The Women of Thien An Shelter

In August 2019 I visited the Thien An shelter for senior women. The women I met there were extraordinary. They were so open with me, beautiful and genuine. It’s hard to express without resorting to cliché. Please try to read beyond the words. These women broke my heart open, and I feel honoured that they are comfortable spending time with me and telling me their stories. I want to spend more time with them. My goal is to produce a photobook with essays telling the stories of some of these women. They want to be heard, to be known, to tell us what they have seen and experienced. They live together in this shelter on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, and the thought of them fading away unnoticed is unbearable. 

Most of the women living at Thien An were born before World War 2. They have lived through the Japanese occupation, the end of French colonialism, and the American war. They saw the reunification of Vietnam, the shift to market based socialism, and the continuing transformation of Vietnam into a modern economic force in the region. 

As well as documenting the lives of these women I will be documenting the story of Vietnam in the 20th Century. 

I am here in Vietnam studying for one year. My plan is to visit them once a fortnight to talk with them, record their stories, and photograph their lives. Next August I return to London and I will publish a photobook of my time with the women of Thein An shelter. The money I am raising goes toward the all the expenses involved with this project. Equipment, transport, printing costs. Also, although I speak some Vietnamese, I will need a translator and I would like to be able to pay them. Finally, I am hoping to raise enough money to cover the cost of printing a small number of the photobooks.

As a thank you for a donation of £50 or more I will send you a copy of the book. Also, I'll be giving out prints from the book to all donors at the book launch in October 2020.

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Mia Doray 
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
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