REACH

REACH is a local, Vietnamese, non-government organization specializing in vocational training and employment for Vietnam's most disadvantaged youth. Our mission is to ensure that all Vietnam Youth have the opportunities and support they need to reach their full potential.
Jun 26, 2015

Students mobilization

These boats are where many migrant families live
These boats are where many migrant families live

This is the story of Hang Nguyen, Youth Career Initiative Coordinator at REACH.

During 2 years working at REACH, I have visited many students’ families. They all have different difficult circumstances, creating a long-lasting impression in my mind. What I remember the most would be the time when I carried out student mobilization event at a slum area in An Xa commune, near Long Bien Bridge.

The place locates by Red River.  This is the habitat of many migrants.  People here live in sentry-boxes, small boats, or temporary houses. In rainy season, when the water level goes up, those houses are flooded.  In those houses, there is mostly no furniture. People living by the river use the water for their daily life activities such as taking a bath or washing clothes.

To reach the area, I had to walk through a corn field. I felt unsafe because the area was built on by alluvia soil from the river. Therefore, the ground was soft and I would get stuck in the sand.  Here and there were garbage dumps, creating stingy smell during summer time.

I met Ms.Ngot, the president of club for migrants in the area. She says that many kids here do not have a birth certificates or ID cards. They grow up like wide grass and have never attended schools. This area is also a hot spot of social evils such as drug addicts or violence.

Ms. Ngot helped me gather people to attend communication session on REACH’s free vocational training program. We expected that there would be some youth, our targeted group, showing up. However, there were only small children and elderly people. Because it was day time, all of the young people here were away to earn a living.

They worked in junction markets, being sellers or porters. Their earning is small, which is just enough to live by the day. For those youth, their life is a continuous reel of work. As soon as they stop it, they would have to skip meals for the next day. Therefore, asking  those youth to invest three months to join a vocational training program like REACH’s is a challenging job, even if the program is free and will give them much better job opportunities.

The visit was a long time ago. Until now, thinking about it still gives me goose bumps.  I have visited many places and met many people, who are living in poverty. But it is hard to believe that there are still people struggling with surviving through day in a place as Long Bien slum area, which is just 2 kilometers away from the center of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

Garbage dumps along walking path
Garbage dumps along walking path
Meeting with elderly people in the area
Meeting with elderly people in the area
Inside a temporary house
Inside a temporary house
Mar 27, 2015

Beauty spa and Makeup class

Students practice body massage
Students practice body massage

Starting in November 2014, REACH’s very first Beauty Spa and Makeup class has graduated from our new Beauty Spa and Makeup facility in Hue. 

The first class, consisting of 13 female and 5 male students from disadvantaged backgrounds started the course in November 2014 and studied for over three months. Over the course of these 3 months, students were provided technical training in Beauty Spa and Makeup as well as life and job readiness skills. Students also undertook English classes that were provided by the REACH English teachers.  

Students graduating from this course can generally expect to work in hotel spas, beauty salons and wedding studios. Of the 18 students enrolled in our first class, 17 have already found jobs and are earning an average salary of ~3 million dong (US$140) per month. Furthermore, 8 of these students are working at 4 and 5 star hotels including the Imperal, Eldora and Anna Mandara.

Linh, one of the students graduating from the course said “I like studying here because the training helps me become more confident. I have learnt many life skills, enabling me to communicate better and have the necessary skills to adapt myself to the working environment. Moreover, the program gives me better awareness about my career and my life. Most importantly, I am equipped with professional skills and am supported in finding a suitable job”.

Personal makeup
Personal makeup
Dec 16, 2014

Be Inspired

Trung, study Sales and Marketing
Trung, study Sales and Marketing

At REACH, each year we meet hundreds of students whose stories add another convincing reason why we are doing our work. It is not merely because we are going to change someone's life, but their perspective towards life inspires us.

Viet

15 years old, Viet decided to quit school and move to Hanoi, working at construction site to earn some money. Viet wanted to help his poor family and to escape from his wine-addicted father, who usually scolded and beat his wife and children. At the age one is supposed to go to school, Viet had to spend sleepless night at construction site working, no day-off. When Viet started studying at REACH, his sister was sent to hospital because of convulsive fit. At that time, Viet study at day time and in the evening, he went to the hospital to look after his sister. Viet skipt breakfast and dinner just to save some money for his sister's hospitalization. However, Viet never failed to perform at his best at school. "Never take your disadvantaged background as an excuse to stand still. You need to keep moving forward."

Trung

21 years old, Trung left his small town and came to Hanoi. For 21 years Trung did not understand why his biological-parents decided to give him up when he was just 5 months old. Perhaps they were too poor. Perhaps they had no choice. But for whatever the reason, Trung feels no animosity towards his biological parents. He is grateful for the unconditional love and care of his adoptive mother, who is now 70 years old.

What we have found in common in Viet, Trung and many other REACH students is their positive thinking. Dispite their disadvantages, they consider themselves lucky to receive a helping hand and to have a chance to learn and get a job. They have big dream for the family and they know they need to try hard and fight hard for it. Talking with these young people, their stories, combined with their positivity, would make anyone feel ashamed for any complaints or depressing thoughts they have ever had.

That is the reason why we at REACH usually find ourselves motivated.

Viet and Trung are two among many impactful stories of strong will and hope. And the good thing at REACH is that those stories all take a good turn.

Viet is now working as housekeeper at Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel.Trung is sales person for Suntory Pepsico Vietnam. And they are still working hard and keep trying.

REACH students on their graduation day
REACH students on their graduation day
Students learn about the importance of teamwork
Students learn about the importance of teamwork

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