What do you want to be when you grow up?
That’s the question Ho Quang, a 26-year-old photography student, posed to 10 children living in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Some live in large households with single incomes, others have sick parents and many suffer from malnutrition. Despite their difficult circumstances, they dream big.
Many want to be teachers, musicians, mechanics, artists and doctors -- all with the intention of helping their struggling families.
Quang, who studies in Australia and is from Vietnam, photographed each child in scenes that depicted their dreams while at the same time showing their gritty reality.
“In our country, I have seen a lot of children, they are selling lottery ticket, cake, collecting money, shining shoes, collecting trash every day. And these stories, we are seeing, telling but not acting or even get to know it,” Quang wrote in an email to the Huffington Post.
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Ten-year-old, Nguyen Lam Thao Uyen is one story. She lives with 15 family members in a 30 square meter (323 square foot) apartment. Her mother is blind and her father’s taxi driver salary can’t support her large family. “I just want to make my mom happy, I want to study until I can not see anything,” she told Quang.
Uyen was photographed in a crowded bookstore, expressing her aspiration of furthering her studies.
Quang plans on using the profits from the sale of his photographs to directly help the 10 children he worked with. At his next exhibition in Sydney on December 5, prints range from 400 AUD to 1200 AUD.
The project has been a year in the making. Quang took two trips to Vietnam, chronicled his progress in a blog and filmed several behind-the-scenes videos from some of the shoots.
He told HuffPost he identified with the kids. Not only did Quang grow up in Vietnam under similar conditions but he is currently fulfilling his dream of becoming an advertising photographer.
“The reason why did I chose to photograph children from my country is I used to dream, I lived in small house with my family before we have moved to another place,” Quang wrote in an email. ”Dreaming was and always belongs to children.”
To learn more, visit the Untold Stories official website here.