Thanh Huyen Massage
Where is it The Video
Why was it initiated?
This is the first time MESCH has been involved with an individual. Whilst numerous bureaucratic hurdles are thereby eliminated, the risk and perception that we are simply benefiting single individuals has been considered carefully. We believe that Khiem and his wife, Huyen, are capable individuals with a strong belief in equality and social justice. They have had a long journey to start this massage business in DaLat and have a strong commitment to build Thanh Huyen as a successful business enterprise.
Blind people in Vietnam have limited employment opportunities – massage being one of them. There are no subsidised support and training options available to them and business practice, including marketing and sales is not taught except at university level – an unattainable cost for someone in Mr Khiem’s situation. Local community assistance is limited.
We first met Khiem while we were teaching occupational English at the Lam Dong Blind association. Despite formal academic computer training, his blindness prevented him getting a position in the industry. Needing to support his family, he returned to massage. Huyen had worked in various massage businesses.
Khiem is a very careful person and he needs to develop trust over a period of time. His willingness to consider this joint project came because he trusted Narelle Cassey from the previous MESCH project with LDBA. He is beginning to trust the rest of us, including Khang Vo, a local long term interpreter for MESCH and known to Mr Khiem.
What are its aims?
Provide stable and dignified employment for visually impired blind people in DaLat so they can lead independent lives.
Improve opportunities for their children and other blind people - helping build the community.
When did it start?
Significant meetings with Khiem, his wife and staff in April 2017.
Who has been involved?
Thanh Huyen: Khiem, Huyen
MESCH: Narelle and John Cassey, La Vu Cuong, Amanda Taylor
Interpreters and volunteers: Khang Vo and Vy An (DaLat)
Other volunteers: Jason Bradley (physiotherapist from Australia)
Repeated meetings have established that we are only interested in development and development which is guided by Khiem and Huyen.
They are repeatedly emphatic that they do not want financial assistance though would accept small financial inputs.
Conjoint decisions about marketing steps, production of a business card (thanks to Dianne Swain) and signage.
Jason provided practical education in massage techniques.
Marketing videos in Vietnamese and English produced for you tube
Th client base has risen significantly so that they now have a "break even" situation - though this is seasonal work in DaLat.
The project has a high probability of success.
The livelihood of all people working in the business depends on this.
Khiem is resourceful, committed and a talented masseur. He is somewhat reserved and careful in his business ideas. Although receptive, he is very definite in his views and this makes it hard for him to do "new" things. We have long talks AND breaks for Khiem and Huyen to mull things over.
The staff get on well with Khiem and Huyen and they seem both fair and ethical.
They are appreciative but not dependent on MESCH.
What do we need to advance this?
We have left English teaching on hold since it is a large capital outlay with no obvious current need.
Despite Khiem’s expertise in computing, he will need someone’s help with Facebook and/or webpage.
Khiem and Huyen need advice and practical assistance in:
- Bilingual message facility on phone
- Chairs/ lounge in reception
- Cover the current water damaged wall
- Credit card facility
- Entry re-designPrinter
- Making a banner and mural for the wall
- Power, lighting and sound system
- Seat and desk for receptionistSecure cashbox
- TV with videos of business and massage
- New sign on main street and explore additional ones
- Acquire other massage skills
- Bookings (phone, email, online)
- Business structure (including processes and policies, financial management)
- Increased "privacy", face protection (washer, napkin)
- Media, sales and marketing including re-design/ enhancements to their Facebook.; TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet,.. discount vouchers for hotels with cross promotion for businesses, tracking clients and referrers
- Occupational English speaking skills for masseurs and other staff
- Pre-massage health questionnaire
- Enhanced services and develop alternate income streams
- Vietnamese English versions of videos relating tomassage and this business