The pursuit of happiness in love and marriage is the rights of human beings in adulthood, regardless of their ability or disability, gender, levels of education and income, circumstances etc. The beauty and sustainability in the love of the handicapped lie in the harmony of the soul, the understanding and sharing at all times and places. However, it is not easy for those people with disability to enjoy these basic rights.
Love and marriages, basic rights of the handicapped
The handicapped constitute the biggest minority group in the world, accounting for 10% of the world population, an equivalent of 650 million. They are present everywhere. In Viet Nam, the handicapped account for 6-15% of the population depending on definitions used. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimated the number to be 6.7%, about 7.8% of the population.
The International Convention on the Rights of People with Disability ratified by the Vietnamese National Assembly stipulated that “States Parties shall take effective and appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against persons with disabilities in all matters relating to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, on an equal basis with others, so as to ensure that (a) The right of all persons with disabilities who are of marriageable age to marry and to found a family on the basis of free and full consent of the intending spouses is recognized; etc. In Viet Nam, the 2010 Law on the Handicapped stipulated in Article 14 that ”it is strictly forbidden to prevent the rights to marriage and raise children of the handicapped.”
Studies have indicated that the handicapped also have the desire to love and marry as others in the society. Hoever, their opportunities in this are limited. A 2006 survey by the Institute of Social Development reveals that the majority of the handicapped above the age of 15 stated that 50-80% of them are not able to get married because of their disabilities.
Happiness in Families of the Handicapped
In spite of misconception that the people with disabilities should not get married as they would be burdens on each other and would give birth to children with disabilities, many families of people with disabilities have built happy, plentiful life and have given birth to fully abled children.
A couple of disabled atheletes known as the perfect couple among the people with disabilties are Pham Hong Thuc and Hoang Hong Kien from Ha Noi. Since 2004, they have been together in many wheelchair track and field events. They have won many medals in Paragames. They have also done well in their economic activities to improve their lives. Their love for each other and efforts to reach higher have helped them overcome all difficulties to start a small business in making brooms and toothpicks in Van Phuc, Ha Dong, Ha Noi. All these have made them more confident in themselves and encouraged other people with disabilities to be more confident also.
Pham Hong Thuc and Hoang Hong Kien
Another example is Nong Viet Phuong and Le Thi Hai Hoi from Phuc Tho District, Ha Noi. Theirs is a “fairy” story about a happy family of people with disabilities. Before meeting with her husband, Hoi was depressed and felt marginalized. However, after her marriage with a policeman she had a happy life and gave birth to two children.
These two examples are among thousands of couples of people with disabilities who have taken up challenges of life and overcome social prejudices to build their own happy life and integrate into the communities instead of depending on the society.