A man from northern Vietnam who lost both his hands at the age of 19 has braved adversity to launch a successful online store he uses to pay both his school fees and his mother’s medical expenses.
“Thank you for supporting us. Now we afford our daily expenses, including the hospital bills and school fees,” said 27-year-old Duong Huu Phuc in a recent update on his TikTok account.
Phuc, a native of Lang Son Province in northern Vietnam, lost both his hands at the age of 19 during an oxygen tank explosion.
Over the past eight years, he has worked to overcome his disability and presently runs an online store where he sells handmade animal piglet and puppy puppets.
Though his store is a success, it took several years following the accident for Phuc to get his life back on track.
“What is my life going to be like?” he often wondered, fearing his disability would prevent him from earning enough money to support both himself and his mother.
From the street to social media
Phuc has spent the past several years selling his handmade puppets on Hoan Kiem Pedestrian Street in Hanoi, where tourists and locals alike often applaud his sincerity and enthusiasm.
In fact, Phuc’s positivity is so contagious that he has amassed quite a following on TikTok.
Their support has been a major factor in his success in selling his handmade puppets online.
“Ever since I started my online business and TikTok channel, my mother and I have been able to earn enough money so we don’t have to worry so much about selling on the street,” he said.
“We have enough [online] buyers to make a much better income now than we did before [selling online],” Phuc explained, adding that the products he sells online are actually discounted in comparison with what he sells them for on the street.
No hands, but two legs
Aside from using TikTok to advertise his puppets, Phuc often takes advantage of the platform to offer his success as motivation for others by sharing heartfelt and inspiring videos.
“Whatever losses we face, we still have to keep walking forward. Even if we don’t have hands, we still have legs,” he said.
“I’m still able to help my mother, which makes me much luckier than many other people.”
Though Phuc has a positive outlook currently, several years after his accident were filled with personal turmoil and hospital visits.
It took four operations on his right hand and two on his left, but he eventually began to adapt to his new life.
“At first, I even thought that it was a dream. I even bit myself to check,” said Phuc.
“I slowly began to figure how my life would be without my hands. When I thought about my future and my mother, I knew I needed to rebuild my life.”
After being discharged from the hospital, Phuc flung himself into school and work.
He taught himself to eat, care for himself, and write without his hands and eventually was admitted to the interior design program at the Hanoi University of Business and Technology.
Shortly after his acceptance into the university, Phuc and his mother moved from Lang Son to Hanoi so that he could pursue his studies.
During his time at the university, Phuc taught himself how to draw and design on a computer without the use of hands and, after five years, was able to successfully submit his graduation thesis and secure a job at an interior design company.
Despite his successes, the COVID-19 pandemic put a major wrench in Phuc’s plans and caused a great deal of difficulty for him and his mother, forcing him to pause his schoolwork and put a significant focus on his online business in order to keep him and his mother afloat.
“For a long time, I had to take care of my mother due to her disease,” said Phuc.
“Now, I can safely say that I have a stress-free life because I can afford our rent, daily meals, and [my mother’s] medical pills.”
Aside from his online business, Phuc has developed a passion for photography, and has even purchased a camera to take better photos of his friends and family.
Like us onFacebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!