I grew up in a large, poor family in northwestern Vietnam. I’m the fifth of seven children. My mom and dad work hard to feed the whole family and to send five kids to school. Besides crop and livestock farming, they go to China to work to earn extra income.
Due to our family situation, two of my siblings weren’t able to attend school. They stay home to help my parents with crop farming and babysitting. After finishing grade nine, I also stopped going to school because my parents couldn’t afford for me to study further. I had to stay home to help my parents. I often went to collect herbal fruit in the forest up in the mountain and sold it. The season to harvest herbal fruit is usually in the winter, which is cold. If I was lucky, I could collect several fruits a day. The most I could collect in two weeks was about one to two kilograms, which could be sold for $9 to $13. After realizing that making money without an education was difficult, I asked my parents if I could return to school to improve my future. My dad and all my siblings supported me, but my mom didn’t think it was worthwhile.
However, as I kept talking about it, my mom gradually changed her mind. Despite my determination, throughout all three years, I faced ridicule by my classmates because of my relatively old age. I wanted to give up so many times. I’m thankful that God helped me to overcome my feelings.
I became a good student with good results, and I graduated high school, which changed my perspective. I wanted to continue my education, but seeing how hard my parents were working, I decided to go to Hanoi to attend vocational training school. I hope that after the training I can find a job to help them when they get older.
As I attended Hoa Sua’s sewing and embroidery class, I also had the opportunity to participate in the activities organized by Samaritan’s Purse. The staff helped us to learn about the value of responsibility, self-awareness, goal-setting, and planning.
I came to realize that my value doesn’t depend on other people’s judgment. I started to love myself more and learned to take good care of myself. I no longer need to wait until someone tells me to study because I know that learning is good for me. I need to build my own inner values within me. I’m becoming bolder and more confident and making effort in meeting my goal of mastering my skills to find a good job in the future.
I thank Samaritan’s Purse for giving me a chance to attend vocational training through a scholarship. Thanks to the brothers and sisters in the organization who encouraged and helped me to recognize my values to find joy in life and love myself more.