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Chien-Chi Chang and Tran Quoc Anh in Vietnam

  Hoang Van Sy reciting a poem to welcome visiting guests to his home after his heart surgery. © Tran Quoc Ahn

Hoang Van Sy reciting a poem to welcome visiting guests to his home after his heart surgery. © Tran Quoc Ahn

For Laying Foundations for Change, photographer Chien-Chi Chang travelled the length of Vietnam, a country in which The Atlantic Philanthropies made more than $178 million in charitable investments in the health care and education systems. Chang, who previously had worked in the country for his project “Double Happiness,” selected three young Vietnamese photographers to work collaboratively with him.  

The group decided that as Chang photographed the facilities that had been funded by Atlantic, the other photographers would follow the stories of people who had moved through those spaces.

  Tran Mau Duc back at work following his heart transplant. © Tran Quoc Ahn

Tran Mau Duc back at work following his heart transplant. © Tran Quoc Ahn

In Hue, in central Vietnam, Tran Quoc Anh worked with patients who had been treated at Hue Central Hospital’s Cardiovascular Center, which was built with Atlantic’s support. The hospital is central Vietnam’s main tertiary hospital, responsible for a population of 20 million people, and the Center has served more than 57,000 outpatients and 24,000 inpatients, performing more than 6,000 open-heart surgeries.  

One of the Cardiovascular Center patients Tran Quoc Anh photographed was Tran Mau Duc, who at age 26 received the first heart transplant performed entirely by Vietnamese doctors. Although he goes to the Center each month for checkups, he has been able to return to work as a warehouse manager and to provide for his family.

  The scar from Tran Mau Duc’s surgery. © Tran Quoc Ahn

The scar from Tran Mau Duc’s surgery. © Tran Quoc Ahn

Hoang Van Sy, born in 1937, also had successful heart surgery at the Center.  Tran Quoc Anh spent time with him and his wife after his return home to Nong Truong in central Quang Binh Province.

“I was and still am impressed by Tran Quoc Anh’s photographic integrity and deep respect to his subjects,” says Chang. “It is unusual for a young photographer to have such an intimate understanding of the fragilities in life.”

  Hoang Van Sy walking in his garden. © Tran Quoc Ahn

Hoang Van Sy walking in his garden. © Tran Quoc Ahn

Katerina Voegtle