AGE: 18
LOCATION: Hoc Mon District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
University Student, Sociology

Attending a famous university in Ho Chi Minh City is a dream come true for Dang. The eldest child of a farming family of five, Dang worked in a sewing factory every summer to earn money for the family, but during the school year, Dang was able to continue her schooling with Room to Read’s support.

“I now want to do social work so I can help other people.”

Many of Dang’s friends had to leave school early to work full-time shining shoes or selling lottery tickets, but Dang was fortunate that her family allowed her to continue her schooling, while also supplementing the household income. The added income is a necessity, because her family lives in an industrial area near the capital city, and growing rice on borrowed land only partially pays the bills. Her siblings help on the farm, while her mother earns extra income peeling cashew nuts in a factory.

Before joining Room to Read’s program seven years ago, Dang was a quiet student. But, after seven years on the Girls’ Education program, Dang has developed into a self-assured young woman who is now one of the leaders of the Girls’ Education alumnae group. This group brings together girls who graduated from school in 2009 and 2010 as Room to Read scholars so that they can support one another. She shared, “I am now more confident and have a lot of opportunities to exchange my ideas with other girls in the program who have the same living situation like me.”

Dang was featured in the 2007
Girls' Education Yearbook

After graduating from high school, Room to Read staff introduced her to the Nguyen My Foundation which provides university scholarships for students. Dang was able to obtain a college scholarship from them and is now in her first year of studying sociology at a university in Ho Chi Minh City, while tutoring others in her spare time to earn extra income. She still lives with her parents, a younger brother and younger sister in the Hoc Mon district, which is 40 kilometers from her school. The two-hour commute makes for a long day, especially when she has tutoring sessions after class. She explains, “I’m a tutor of three children, and the small income I earn from that I use to buy bus tickets, breakfast, notebooks and pens for my studies.”

Although she once told us she wanted to be a math teacher, Dang has now changed her mind. “I now want to do social work,” she says, “so I can help other people.”

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Girls' Education Yearbook 2011

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