 members including Thạch.
At first, because the workers’ skills were not good enough, and products were not the best, plus the cost of imported materials was expensive, the broom-making team encountered many difficulties.
He said that his wife advised him to quit making brooms when he lost VNĐ10 million because at that time, his family had no capital.
Determined not to give up, he borrowed money from relatives to overcome the difficult period and continued to learn skills to make better products.
Up to now, his products have been loved by many customers who came to order.
Cao Thị Bích Liên, a shop owner in Kon Tum City, said every month she sold an average of 200 brooms.
She said: “Most clients told me that this kind of broom was very durable. I expect to sell more to support Thạch.”
On average, Thạch’s broom-making team provides 10,000 brooms per year selling from VNĐ35,000 to VNĐ60,000 each.
After deducting production costs, he makes from VNĐ150 to 250 million a year.
Not only developing the family economy, Thạch’s broom-making model has also created jobs for many local people with disabilities in difficult circumstances.
Nguyễn Thị Kim Dung, 30, at Đoàn Kết Commune said that she had a disability with her hand, so it was difficult for her to work.
However, Thạch had created good conditions and helped her to be more confident when working.
Thạch is willing to share his income with workers to motivate them in life, and help people with disabilities gain more confidence and the broom-making team treated each other like a family.
Currently, Thạch is creating jobs for 10 people with disabilities.
He has just announced the good news that an overseas customer has ordered 5,000 brooms worth VNĐ100 million.
Bùi Thị Hương, Vice Chairwoman of Đoàn Kết Commune People’s Committee said local authorities would help labourer groups of people with disabilities to access preferential loans for investment and expansion of production. VNS