Located deep in Van Chuong Lane, Dong Da district, Hanoi, the hair salon of born deaf Nguyen Thai Thanh is a world opposite from the hustle and bustle outside. There is no voice in the salon because the barber and the guests communicate with each other through small pieces of paper and phone messages.

Thanh’s hair salon has two employees and six trainees who are on-site apprentices, all of whom are deaf.

The trainees are guided and instructed directly by Thanh while he is cutting the customers’ hair.

Once getting a haircut, Thanh was interested in the hairstylist’s skills; therefore, he decided to learn and pursue this job.

Life took away his voice but made up for it with dexterous hands, creativity and the taste of a beautician.

Thanh had to teach his trainees from the smallest things such as going to the market, cooking and washing dishes, to ways to communicate, behave and work with customers. Therefore, it takes nearly two years for an employee to actively participate in the hair salon.

Practitioners need more than a year to learn sign language and then cut hair. Learning and working in the same environment as deaf students help them to absorb faster and overcome initial difficulties.

Thanh has taught nearly 200 students, many of whom were able to open their shops and make a living by themselves.

Thanh has always created favourable conditions for other people with disabilities to study for free and work here.

There are many small pieces of paper with wishes for success and sincere thanks from guests to Thanh in his hair salon.

Thai Thanh and his trainees have joined many social events for people with disabilities to share about his job and spread positive energy to people living in difficult circumstances within the community.

Thanh also expressed his hope that the organisations and individuals will develop many other programmes to support people with disabilities, helping them to integrate into the community.