Photo Story: Thi Thien

Thien is a 14-year-old girl who lives in a village near the Cambodian boarder in Vietnam. When Thien was 8 years old she noticed a “bug bite” that just wouldn’t go away. A few months later, her and her family were told that it was early symptoms of leprosy. Thein’s father had leprosy as well, however he is now cured. After spending a few months in the hospital, Thien returned to her home in her small “ethic minority” village.

Only a few years later, Thein and her family realized that the leprosy had returned. Thien now lives in the Ben San Leprosy Rehabilitation Center, in Ben San about 40 kilometers outside of Ho Chi Minh City. In the future, Thien wishes to return home to finish her recovery and continue school to learn fashion design. She wants to use this trade to help her family. When asked what her favorite thing to do is, Thien responded that she loves to help her mom garden and cook.

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