A little over one month ago, I contacted Better Life Vietnam after noticing a post my friend shared on Facebook. The post contained a picture of a young girl who dreams one day of becoming a doctor and an appeal to help make that dream come true through a sponsorship program. Keen for more information, I clicked on to the Better Life Vietnam website. There, I found Hoa’s story. Although she’s only 11 years old, she has already had to suffer the death of her mother which left her disabled aunt the task of taking care of Hoà and her brother, since their father has to travel from one place to another for his work leaving him very little time to see his children. This story left me feeling quite sad and depressed, but also and much more importantly, with a need and a desire to help Hoà and her family.
On Thursday, June 22nd, I finally received confirmation that I would be visiting Hoà and her family on the following Sunday. I had been looking forward to the trip, but I really didn’t know what to expect. I would be joining Thinh, the founder of Better Life Vietnam, Jeon and Hoan who are also members of the Better Life Vietnam team. I was a little nervous about the trip, but I was also excited- I was going to see how my donation was being used by Hoà’s aunt Vui, meet Hoà and also visit a new place which I’m always excited about.
We arrived in the morning at a very typical, but still beautiful small Vietnamese village just short of Sơn Tây town. We were greeted by Vui and welcomed into her home. As Vui talked with Thinh, I tried to listen and understand, but I could only pick up some words. I really need to work on my listening in Vietnamese! Shortly after finishing her conversation with Thinh, Vui gestured for her niece to join us. She was very shy and needed a lot of encouragement from Vui and Thinh to talk to me. I tried to ease her nerves by speaking with her in Vietnamese, but she didn’t understand me. It turns out, I need to work on my Vietnamese speaking too! However, her shyness didn’t bother me at all. Indeed, I could sympathize with it as I was also very shy as a child. As we talked a little further, she grew less shy and even raised a little smile after I gave her an English book and a play pad to help her learn. This was a very touching moment for me. I didn’t think it would be, but it was. It was only at this moment that it fully dawned on me that I was really helping this little girl and her family in a very meaningful way.
After our very short, but very nice interaction, we went outside to meet the recent additions to the household-100 chickens, which will be used to help the family by adding eggs and meat to their daily diet and also generate an immediate and long term income from the sale of eggs. Feeling very satisfied, I went back into the house where I saw Hoà and her friends playing happily with the play pad. It was now time to leave, but I still felt I could do more to help and I offered to teach Hoà and a small group of children from her village once a week. With this, we left and I felt a great sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and achievement.
‘I hope my story encourages or maybe even inspires you to help some people in need.’
There are many other students who need help. Just a little help would mean so much for these unfortunate children and their families. Visit BLV’s website to learn more about their stories.