Vuong, Chieu-Anh, and Phu-Sinh stories: Building hope and futures. Vietnam.
Vuong, an 11-year old orphan, lives with his 75-year-old grandmother. Everyday after school, Vuong and his grandmother went to the sea to search for shells and fish. On a good day they earned 30,000 VND (less than $1.50). On a bad day, they went without food. Despite often going to school hungry, Vuong is an excellent student who works hard to learn. Each day in school is precious to him, since he is never sure he can continue. With his grandmother sick, he thought his dream of getting an education had ended.
“I will have to drop out of school next semester. My grandmother is very ill and we won’t have money for school anymore.”
Chieu-Anh is a high performer at Nguyen Du High School for the Gifted in Dak-Lak Province. In addition to caring for her mother, she has to find food each day after school.
“My father died when I was born. I only knew of him from his portrait on the altar. My mother taught blind children. Because her salary was so low, we usually had to abstain from food. Despite the challenges, my mother and I were happy because we had each other. When my mother got diagnosed with cancer two years ago, we didn’t have money for medicine and had to borrow from everyone we knew. When her condition got really bad, we had to go to the Oncology Hospital in Saigon every month. I will learn to become a doctor so that I can help my mother and other poor people. I will work hard for my dream but first I need to have a chance to go school.”
Like Chieu-Anh, Phu-Sinh’s father died when Phu-Sinh was young. Phu-Sinh performs well in school despite having to care for his mother and sister, who are mentally ill.
“Sometimes, I want to drop out of school so that I can find a job to help my mother and sister. I know deep down, however, that won’t help them in the long run because they will always be ill. Without a good education, when I get older, I won’t be able to take care of my family and help other poor people in my hometown. I must go to school now to become a doctor. I don’t know how I can do that and so I pray everyday for a chance to go to school.”
With Mona support, Sunflower Mission was able to provide a scholarship to Vuong, Chieu-Anh, and Phu-Sinh. Upon learning they received the scholarships, their eyes sparkled with happy tears, hope, and gratitude.
Mona Foundation works with SunFlower Mission, a US-based nonprofit organization founded in 2002 to improve the lives of people in Vietnam through educational assistance. Primarily serving marginalized students in remote villages, it builds schools and provides educational materials and scholarships to teachers and students. By partnering with Sunflower Mission, Mona supports students who are filled with dreams but lack the means to continue their education. Sunflower Mission has supported more than 14,000 K-12 students, 400 of whom have graduated from college.
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