Briefing: US Fashion Companies Are Moving Clothing Manufacturing to Vietnam

Things look good for Vietnam’s clothing industry in the next few years. US fashion companies, in a 2015 US Fashion Industry Benchmarking Study by Quartz, are diversifying away from China and expect to make heavy investments in Vietnam. Source and charts below:

Quartz: fashion companies are starting to look beyond China for sourcing apparel 

Vietnam current fashion manufacturing

Source: http://atlas.qz.com/charts/4JKMrX3I

 

Vietnam fashion ManufacturingSource: http://atlas.qz.com/charts/4kBGXAoL

 

apparel-imports-to-the-united-states-feb-2014_chartbuilder-1Source: Department of Commerce, chart by FIVETHIRTYEIGHT

Influential Vietnamese: Dr. BichLien Nguyen, Healer, Medical Director

Meet Dr. BichLien Nguyen, who was among 22,000 refugees assigned to a resettlement camp at Ft. Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania in 1975. Then 20, she was tasked with bathroom cleaning duty as she waited for a sponsor family. BichLien went on to become one of the most widely known and respected Vietnamese-American oncologists in the country. Now living in Orange County, California, she is married with two children and a grandson. She is co-founder of the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cancer, improving patient quality of life, and saving lives through cancer education, research, advocacy, and services in the Vietnamese community.

The Fact Sheet

Hometown in Vietnam: Saigon

Current Location: Orange County, California

Current Job(s): Medical oncologist, specializing in breast cancer; Medical Director of Breast Cancer Clinical Research at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Orange Coast Medical Center; Co-founder and active board member of the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation.

Education: Three years of Pharmacy College in Saigon (1972 to 1975) ; University of New Mexico (1978-1980); University of California, Irvine (1980-1982) with B.S. degree in Biological Sciences; Medical school at UC Irvine (1983-1987); Internal Medicine Residency (1987-1990) at UCI Medical Center; Hematology/Oncology Fellowship (1990-1993) at UCI Medical Center.

Awards / Recognitions:  State of California Legislature Woman of the Year Award 2009; Golden Wave Award by audience of Little Saigon Radio, Hon Viet TV and Viet Tide; CalOptima Awards.

The Interview

1. What was your first paying job?

When we first resettled in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July of 1975, I got a job at a Levi Strauss factory sewing back pockets onto jeans.  It was very difficult at first since we had to sew very fast.  The machine was powerful and ran so fast that I thought the needle would run over my fingers.  Somehow, it never did, and I was able to meet the monthly goal to deserve my hourly wage of $2.30. Not only did I have to be fast, I had to sew very accurately and beautifully, too.  In making the jeans, just as putting together a car in a car factory, there were so many people involved: my 18-year-old sister sewed the belt loops, my father the inside pockets, my mother the seams, and so on. I learned to appreciate the hard work that many people put into making the most mundane items that we take for granted.  I also learned from that first job experience the importance of team work.  As I went on to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor, these first job experiences helped me find success in my career.

2. Complete the sentence:  The key to success is…

To have a goal, and try your best to achieve it. Even if we do not reach our ultimate goal, we will have achieved some worthwhile smaller goals, and we will have gleaned invaluable experience along the way.

3. One lesson on what not to do.

Do not give up. A popular Vietnamese proverb says it all: “Thua keo này, bày keo khác.” (After losing a round, plan another round.)  However, it is important to be honest with yourself and learn from your mistakes.

4. How has your immigrant background influenced your work?

I always think that I am so fortunate to be an immigrant in a free and enterprising society where I have the chance to develop to my full potential.  I have also been exposed to different ethnicities, backgrounds and cultures in this country. These experiences make me a better doctor and person.

5. The refugee camp you stayed when you arrived in 1975 is having a 40th reunion (on June 27, 2015 at Ft. Indiantown Gap, PA). As you start to reconnect with long lost friends, what emotions do you feel as you learn about the influence and impact the Vietnamese community has made in America in just 40 years? 

I am proud and happy that so many of us are successful in our new homeland.  I believe we will continue the dream of past immigrants to build America into a better place for our children.  At the same time, I realize that many of us are still struggling with this new life.  I hope that those who are more successful will be the inspiration and the support to those less fortunate.

6. How would you spend $1 million to change the world?

$1 million is not going to change the world, but I would be very happy to have $1 million to change a very small part of the world.  I would invest it in an endowment scholarship fund to bring world cancer experts to Vietnam to train young Vietnamese cancer doctors and nurses.  In Vietnam, there is a need for accurate and extensive cancer data gathering, cancer prevention and early detection, and state-of-the-art cancer therapy.  Most patients have died unnecessarily of late stage cancers that are largely preventable or curable in developed countries.  This is a national crisis, and will not be solved by a $1 million.  However, by investing in the development of compassionate and capable cancer care-providers, little by little, patient care and eventually, survival will improve.

7. What’s your favorite Vietnamese dish?

Bánh xèo (a savory crepe) made by my mother.  Bánh xèo is tricky. It can be a heavenly thin, crisp, and fragrant mixture of coconut and rice flour wrapped around a mouth-watering mixture of pork, shrimp, mung bean, sprouts, and scallion. With a tray of fresh lettuce or mustard green and fragrant herbs, dipped in the sweet, sour, and salty fish sauce; it is certainly a dish to be set before a king, or peasant.

Suboi Debuts in the US, Embraces Ability to Rap About Sex, Drugs, and Money

Suboi is the real deal. We felt that the first time we sat down across her at a cafe in Saigon and she started free flowing mid conversation.  Before meeting her, I already knew she was the dubbed Vietnam’s Queen of Hip Hop. After meeting her, I knew she belonged among hip hop royalty anywhere in the world.

Her worldwide status is coming into fruition this March.  After gracing her presence around Asia, Suboi is making her US debut in San Francisco (CAAM), Austin (SXSW), and New York City.

Suboi at South By Southwest in Austin.
Suboi at South By Southwest in Austin.

As expected, Suboi is making splashes in the US and cultivating new fans along the way.  She packed the house in San Francisco (the line was out the door), was a highlight at South By Southwest (one of the US’s biggest music festival), and is making her way to New York, the birth place of hip hop.

If you’re in the Greater New York area, grab a ticket now (here).  It’s going to be a special show – this is why:

Suboi in San Francisco
Playing to a packed house in SF

And because of censorship in Vietnam, Suboi has to watch what she says in her songs and on social media.

“I can’t talk about drugs, sex, or making money in the streets,” she said. “When I tell that to other rappers, they say, ‘What do you rap about?’”

Suboi also needs to avoid any criticism of the government.

“I have to use metaphors all the time,” she said. “It gives me a sense of a challenge that I have to go any way around what I want to say. That’s what’s exciting to me about coming here—I can say whatever I want.”

Interview with The Daily Beast, March 18, 2015

It’s anything goes.

NYC Show Information

Venue

Baby’s All Right
146 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY, 10006

Date & Time

March 26th, 2015 at 9:00 PM

Tickets

Buy Online Here

Influential Vietnamese: Khoa D. Do, Rain Maker, Partner at Jones Day

Khoa Do, Partner at Jones Day
Khoa Do, Partner at Jones Day

Meet Khoa Do, Partner at Jones Day, the 3rd largest law firm in the world. Khoa came from humble beginnings as an immigrant living in the south side of Chicago. Losing his dad at an early age, Khoa had to learn how to fend for himself. Khoa is passionate about providing mentorship that many immigrant youths do not have access to. Khoa serves on the OneVietnam board and has been an invaluable source of motivation and wisdom.

The Fact Sheet

Hometown in Vietnam:  Saigon

Current Location:  Palo Alto, California, U.S.A.

Current Job(s): Partner, Jones Day; Board Member, OneVietnam Network; Advisory Board Member, Asian Law Alliance

Education: J.D., Northwestern University School of Law; B.A. (Economics and Finance), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Three little known facts:  I was a nightclub D.J. in Chicago; my favorite television reality show is “Dancing with the Stars”; Coca-Cola is my beverage of choice

Previous Jobs:  Partner, DLA Piper LLP (US); Partner, Greenberg Traurig LLP; Associate, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Awards / Recognitions: “40 under 40” dealmakers and innovators in Silicon Valley; Northern California Super Lawyer

The Interview

1. What was your first paying job?

My first “paying” job was one from which I earned no money. From the third through tenth grades, I bartered my services as a cleaner at a Chicago martial arts school for free lessons. For seven years, my Sifu trained me without charge until I advanced to black belt and became an assistant instructor. Finally, cleaning duty was replaced by teaching. During my sophomore year in high school, I moonlighted as a busboy for minimum wage.

2. Complete the sentence: The key to success is…

The key to success is avoiding shortcuts. Otherwise, you will head in the wrong direction, get lost, and fail to reach the destination. There is absolutely no substitute for hard work, putting in the time, and paying your dues. Regardless of one’s focus in life, substance will always carry the day. Only a fool says, “fake it until you make it.”

3. One lesson on what not to do.

Credibility is your most valuable asset. Whether in a personal or professional context, never lose your credibility. When your audience doesn’t believe you, failure is inevitable.

4. How has your immigrant background influenced your work?

I have taken nothing for granted. Every opportunity was carefully identified, involved intense preparation, and pursued to execution. No aspect of my work has been handed to me. I believe that anyone who takes their work seriously should endeavor to master his/her craft. Perfection is not the goal. Instead, constant tuning, refinement, and improvement should be one’s life task.

5. You’re known as the “deal-maker” in the industry. What was the most exciting deal you’ve done?

I’ve been fortunate to practice law with the world’s top mergers & acquisitions firm and in the global Mecca of technology. While negotiating multi-billion dollar transactions for publicly-traded technology companies dominates my job description, the most exciting deal I’ve done is an unlikely one – for a Silicon Valley tech M&A lawyer. In March 2011, I executed the UFC’s acquisition of Strikeforce. The UFC is the world’s leading mixed martial arts (“MMA”) promotion company. This transaction was considered 2011’s most high profile sports/entertainment M&A deal. I proudly refer to it as MMA M&A!

6. How would you spend $1 million to change the world?

I would make a $1 million “impact investment” in an emerging economy. Impact investing assesses not only the financial return on an investment, but also the social and environmental impacts resulting from the operations of the invested business and the consumption of the product or service created by such business. Currently, I have the privilege of serving as legal counsel to a private equity firm that is making an impact investment in Vietnam.

7. What’s your favorite Vietnamese dish?

Although sounding cliché, my favorite Vietnamese dish really is Phở Bò Đặc Biệt. I like it with all the bells and whistles along with extra beef on the side. Bánh Cuốn is a close second.

Lil PSY from Gangnam Style: Don’t be Ashamed to be Half Vietnamese

Lil Psy aka Hwang Min-woo in Gangnam Style

Lil PSY from Gangnam Style has been getting hate messages from online bullies when it was revealed that his mother is Vietnamese. We decided to write Lil PSY a Lil Letter to let him know we’re on his side.

Hey Lil Psy – aka Hwang Min-woo – we know people have been saying a lot of nasty things about your Vietnamese heritage. They made you feel inferior and ashamed. We’re here to tell you they couldn’t be more wrong.

The truth is, you are lucky to be born into two great cultures. You know about Korea, but let me tell you about Vietnam. We are a resilient people with one of the longest continuous histories in the world that traces back 20,000 years ago. Today, Vietnamese people are great contributors around the world. Like who? There’s Duy Loan Le, who owns 24 patents, Khoi Vinh, who was the Art Director of the New York Times, Charles Phan, a James Beard winning chef with a restaurant empire, and Chinh Chu, a private equity billionaire and philanthropist. The list goes on.

But your Vietnamese heritage comes with more than just big names and celebrity cohorts. Being Vietnamese means you’re a part of a culture that values family above all else, that embraces education, and that knows how to survive in tough times.

Wear your heritage proud. We hope you’ll one day get a chance to explore your Vietnamese roots. Until then, find your Vietnamese mother and give her a hug. And, hey, don’t forget to call her “me”.

‘Birds of Paradise Lost’: A Conversation With Author Andrew Lam

Anna Challet: Birds of Paradise Lost is your first book of fiction – how did you come to publish a fiction collection after so many years of working as a journalist?

Andrew Lam: I’ve been writing short stories for twenty years now, on and off ever since I was in the creative writing program at San Francisco State University. Though I later found a career as a journalist and an essayist, fiction is my first love and I never left it, even though there was no easy way to make a living from it. The collection is a labor of love and devotion, and whenever I found free time from my journalism work, I’d work on one story or another, or at least sketch out my characters, and research various issues related to my characters’ dilemmas. After twenty years and thirty stories, thirteen pieces were finally selected and the collection was born. So far, the blurbs from [authors] Maxine Hong Kingston, Gish Jen, Robert Olen Butler, Oscar Hijuelos, Sandip Roy and others, have been most encouraging.

AC: You’ve written many personal essays and non-fiction pieces about coming to the United States from Vietnam. How does it feel to bring that experience into the lives of your fictional characters?

AL: Well, I always say that writing non-fiction versus writing fiction is a bit like architecture versus abstract painting. In non-fiction you have to stay true to historical events, be they personal or national … In fiction, it’s as if you enter a dream world that you created, but your characters have their own free will. They don’t do what you want them to do – they get into trouble, do drugs, fight over petty things, and do outrageous things that you wouldn’t want your children to do. In other words, you can only provide the background, the seeds – in my case the background of the Vietnamese refugee. When a well-rounded character takes over, he doesn’t lecture you about his history and how he is misunderstood. He lives his life, does things that are unexpected, and makes you laugh and cry because of his human flaws and foibles.

AC: How did you come up with the title?

AL: It’s the title of one of the thirteen stories in the book, and it’s a story that deals with death and hatred and self-immolation. In the story, the narrator’s best friend commits self-immolation in Washington, D.C. and leaves a note that says he hates the Vietnamese communist regime and wants his death to call attention to communist cruelty. But he also leaves his friends back in San Jose, California, reeling from his death. Was it a patriotic act? A passing tourist captures a picture of the man on fire, and the flame reminds the narrator of the bird of paradise – both like a bird and a flame, a phoenix of sorts.

AC: English is your third language, after Vietnamese and French. How is it that you’ve come to write in English – your “stepmother tongue?”

AL: You know, I have a funny story to tell about English and how I came to fall in love with the language. When I came to the United States in 1975 I was eleven, and within a few months my voice broke. I was desperate to fit in and spoke English all the time. Trouble was, in my household it was a no-no to speak English because somehow it is disrespectful to call parents and grandparents “you” – impersonal pronouns are offensive in Vietnamese. But I couldn’t help it. I recited commercials like a parrot and I got yelled at quite often. My older brother one night said, “You speak so much English when you’re not supposed to, that’s why your vocal chords shattered. Now you sound like a duck.” I thought it was true. I went from this sweet-voiced Vietnamese kid who spoke Vietnamese and French to this craggy-voiced teenager. I thought, “Wow, English is like magic.” It not only shattered my voice, it changed me physiologically. I believed this for months … There’s magic in the language. I never fell out of the enchantment.

AC: Many of the characters in your stories seem to be preoccupied with time – telling the future (“The Palmist”), being unable to let go of the past (“Bright Clouds Over the Mekong”), living in constant fear of what surprise the present moment might bring (“Step Up and Whistle”). Do you often find yourself writing about characters who struggle in dealing with time?

AL: I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but it’s true that the past is ever present in the characters’ lives in Birds of Paradise Lost. Perhaps it can’t be helped. So many of them either experienced trauma – fleeing Vietnam, watching someone be killed – or inherited trauma from those who fled Vietnam, that the past is always flowing into the present. The future is of course the possibility of an absolution, the possibility that they can conquer this haunting aspect of the past so that they can begin to heal. Not all of them do, of course, just like in real life.

AC: What are your thoughts on being identified as a writer of immigrant literature? Given that you’ve written so much about the Vietnamese diaspora over the past twenty years, how do you think the concept of immigrant literature is changing in the United States?

AL: I think in a larger sense, immigrant narrative is comprehensive and speaks to the core of human experience. Isn’t the first story told in the West about the Fall? Adam and Eve were immigrants too from somewhere, a lost Eden, a paradise lost. We all now are so mobile, so nomadic … That experience of losing home, longing for home, that yearning for meaning and rootedness and identity in a floating world, it’s what often makes an immigrant story into an American story … Today, more people are crossing various borders in order to survive, thrive, change their lives. Even if you don’t cross the border, with demographic shifts, the border sometimes crosses you … America’s story is largely an immigrant story. That hasn’t changed since the Pilgrims ate their first turkey some four hundred years ago, and they were the original boat people.

paradiselost

AC: As an immigrant, what do you think of the current debate over immigration in this country?

AL: It’s unfortunate that the country of immigrants has turned its back on immigrants. The atmosphere after 9/11 is toxic. In the war on terrorism, the immigrant is often the scapegoat. He becomes a kind of insurance policy against the effects of the recession. By blaming him, the pressure valve is regulated in times of crisis … What we have now is a public mindset of us versus them, and an overall anti-immigrant climate that is both troubling and morally reprehensible. Missing from the national conversation are voices of pro-immigration reformers and civil rights leaders, who can speak on behalf of those who have no voice. Where are the leaders who can speak to the idea that it is not alien to American interests, but very much in our socioeconomic interests – not to mention our spiritual health – to integrate immigrants, that our nation functions best when we welcome newcomers and help them participate fully in our society?

I am glad to see the wheels are moving at last toward comprehensive immigration reform after last year’s election. I am glad that immigrants themselves are speaking up. I am hopeful that the pendulum swings toward seeing immigrants in favorable terms once more.

All three of my books, “Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora,” “East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres,” and “Birds of Paradise Lost,” are immigrant narratives -their dreams, their traumas, their struggles – and I write them with the confidence that these stories, written from the heart, will belong, in time, to America.

Bonus:

Listen to Andrew’s recent interview with Michael Krasny on KQED Forum.

Listen to Andrew’s recent interview on KALW

 

This interview original appeared on the Huffington Post. View the original here

If You Care About Equal Representation in the Arts, Fund This DVAN Project

DVAN (Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network) needs your support to publish an anthology of Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora.

DVAN needs to raise $1,500 in the next 25 days to match a grant from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. With this amount, DVAN will finish financing the high cost of publishing over 60 color images of artworks by Southeast Asian Women in the Diaspora.

 

So What’s This Anthology About, Anyway?

The Troubling Borders anthology first started when DVAN and four editors (Isabelle Thuy Pelaud, Lan Duong, Mariam Lam and Kathy Nguyen) outreached to the community. They selected and edited without institutional support the best works of women who trace their ancestry to Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Burma/Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei or East Timor. They also reached out to ethnic minorities from Southeast Asia, naming ethnic Chinese and Indians, the Mien, Hmong, and Cham.

The scope of the manuscript is large and unique. The final manuscript totaled over two hundred pages from sixty-one contributors, mostly based in the United States but also a few from abroad. It has 63 color images of artworks, which is rare for anthologies. The editors regard these images as an integral part of the stories.

These voices and visions are important. Despite their strong presence in our society, Southeast Asians remain underrepresented. Women are even less represented and therefore problems of patriarchy and sexism tend to be overlooked. As it fills this gap, the anthology counters degrading stereotypes of Southeast Asian women as dragon ladies, prostitutes, and “bar girls.”  Together, the poems, stories and artworks make visible the enormous ruptures caused by colonization, wars, globalization, and militarization.  They reflect upon the ways that women negotiate with the past, form and reform fluid identities, as well as sustain memory and imagination in their present lives.

What You Can Do to Make Sure This Anthology Gets on Bookshelves

DVAN recently received a book contract with University of Washington Press. This will be the first book about Southeast Asian women to be taught in universities in the country. It will inspire, empower and unify future generations of Southeast Asian women American and show the connections between us.

But DVAN is still a little bit short in completely financing the project. That’s why we’re turning to you. If you care about equal representation in the arts, please pitch in our OneVietnam fundraisng page to make sure this anthology happens. Thank you!

Check out a preview of the anthology below:

kouvang
Kou Vang – Forgotten

 

Troubling Borders is DVAN and the four editors’ gift to the Southeast Asian American community. The goal is to deepen public opinion and understanding about who we are as people from Southeast Asia, while establishing a firm presence in academia. The hope is that this book will inspire future generations of women artists and students to articulate their own voices through essays, poetry, and visual art…and be proud of who we are.

phongdo
Phong Do – Self and Aunts

 

nochoice
Anida Yoeu Ali – Palimpsest (image from installation)
Kao Lee Thao
Kao Lee Thao – Way of Life

Volunteers Needed: Build 36 new homes for low-income families in California

Want to pick up a hammer and get dirty to help 36 Bay Area low-income families build their new homes?  Sign up to volunteer at OneVietnam Network’s Build Day on Saturday, February 16, in Daly City.  Space is limited to 30 volunteers (no prior construction experience needed).  Reserve your spot now.

Imagine this: You’re the mother of three and living in a cramped two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco’s notoriously rough Tenderloin district. Your life isn’t glamorous, but having emigrated from Vietnam, you’re grateful to be living in a country with a decent social welfare and education system for your children. Each day, you work hard, tirelessly, and try to do what’s right for your family.

Admittedly, though, when you settle in with your husband, your two daughters, and son in a tiny shared room each night, a certain wistfulness sets in. You wonder: Will your apartment ever be cleared of the vermin that invades your living quarters each day? How will you keep all three of your kids’ asthma under control when that layer of dust throughout your apartment just won’t seem to clear?

Now here’s the twist. This isn’t just a made-up thought exercise; this is real life. This was every day for Mui Cong Phun, her husband Bau Ly Tran, and their thee kids.

Let’s face it: Inequality in the U.S. has soared higher than ever before. Sometimes, multiple people in the family working earnestly still can’t bring home enough to pull you out of less-than-ideal living conditions.  Average rent for a two-bedroom property in San Francisco is $1,905 per month.  A family would need to make at least $76,000 a year (or $36.63 per hour) to be able to afford rent without spending over one-third of its income on rent. (National Low Income Housing Coalition)

Thankfully, there are nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity to fill in the gaps. It builds affordable home ownerships for low-income families in urban areas across the U.S. Mui and Bau deservedly became first-time homeowners because of Habitat for Humanity and thousands of volunteers.  Sadly, there are many more families like Mui and Bau’s that are having a tough time. Here’s your chance to help families like Mui and Bau.

volunteer habitat for humanity

OneVietnam Network is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity Greater SF to host a Build Day on Saturday, February 16, in Daly City.  Volunteer your time to help build 36 new homes for 36 hard-working low-income families in the Bay Area.  It’s a rewarding daylong event from 8:30AM to 4:15PM.  Come get dirty with us and 30 volunteers. 

Reserve your spot now.  Delicious Vietnamese Banh Mi will be provided for lunch.

Continue reading “Volunteers Needed: Build 36 new homes for low-income families in California”

Where a Bicycle Makes a World of Difference

Humanitarian Services for Children in Vietnam (HCSV) asks, “How did owning a bicycle impact your childhood?” In a guest post from HSCV this week, we’re focusing on bicycles and how owning one can make the difference to a poor family in Vietnam. You’d be surprised at some of the chores that can be done with aid of a saddle and two wheels! A contribution of $70 will buy a bicycle and change the lives of children walking miles to school in rural Vietnam. Stop by our page to find out more and remember that any contribution made in the next two weeks will automatically be doubled up to $2500. Help us change lives and create smiles!

Mai and Son Need a bike copy2

Remember when you were younger and owning a bicycle was so important? Sure, walking was possible but what about the things you could do on two wheels?

You could ride further on a bicycle, and go faster.  You could race your friends, outrun your friends, or transport your friends. You could deck your bicycle out in fancy colors; attach stunt pegs, beads, or a basket. For many of us, the bicycle helped define our childhood.

As a part of our OneVietnam Matching Challenge, we’re highlighting the importance of the bicycle in rural Vietnam.  For many, the bicycle is more than a toy; it’s an essential tool.

And what an important tool!

Think of any job that requires you transport anything, anywhere. It might be a mattress, the groceries, a bag of clothes, or your children. Whatever it is can be easily placed in the back of your car (secure behind a seatbelt in the case of your children!).

For the Nguyen family living in Ba Vi, these chores and more are performed on the back of their trusty bicycle. They’re able to bring heavy sacks of vegetables home from the markets and transport their crop of rice to be sold. Even unlikely items such as furniture can be strapped to the bicycle and walked along the side of the road.

Most importantly, sons Tai and Vinh are able to ride to school, one peddling furiously, and the other balancing delicately on the handlebars. For children living in rural areas of Vietnam, this is a huge advantage. Young students may be required to walk hours just to reach the nearest school. Considering that they may also be malnourished, this is a huge drain of energy before they have even stepped foot inside the classroom. Having to make this kind of journey every morning further stacks the odds against children staying in school while, as we all know, a bicycle can cut a two hour walking into a half hour ride.

Simply put, a bicycle makes all of the difference.

It is no surprise that we incorporate bicycles into our HSCV programs. Our mission is to offer children a chance at a better future and we’d like to equip them well for the journey. By contributing a bicycle to a family you are helping us make a better future possible and you’re creating smiles today. Our bicycles are solid, reliable, and last forever. This gift will continue to give for years to come.

We have a long waiting list of families who would benefit from a bicycle, including the Nguyen family. Their daughter Mai is in Grade 6, and a math whiz. Her brother Hong Son has a heart condition. A bicycle would make it easier for her to get to school, and easier to transport Hong Son to the hospital.

A bicycle contribution costs $70. Thanks to our OneVietnam Matching Grant Challenge, a contribution made for $70 would automatically be doubled. The math is simple! One contribution equals two bicycles and two sets of families enjoying the benefits. Now is the time to make the difference for these families and give the gift a bicycle. Please drop by our page at www.onevietnam.org/HSCV today and help us create better lives and more smiles!