From right: EMW Program Development Director Nguyen Minh Thi Thu with Dr. Bui Kim Hai, Chairman of the Vietnamese-Belgium Friendship and Cooperation Organization), the Belgium Minister of Agriculture and Vietnamese Ambassador at LIB booth
October 19, 2010: For the past month, the Life Is Beautiful (LIB) campaign, a partnership between East Meets West and Vietnam Television, has been on a promotional and fundraising roadshow—traveling to Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany, and Belgium—to spread its message of awareness and support for people with disabilities in Vietnam.
First stop on the tour was Kharkov, Ukraine, where the campaign raised nearly $200,000 at a Vietnamese cultural exchange program. The September 10 celebration marked the 1,000-year anniversary of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, historically known as Thang Long, and featured a performance by LIB Goodwill Ambassador, singer Kasim Hoang Vu.
The highlight of the show was the hugely successful and exciting “Thang Long Dragon” auction, emceed by Mr. Vu and Miss Vietnam 2004, Nugyen Thi Huyen. Crafted from pure copper, and representing the capital city’s millennium year, the dragon inspired several rounds of heated bidding before Mr. Le Viet Lam, the CEO of VinGroup in Ukraine, finally won the coveted item with a bid of $109,998. An additional $90,000 in contributions came from other business leaders in the Kharkov community.
A similar auction was held in Russia at the Vietnamese Business Forum Gala Dinner on September 17. The LIB campaign then moved on to France, to participate in another celebration of Hanoi’s 1,000 years. The event, organized by EMW’s French partner, the Union of Vietnamese Students (UEVF) and the Vietnamese Embassy in France, was held in Paris on October 8. Handicrafts made by people with disabilities in Vietnam caught the attention of hundreds of students, young people and Vietnamese residents of Paris. More promotional and fundraising activities to support people with disabilities in Vietnam will be organized by EMW and UEVF in the upcoming months.
The roadshow made its final stop in Belgium, at the Brussels Food Fair, held from October 9 to 18. EMW showcased authentic handicrafts made by successful enterprises owned by and/or employing people with disabilities. The Food Fair provides opportunities for foreign investors and customers to learn more about social entrepreneurs in Vietnam and increase access to European markets for products made by disabled people.
All events were featured on VTV4 and in the local media in the countries visited.