Wequal, iSEE, Oxfam and CECEM Training and Consulting worked together to organize an art exhibition titled, “Cat Canh” (“Spread Your Wings”). The event introduced stories of people who overcame gender and cultural barriers in order to follow their dreams. The exhibition ran from March 3rd to March 5th in the middle of Hoan Kiem Lake Walking Street.
The exhibition collected portraits and stories of 26 people who are full of aspirations and the drive to ignore prejudice and their hesitations about truly spreading their wings to pursue dreams and success. Some were simple, personal dreams – others, big, romantic ones – but all came from a passionate desire to reach their full potential
Ma Van Hong (45yrs) – Chairman of the Agriculture-fishery Cooperative of Hoa De, Hoa Tu 1 Commune, My Xuyen District, Soc Trang – shared: “I established the club in 2009 because I wanted local people to get access to shrimp nursery technology. At first, local people did not understand it and spread bad rumors; I felt disheartened. But when I imagined the day when everyone, including me, would face less hardship, produce more, sell products at stable prices, and then get wealthier… I continued to try. In 2014, the club worked more efficiently and turned into a cooperative. Currently, we have had connections with several enterprises ordering our products and we continue to ask for support from authorities to access more enterprises.”
Assoc. Professor Dr. Le Thi Duc Hanh (83 years old), a former officer at the Institute of Literature, was the oldest participant. She has written and published seven history of literature research and co-wrote another 31 books. While working as a document officer at the Institute of Literature after graduating the 10th grade, she studied on her own to later become a successful academic. “Life is constantly moving forward, everything: health, economy and happy family. Instead of living an uneventful life, one should indulge one’s passion. My life was not easy, but my passion for research work and my love for my husband and children have helped me get through difficulties. Work and family do not have to conflict, in fact, they compliment each other to bring joy to life” – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Le Thi Duc Hanh.
According to Ms. Nguyen Le Hoa – Deputy Country Director of Oxfam in Vietnam – a central theme of the exhibition is the fact that both women and men have aspirations. Their understandable aspirations should be supported so as to become reality. For women, not having support to realize their aspirations is a disadvantage to all of modern society. Women constitute half of the human population, and their roles in families are really important. If gender equality only stops at the level of adjusting policies, its implementation will face difficulties. This exhibition serves as a tool to help both women and men understand the advantages of equality for family happiness and economic growth. Ms. Nguyen Le Hoa herself is a character of the exhibition. “I am the person who likes to explore and conquer. I have challenged myself so many times to prove the fact that you can achieve if you try,” shared Ms. Hoa.
Portraits and stories from all genders were placed next to each other to express messages of equality, harmony, love, and mutual support for all individuals’ aspirations regardless of gender. True liberation from gender-based prejudice and barriers cannot become a reality either gender remains bound.
Minh Quang (daibieunhandan.vn)