What It Takes to Get Through University in Vietnam

Matching grants are an excellent way to make a difference and double your impact. Humanitarian Services for Children in Vietnam has a live matching grant challenge on OneVietnam right now. Check out how they’re putting their funds to use in scholarship programs below and then head on to their fundraising page to pitch in.

 

Want to hear an inspiring story?

Thuong is a fourth year university student in Hanoi. He is 22 years-old and has his entire life ahead of him. He loves his classmates and his degree.  He is this close to realizing a dream of a professional career and the chance to help his family out of the desperate poverty they have lived in for generations.

Only money stands between Thuong and the end of his degree.

Like many of us around the world, Thuong’s family have scrimped and saved for his education.  His parents have sacrificed all they have, knowing, and hoping, that Thuong’s education will free him from a life spent in the fields struggling for wages to stay afloat. They have borrowed money from the banks, friends and neighbors, and anywhere else they can. They have sold most of what they have except for a buffalo, a pig and a bicycle, elements essential to their survival. Theirs is an all or nothing gamble and they are facing the possibility of coming up short.

This a simple story of everyday inspiration.  It is the story of a boy growing up in poverty and a family doing everything in their power to help him escape the chains. Thuong is studying hard and looking to succeed.

Right now, you have the chance to be a part of his story.

To help young men and women like Thuong overcome their financial burdens and achieve their dreams, an anonymous Matching Grant of $2500 has been donated to Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam (HSCV). We have 4 weeks to meet this latest challenge on OneVietnam. In our last challenge, we shared the stories of Manh and Dinh. Thanks to your contributions, we have been able to provide them and other young girls and boys with sponsorships. Now we’re looking to provide assistance to those who are closer to the finish line. Like Thuong, they’re hungry to achieve the level of education they need to make a real difference in the world.

By contributing towards an HSCV Post-High School Scholarship, you’ll be helping these young men and women change their own world. It costs just $250 per year to assist a student through university, college of vocational training for their choice and the returns will be numerous. They’ll be able to find the jobs they need to repay their family’s debts. With their completed degree they’ll contribute back to their communities by creating business, contributing social aid, and expertise in several other fields. In fact, there is no limit to success they might achieve, if they are given the chance. Your investment just might yield the thinkers and leaders of the future.

For more information, please visit OneVietnam.org/HSCV. Contributions can be made for as little as a $1 towards a program of your choice. A full $250 contribution will provide a sponsorship to help a student like Thuong become the story that he imagines.

The Importance of Pre-Founding Experiences in the Development of High-Impact Entrepreneurs and Scalable Startups (Part II)

The key to starting and growing a new venture is the ability of the Founders to “co-create” a new venture and let other stakeholders (i.e. customers, partners, suppliers, and investors) shape the new venture.  This is where a distinction between “expert” entrepreneurs and “experienced” entrepreneurs becomes crucial.  “Experienced” entrepreneurs have had experience starting one or more new ventures.  They may have achieved some success in their past ventures, but their chances of replicating their success is not higher than their first venture.  In other words, the entrepreneurial process remains a mystery to them, and whether they will be successful in their next venture is highly dependent on chance and circumstance.

By contrast, “expert” entrepreneurs are individuals who are able to build many successful new ventures over their lifetime.  They have learned, through repeated experiences of starting many ventures, both successes and failures, about what matters most in the process of creating new ventures and why.  The entrepreneurial process is less of a mystery, and they have been through the process with so many different people that they have developed and validated some heuristics, or rules of thumb, which can serve them well in the process of starting any new venture, regardless of industry or cultural context.

What distinguishes “expert” entrepreneurs from simply “experienced” entrepreneurs is that ability to react without bias to any new entrepreneurial challenge in a way that will produce the optimal results for the formation and success of a new venture.  This requires humility and a willingness to recognize objective metrics over subjective opinions formed through personal experiences.  This is not an easy thing to do, especially for an entrepreneur who has had a successful venture and is seen as a celebrity on the entrepreneurship scene.

Steve Jobs provides a great example of this.  After being ousted from Apple in the 1980s, Jobs used his massive fortune to get into two new ventures.  The first was NEXT, Jobs’s attempt to revolutionize business computing by applying the same product philosophy as he had used for the original Mac to the educational computer market.  This was a great idea, but the company nearly went bankrupt for the same reasons that hampered the success of the original Mac (i.e. too high a price point, or as some might say, a lack of product/market fit).  NEXT was saved when Jobs rejoined Apple, which subsequently acquired NEXT for the use of its software kernel in the development of the next generation Mac OS.

He also purchased Industrial Light and Magic from George Lucas, and intended to revolutionize the digital animation industry by providing cutting-edge software and hardware.  The company almost went bankrupt (again, due to a lack of product/market fit), and was only saved when it started producing animated films, like Toy Story, that hit home runs at the box office.

Steve Jobs himself could not have envisioned either of those outcomes, and if he refused to bend his vision to accommodate what customers were telling him (through not purchasing the intended products, and purchasing the unintended ones), we wouldn’t have incredible products like the iPhone, iPod, and iPad, and Apple wouldn’t be the most valuable technology company today.

This principle of co-creation has emerged from research conducted by Dr. Saras Sarasvathy, who met and interviewed “expert” entrepreneurs to understand the way they think and make decisions during the process of starting a new venture.

The concept is that subtle balance between vision and adaptability that is a hallmark of “expert” entrepreneurs and great leaders in general.  At the core of co-creation is the ability of the entrepreneur or leader to gain the trust or commitment of key stakeholders (i.e. a purchase order for 50 new computers from a computer retailer, or a contract to develop a new Operating System for a new personal computer).

So, the practice of co-creation through any type of “pre-founding” experience is the best way for both aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs to improve their chances of new venture success.  Organized programs like Startup Weekend and Lean Startup Machine offer great opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to gain such pre-founding experiences, as well as entrepreneurship courses that focus the students on learning through interactions with customers, partners, etc, as opposed to simply focusing on writing an unvalidated business plan.  The quality of these experiences will depend on the clarity and focus of the individual entrepreneurs and how they spend their time.  At the end, what matters most is not whether their new venture idea was successful or not, but rather, what tangible skills, knowledge, and connections they gained during the experience that can help them in future entrepreneurial endeavors.

Blue Boxes, Traf-O-Data, and Facemash: The Importance of Pre-Founding Experiences in Startups (Part I)

When reading the early histories of the entrepreneurs who started successful companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, an interesting pattern emerges.

All of these entrepreneurs had started small ventures before starting the company that scaled up and eventually went public.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had started producing “blue boxes” that produced a digital sound that would trick the phone company’s hardware into permitting long distance calls for free.  They built each device for $50, and sold them for $100.  They sold about 100 of them before one customer pulled a gun on Jobs in the parking lot where they were doing the deal and demanded the device without payment.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen embarked on a venture to collect and analyze traffic data with their first company called Traf-O-Data.  They were able to generate a few thousand dollars in revenues before the State of Washington started offering traffic data services for free, ending the demand for private contractors.  The three principles soon moved onto other projects.

And who could forget Facemash, the infamous female student comparison website launched by Mark Zuckerberg, which demonstrated the incredible pull of an on-line social experience based on real social connections – and almost got Mark kicked out of Harvard.

Even non-technology entrepreneurs, from Howard Schultz (Starbucks) to Richard Branson (Virgin), and even social entrepreneurs like Mohamed Unis (Grameen Bank), had similar “pre-founding” experiences that helped to shape their mental models of how their future ventures could be started and run.

These early experiences and later successes profoundly shape the ways in which experienced entrepreneurs search for and select new opportunities.  If the entrepreneur has a strong urge to follow what he knows from his past experience and is not open to the possibilities of alternative business models, this bias can actually inhibit an experienced entrepreneur from launching and growing successful new ventures.

Want to Save a Life? Build a Toilet

This Season of Giving, you can double your impact by helping some of the great NGOs on OneVietnam Network with their matching grant challenges. As part of a holiday special, the NGOs are sharing their thoughts and reasons for dedicating themselves to Vietnam’s poor with you. The article comes from Children of Vietnam (COV), who recently successfully completed a challenge grant with readers’ support. Stay tuned for more opportunities to double your impact with COV!

A family receives a new toilet

 

Toilets save lives…it’s not very sexy to talk about, but it is the bare and honest truth.

Here’s why…every day hundreds of children die from illnesses like diarrhea and dysentery caused by dirty water and unhygienic living conditions. We can’t fight malnutrition, lack of education, or poverty without tackling the diseases that contribute to it. As part of Children of Vietnam’s holistic approach to helping children, we’re working hard to be sure all families have good sanitation. Improving disposal of human excreta can reduce illness due to diarrhea by 34%!

A family kitchen that desperately needs connection to a running water system.

Take the Thanh family…Ms. Thanh is a widow supporting two children, but she does not earn enough to provide this basic necessity. They live in Hoa Tho Tay, Cam Le district, Danang city. The whole family must “go” outside in the fields and drainage ditches.  They really need a toilet.

The Phuong family is in a similar difficult situation. Ms. Phuong works in a factory and her husband is a farmer. They also live in Hoa Th? Tay, Cam Le district, Danang city. They labor every day to support their two children, but they cannot afford this most basic need for proper sanitation.

The children in these families are all at risk for diarrheaol diseases and parasitic worm infections both of which lead to malnutrition and weakened immune system.

Sanitation is vital for good health plain and simple. Spread the word. If 15 donors gifted $21 each, one toilet can be built for a family that will have profound and lasting impact.

 

Want to save a life? Head this way to COV’s fundraising page.

Help HCSV Keep This Family’s Educational Dreams Alive

This Season of Giving, you can double your impact by helping some of the great NGOs on OneVietnam Network with their matching grant challenges. As part of a holiday special, the NGOs are sharing their thoughts and reasons for dedicating themselves to Vietnam’s poor with you. Check out this post from Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam (HCSV) and donate to their matching grant challenge today!

It’s Tuesday morning in Minnesota, and at HSCV we’re working extremely hard to meet our OneVietnam Matching Grant Challenge. We’re 69% of the way towards meeting our goal and with less than four days left, there is still plenty to do. Can you help us give the gift of Education this Holiday Season?

In many countries around the world, education is a fundamental part of childhood. Think back to your own school years and consider the friends you made, the adventures you had, and the opportunities you created. These experiences are central to the person you are; they shaped your social skills, your confidence and your knowledge of the world. Education helps us grow into adulthood. Of course, this is only part of the picture; education is also practical. It increases the chance of finding work and a stable source of income.

Kanh and his family

At HSCV, we believe firmly in the right of a child to attend school and we apply this philosophy to all of our programs. Despite living in a country that places such high regard in education, many Vietnamese families are forced to take their young children out of schools so that they can help provide another source of income. Last week we introduced Bang Ngo and her son Khanh. Khanh left school to prevent his family from starving. In the short term, it was the only option he had. In the long term, Khanh will find it very difficult to find anything but the most basic and low-paying work. Our mission is to help students like Khanh stay in school.

 

Manh is eleven years old. His family lives in a dilapidated house at the foot of a mountain. When it rains, the house floods with water. There are holes in the roof and winter is a miserable time for Manh’s family. Manh’s parents don’t earn a lot of money and their future might seem grim. Yet, thanks to generous contributions, Manh has been able to stay in school. He is popular with both teachers and friends, and has a burning desire to complete high school, so that he might find a decent job that supports his parents. Success begins with opportunity; Manh was given the opportunity to dream about a better future for his family and he has taken that opportunity with a huge grin!

At HSCV, we wish to give this opportunity to all young children; however, we can’t do it without your support. There are still many families with children needing that once chance to succeed. The Vu family desperately wishes to keep their son Khanh in school. Khanh likes studying Literature and Math. He has his own little study desk and he sits at it, completing his homework while there is still enough light. We are currently looking for a scholarship to keep Kanh in school. We want him to have the best chance possible of improving his family’s fortunes in the long term and we’re hoping that you’ll be able to help us.

There are four days left in our Matching Grant Challenge. Anything that you donate in the next four days will be doubled, up to our $2500 goal. You can make a contribution as a gift for that special person who understands how important education is for young children, knowing that your gift is delivering twice the potential. That thought makes us all excited at HSCV and we hope that it makes you excited as well. Remember, any contribution means the world to us and we welcome gifts as little as a dollar. Happy Holidays from all of us at HSCV and thanks for making a difference!

Lend your support? This way to donate.

Give the Gift of Education: Empower a Child

This Season of Giving, you can double your impact by helping some of the great NGOs on OneVietnam Network with their matching grant challenges. As part of a holiday special, the NGOs are sharing their thoughts and reasons for dedicating themselves to Vietnam’s poor with you. The second article comes from Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam (HSCV). Check it out and chip in to their matching grant challenge!

At Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam (HSCV), we’re dedicated to investing in the children of Vietnam. We believe that education is a fundamental ingredient in the fight for a better tomorrow, and this belief is reflected across all of our programs. Our staff works with families in Northern Vietnam, assessing their needs, and their potential. We consider opportunity to be the bridge between the reality of today and the potential of tomorrow, and we apply this philosophy to our lives and our work.

Consider the Ngo family:

For Bang Ngo, it had become obvious that a sacrifice was necessary. Faced with the death of her husband, an unstable job, and a makeshift camp literally on the doorstep of a garbage dump she had almost run out of possibilities. A mental disability prevented her from maintaining steady employment and her $1 per day earnings was not nearly enough support herself and three children, Kanh, Hanh, and Duc. The next step was the only viable option for survival; her eldest son Kanh dropped out of school to look for work.

Kanh’s situation reflects the reality for many families in rural Vietnam. In a country that places utmost respect in education, children are often depended upon to supplement income or to assist their parents in the rice paddies. Kanh discarded the potential of his future to keep his family afloat in the present. Consequently, his options as a worker were very restricted. With no education, and no prospects, Kanh was limited to the most basic employment for the smallest return.

HSCV first met the Ngo family in 2007. Since our initial meeting, we have been able to assist the family with their immediate needs by first enrolling the family in our rice program, ensuring that they do not go hungry. Our next step has been to find scholarships for the children.  We were lucky to be able to provide Duc with a scholarship and he is currently relishing in the opportunity to stay in school. We are still looking for scholarships for Hanh and Kanh.

We understand that there is no perfect solution for poor families living in rural Vietnam. Everywhere, life is a struggle and we all struggle to some degree in our own lives. What we do hope for and strive to give is the gift of opportunity, and the potential for possibility. Education has a resonating effect: It empowers children by providing them with social and critical skills; it feeds their imagination and shows them how to expand their goals and their dreams. Around the world, we believe that schooling is an essential part of childhood. At HSCV, we want to make sure that every child receives this opportunity.

These Holidays we are giving new meaning to the word ‘potential’ through our OneVietnam Matching Grant Challenge. For the next seven days, any money that is contributed through OneVietnam will automatically be doubled up to $2500. The math is simple: doubling donations will allow HSCV to sponsor twice as many children with the gift of education, or supplement twice as many families with rice so that their children do not have drop out of school to find work.  That’s exciting! So, this Holiday Season, consider your own potential to empower lives and create smiles.

Happy Holidays from HSCV!

There’s Never Been a Better Time to be an Entrepreneur in Vietnam

Aspiring entrepreneurs have asked, and we have delivered!

 

With the launch of the first annual Startup Vietnam Conference on December 19 at the New World Hotel Saigon (StartUp.vn), we’ll be making several big announcements.

 

The first of these is the launch of Startup Labs Vietnam (www.startuplabs.com).  Founded by Startup Weekend Co-Founder Clint Nelsen, Startup Labs makes seed investments along side local angels and VCs into promising early-stage ventures in developing countries.  Building off of programs conducted in Turkey, Taiwan, and Mexico, Startup Labs will be bringing their expertise and innovative investment model to Vietnam, with over $600,000 in seed funds committed from local angels and VCs.  Teams can expect to receive seed funding from $30-250k, as well as expert mentoring and coaching from the Startup Labs Vietnam team.  Applications open Dec 20, and candidates will be selected to receive funding by Jan 20.

 

Two other regional programs are also targeting high-potential startups in Vietnam.  JFDI, a member of the TechStars Network based in Singapore, is launching their second class in March 2013 for their seed accelerator program.  And Echelon 27, one of the biggest annual tech startup events will hold regional competitions in Vietnam in late March 2013.  Both of these programs are accepting applications from Vietnam-based startups, and offer seed funding as well as a chance to pitch your product to regional investors.

 

Finally, entrepreneurs in Vietnam now have a home, The Start Center for Entrepreneurs provides both a creative and collaborative co-working space in the heart of downtown Saigon, as well as a residence for short or long term stays all in the same facility!  The Start Center is the first physical hub of a virtual incubation network in Vietnam called The START Network (TheStartNetwork.org, which received funding from the World Bank’s Infodev division earlier this year.  The Start Center brings together geeky technologists and killer designers with world-class technology and social entrepreneurs to start and build awesome new ventures.

 

For more information about any or all of these projects, feel free to email chris@thestartnetwork.org.

Toilets Save Lives in Vietnam

 This Season of Giving, you can double your impact by helping some of the great NGOs on OneVietnam Network with their matching grant challenges. As part of a holiday special, the NGOs are sharing their thoughts and reasons for dedicating themselves to Vietnam’s poor with you. The first article comes from Children of Vietnam. Check it out and chip in to their matching grant challenge!

Khai Tay family with new toilet. Photo by Richard Brummet. (2012)

“Go around” is a phrase that very aptly summarizes what it means to live without a toilet. In the small rural village of Khai Tay, there were many households without toilet facilities–not very sanitary, convenient, or allowing for much dignity. This limited access to decent sanitation puts millions of children throughout Vietnam at risk of contracting diarrhoeal diseases. In Vietnam, an estimated 6.5 per cent of the population resort to open defecation and close to half of the population in rural areas do not use sanitation facilities, according to UNICEF.

Families must use the surrounding fields and streams to relieve themselves—the same water sources they use for cooking, cleaning and bathing. This forced unhygienic practice exposes all of the villagers to health risks caused by flies, mosquitoes, and water pollution. Diarrhoeal diseases, parasite infestation, cholera and other illnesses are intertwined with unsanitary environment and are a deadly combination, especially for children under five and the very old.

The Khai Tay families earn on average about $35 per month as hired farm labor. Our goal was to construct toilets for as many families as possible, and with some very kind donors we had sufficient funds for 17 families to construct the toilets. What a great gift! But there is more…when the families learned this news they were delighted but realized other families still needed toilets. They met to discuss this situation, and with much volunteer labor, they were able to stretch these dollars to include 3 more families!

That is what community is all about—stretching from half way around the world to just a few feet down the road!

Children of Vietnam has just announced a campaign to give the most basic of needs to children and their families…an indoor toilet. To kick off this campaign, 9 families have been identified for which an indoor toilet will have a profound impact.  Each toilet costs $315. The total goal is $2,835 to give all 9 families a chance to avoid parasites and diarrhoeal diseases, keep children in school, keep parents working, and retain dignity.

Donate today!

 

Bay Area-based Chef Khai Duong Is On Mission To Elevate Vietnamese Cooking

NHA TRANG, Vietnam — The street-side seafood restaurant — long metal tables, plastic chairs, beer girls in short skirts — is the last place one would expect a classically trained French chef to give a cooking lesson.

 

But there was the unassuming Bay Area-based Khai Duong, one of America’s most acclaimed Asian chefs, giving intricate instructions. For one dish, Duong ordered the restaurant to grill fresh sea urchin with scallion oil, chopped peanuts and lemon. He then sent it back for more grilling when it didn’t meet his exacting tastes.

 

“They don’t like cooking it this way because it’s too labor intensive,” Duong, the longtime executive chef and owner of San Francisco’s Ana Mandara restaurant, said

 

So why is the chef who graduated first in his class from the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Academie d’Art Culinaire De Paris — and once cooked at Michelin Guide three-star Le Bernardin in New York City — sitting at a restaurant where blue-collar workers sling beers all night, chanting: “Mot hai ba zo!” or “One, two, three, cheers!”?

 

Numerous Vietnamese-Americans have returned to their homeland to chart new careers, start a company or invest in the growing Southeast Asian nation’s economy. Duong is back on a mission to help create a new generation of Vietnamese chefs, who don’t always garner a lot of respect as professionals in their own country. And he hopes to help transform the nation’s culinary culture by promoting new approaches to traditional Vietnamese cuisine, elevating it to rival the fine cooking found in Europe and the United States.

 

Duong hopes to achieve those goals mainly through his role as the main judge in “Iron Chef Vietnam,” an adaptation of the Japanese and American cooking game shows. It launched earlier this year to give rising culinary stars a much-needed spotlight.

 

“The competitors sweat,” he said. “There is intensity. It’s not just entertainment. It helps to inspire artistic cooking and creativity.”

Read the full story by John Boudreau at the San Jose Mercury News

Photo by LiPo Ching of the Mercury News

Putting An End To Human Trafficking: Why We Do What We Do

Caroline Nguyen Ticarro-Parker is the Founder and Executive Director of the Catalyst Foundation, an nongovernmental organization that aims to eliminate human trafficking in Vietnam. Caroline and the Catalyst Foundation were both featured on CNN’s Freedom Project earlier this year. The Catalyst Foundation has a living matching grant challenge on OneVietnam that ends in 2 days. If you believe in their cause, give them a hand now! They are less than $300 away from meeting their goal. Help them get there and beyond.

Below, Caroline shares why she’s committed to ending human trafficking.

***

In April of 2011, my staff and I travelled to Buon Ma Thuot to rescue one of our community’s daughters. Catalyst Foundation is not in the business of putting our work and our staff in danger, but we are in the business of enforcing the belief that “NO child is disposable!”  Every child deserves a chance – today, not tomorrow.  Tram, the young girl who were on our way to rescue, had been rescued once before, but was again trapped in a brothel. The “bad guys” weren’t your stereotypical evil villains – they didn’t even look scary because they were her mother and another woman in her 30s that could have easily been her aunt, neighbor or friend. Her mother had sold her for $150 – her own 15-year-old daughter! The money wasn’t needed for food or to pay off debts, but for alcohol and gambling.

Tram was one of our first students in the school Catalyst built for the community. She loved school and was doing well. She flourished in her classes and was the first in her family to be literate. Unfortunately, as it is part of Vietnamese culture to help your family, Tram dropped out of school to help her family by working.

Tram was originally sold in December 2007 and rescued immediately before she left the province. Then, once again in October 2010, we found out her mother had organized another sale. Catalyst does not believe in paying off the “sale price” of these young girls and reinforcing the idea that children are a thing rather than a person. Several times we organized her return but that never materialized. Unable to contact Tram directly and not believing her mother who said she was fine and wanted to stay, we took action and drove with her family 16 hours to meet with Tram and the brothel owner.

Tram is 16 years old and can decide on her own whether she wants to stay in the brothel (which was housed in a beauty salon) or return to her home province. As we walked into the beauty salon, Tram was scared and apprehensive having not seen her parents in 6 months.

Immediately upon being asked what she wanted to do, Tram said she wanted to go home. It was at this point that the brothel owner demanded payment of $2500 for her release. As we found out her mother had been using her daughter as collateral to continue borrowing money, Tram’s face changed from fear to anger. She also looked desperately at her father, the man who should have protected her.

As word spread throughout the area, the brothel filled up with Vietnamese “strong men” and supporters of the brothel owner as well as the Provincial Minister of Justice (PMJ).  He (PMJ) immediately said “I know you,” “I have been here before” and “I have warned you.” He then asked Tram what her job was in the beauty salon. When she replied “massages and haircuts,” he started pointing his finger saying, “Don’t lie to me, I know what you do here.” He then lectured the mother and the brothel owner that young girls shouldn’t work in a place like this. He also forced the mother, father, and brothel owner to sign a contract that they could not and would not sell their daughter or use her as collateral for money lending.
Once the contract was signed, we took Tram to the hotel to shower because she had already been “working” and had serviced several customers before 8 am. She was scared and panicky whenever someone knocked on the door or approached her. Realizing she feared for her own safety, we immediately checked out of the hotel and drove back to Kien Giang leaving her parents at the bus stop to travel on their own.

Once Tram was in a safe place she broke down and started telling her story. A story that started at 6 am and finished at 10 pm. Her requirement from the brothel owner was to service 10 men before 9am. If she met this requirement she only had to service another 10 men before 3 pm. She never questioned it or received any money. She never asked for help or screamed or tried to run away because she felt it was her obligation to help her parents. She later confided that the men hit her and performed sadistic sexual acts upon her.

Tram is now back in Kien Giang. She personally appealed to Catalyst to allow her parents to remain in the community. The community now watches her parents and they know everything the family does. Given many options to return to school or get vocational training, Tram spends her day at home because she is broken. This once happy and excited young girl is broken.

Broken by a family that sold her.

Broken in a community that knows what happened to her.

Broken because she feels she has nothing left to offer in this life.

Tram isn’t alone. 16 other girls in the community have been raped and abused by neighbors. The average age is ten with the youngest being 4 years old.

There are shelters for young women in Saigon (HCMC), however, only 2 out of 9 girls from our community have remained longer than a few months. The reasons are varied but the common thread in each is they don’t feel they belong. They don’t belong because of their ethnic background. They don’t belong because of their socio-economic background. They don’t belong because the counselors don’t relate to them. They don’t belong.

There is no simple option to stop trafficking. Catalyst Foundation believes there is only a holistic approach to ending this tragedy. Through education and community development, we are giving these communities and their daughters HOPE!

Hope that allows young girls to hold their heads up!
Hope that provides women with decent job opportunities!
Hope that stops mothers and fathers from selling their daughters!
Hope that empowers a community to stop traffickers!

We believe that NO child is disposable.

 

 

Support Catalyst Foundation today.