Ba Huynh Pham's story

08 March 2018

Dr Ba Huynh Pham smiling at his timber-lined ceiling in a room in his home

Ba Huynh Pham's vision loss ended his career as a dentist, but with support from Vision Australia, he's channelling his energy and creativity into his family and community.

Dr Pham fled his native Vietnam as a refugee in 1980, arriving in Malaysia. He relocated to Germany, where he built a successful dental practice.
Fifteen years ago, he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa – a genetic condition that causes cells in the retinas to degenerate. He retired seven years later as his vision ebbed away.

"It was such a big shock. My wife, my family, my work, my finances. I was so worried," he says.

Dr Pham and his family moved to Perth, his wife Dung's home town, in 2007.

With the move came a new attitude. Dr Pham threw himself into supporting his children's education.

"My wife works, and I mostly take care of the children," he says. "I love to work. I'm bringing the children through school. I cook. I clean. I do all the jobs here."

Dr Pham, a painter and photographer, has also embraced music to express himself artistically.

He's a volunteer singing and music teacher at the Vietnamese Catholic Community College, offers private tuition and composes music.
An accomplished pianist/organist, he is now learning electric and bass guitar.

Dr Pham recently finished a timber-lined ceiling in a room in his home, using an extendible guide he made himself to measure and cut the timber with a power saw.

Vision Australia supports Dr Pham to navigate his new life without vision. Vision Australia specialists installed tactile markings on his kitchen appliances and guitar frets so he hits the right note with meals and his music.

To support his desire to guide his children's schoolwork, Vision Australia has supplied Dr Pham with a text scanner with text-to-speech software and a Braille Sense unit, which converts text to braille and also allows the user to write in braille.

"Vision Australia works in many ways to help me," Dr Pham says.

He says vision loss is not the end of a fulfilling life. "What you lose in sight, you gain in other ways. I'm still creative and life is so full. People with vision have many beautiful things in the world to enjoy but beauty is whatever you make it."

Vision Australia is the leading national agency providing services that support people who are blind or have low vision to live the life they choose. Phone our Perth team on (08) 6246 4505.