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Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth

Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth
Life-changing jobs for deprived Vietnamese youth

In May, REACH staff underwent a sensitivity training course to gain a better understanding of the issues LGBT students may face.

A number of students identify as LGBT and this can make life difficult in conservative Vietnam.

The course, was run by Centre Manager, Ms Hang, who stressed the importance of providing a safe and inclusive environment at REACH.

“At REACH we accept students from all walks of life and expect that they are all treated with dignity and respect,” she said.

In attendance were two former students who identify as LGBT. They participated in a round table discussion to answer questions and offer insight into the Vietnamese LGBT community.

“In Vietnam there are many courageous LGBT youths. But some of them still want to hide,” said one.

A 2014 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) found that “LGBT people often face prejudices and are marginalised in schools” in Viêt Nam.

The same report also found that employers in Viêt Nam frequently discriminate against LGBT job applicants.

The seminar stressed the importance of inclusivity and anti-discrimination. It also covered how staff should address concerns raised by LGBT students and support networks available to students.

“REACH is a safe space,” Hang said. “Students should feel comfortable coming to school regardless of their sexual orientation and making sure our staff have the right information about LGBT issues is key to our success.”

At REACH we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body. From street kids to victims of human trafficking and, of course, LGBT youth we deal with a whole range of students affected by a broad range of social issues. Staff training is essential to making sure these students feel at home and included.

You can support staff training programs like this and create more opportunities for LGBT youth by donating to our GlobalGiving campaign here:


Nguyen Huu Hoàng Tùng is the web coding teacher at REACH. He has an unmatched passion for teaching IT and loves his work.

“From a young age, I have been passionate about education development for children and youth, as I believe that it is the key to transforming our country’s socio – economic status.”

He’s been working at REACH since 2017 and came on board to start the web coding course. Since then he has trained three batches of students with fifty graduates. Of those graduates 90% have gone on to find gainful employment in the IT industry.

The path, however, for the students can be difficult and long.

“REACH works with the most disadvantaged youth across Vietnam. Most are exposed to very little technology; many have never even used a computer before I meet them.  Among these students there are a number of those with disabilities.”

That said, when they do graduate it can be richly rewarding.

“Although it may be impossible for them to walk, or even just do the daily things needed for life like everyone else, they are able to learn from me and afterwards get a job in the IT field. It’s an amazing transformation.”

Mr Tùng is currently teaching his fourth batch of students and continues to fight discrimination by upskilling local youths and setting them on the road to success.

“Working and witnessing their growth and strength every day, in turn, has inspired me to continue doing this work. I believe that, through this job, I am not only able to help change the lives of disadvantaged youth in a sustainable way, but I can also contribute to the development of an inclusive economy for my country. There is still some discrimination here and through my work I hope to be able to change this.”


Dang knew the feeling of being completely and utterly alone before most people should. At the age of 11, her mother passed away, her father walked on the family, and her two older sisters were unable to financially support her. As a result, she was forced to drop out of school in ninth grade before picking up various odd jobs in order support herself. She did everything from loading bricks to waitressing at restaurants, only for a meager 3 million VND/month.

As she worked tirelessly at these jobs, she kept hoping and dreaming for bigger and better. For the longest time her dream was to move out of her hometown of Quang Ninh to the capital city of Hanoi and open up her own cosmetics store. It was through a fellow friend and alumnus of the program that she came to know about REACH. Seeing that REACH offered a course at the Hanoi Center for Sales and Marketing, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make her longtime dreams come true.

Once she started attending classes at the REACH Center Hanoi, she was impressed and amazed by the REACH community. She found that the most impressive thing was the dedication of the teachers. “Because I lost my mother when I was young, I have been deprived of the emotional support of a mother. Yet the teachers at REACH were always there for me.” she says, “They taught me little by little, step by step, how to control my emotions.” This community at REACH is what motivated Dang to finish her studies and desire a better life.

At REACH, Dang not only went through the Sales and Marketing vocational course, but was also supported in areas of soft skill training, English, basic computer skills, and green skills. She says that aside from learning a great deal in the classroom, she gained a lot of general insight and wisdom about life from simply spending time with teachers and other students at the REACH center. The best piece of advice she remembers that her teacher gave her is about being open-minded and thinking positively... "if you are not flexible and willing to change the way you think, then you will never succeed in life." Fast forward and it has been about six months since Dang graduated from REACH.

However, the support and mentorship of REACH staff is far from over. After beginning to work, Dang realized that there is a big difference between the expectations and reality of having a job…working is hard! Dang says that she has already dealt with many obstacles and difficult situations— for example, customers can be rude and demeaning and because she has to work from 9 am to 10 pm six days a week, she barely has any time for herself. When she hits these low points, Dang knows that her teachers from REACH will tell her to keep her head up and this strength drives her to keep going. Dang says that after studying at REACH her perspective on life has changed— she can see her life conditions a bit more clearly and now with a job, can pay to support herself.

Before REACH she was always stressed because she felt like her social skills were lacking. She didn’t have any friends and had trouble communicating with others. Now, she says she has gained a lot of confidence and has many friends— in fact, she currently shares an apartment with two friends from REACH. Post-REACH, she found a job in sales. She now works at Kitch Made in Vietnam where her basic salary as a saleswoman is 3,750,000 VND/month. With commission, her salary ends up somewhere between 8 to 10 million VND/month, almost 3 times her salary prior to attending REACH.

Her long-term goal is still to open her own cosmetics store but she knows that it is going to be a while before she gets there. Her final message to people reading this? "If you want to get a job and you want to change your life, you need to learn about REACH. I wouldn’t have known what the world has to offer me if I didn’t attend REACH."


Throughout my life, my family has been very unstable, and many things have happened to make life difficult for me. I used to think I couldn’t stand on my own two feet. I grew up in a rural area named PhuXuyen – Hanoi, where my parents were very poor farmers. Entering adulthood, I was so confused and had no idea what the future might hold for me. I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, so, following my friends, I moved to the South looking for job opportunities.

There I worked in industrial zone for a electric wire production company with very low income. It was not a secure job. I know that, like many other women, I will be trashed out of the company when I get 35 years old. I often fell in to anxiety and worried about the fact that without any technical skill, nor saving money, what could I do in the future.

But the difficulties were over when I luckily found the right path for myself thanks to REACH. I got the information through the Viet Vo – Vu Vo Phuong Nam Volunteer group, and was interested in REACH’s courses. I decided to study the YCI course, specializing in cooking. This was a great professional training program. It taught me hard work, meticulousness, patience, and to be humbler, and I began to understand the importance of a foreign language in life and work. REACH also equipped me with great life skills such as interpersonal skills and team work.

Here, I met other young people with similar circumstances. Perhaps that was the reason why we could understand each other and are very close. We participate in volunteer activities helping children in the orphanage. I gradually came to realize that I am not the only one who has difficulties, I have been much luckier than many people out there.

After 6 months of study, I graduated and worked at Intercontinental Asian Saigon Hotel – ChiDory Restaurant with an income of 7.8 million per month. My job is chef of the hotel-that high-scale restaurant; I propose the daily menu, and coordinate to prepare dishes. I have been trained in kitchen management skills.

I am constantly studying for advanced skills in cooking, and work hard at foreign languages. I have started to save money for a “kitchen management” course in France, which I will take part in for the next two years. This is a big dream for me, but one I know I can achieve.

Now, cooking is my passion. I cannot believe I'm the chef of a 5-star hotel, a job that I'm so proud of. If I did not find REACH, maybe I would not have found myself, and I would not have found something I love from my heart, cooking food.

Vu Ngan Thu, 28 years old

YCI graduate

Batch: 39 – Ho Chi Minh city


The REACH Alumni club was established in 2007 in response to demands from REACH graduates. The clubs enable graduates to stay in contact with one another and support their on-going efforts at self-improvement and education. Alumni members also support REACH's programs and its growth. Clubs organise social and community service activities for members. They also provide an important link between REACH graduates and REACH. Alumni clubs in Hanoi, Da Nang, Hue and Hai Duong provinces support the work of REACH by playing an active role in REACH’s student recruitment processes, curriculum development and guest lecturing. The spirit of REACH lives on in our graduates through their involvement in the Alumni clubs. The ALUMNI motto sums it up: “Alumni Club – join hands together for future success”. 


(Written by Ha Phuong Thao – Alumnus, Customer Relationship, Sales & Marketing class)

This was the 6th time I’d been back to our centre as a guest lecturer. Without the anxiety for the first time, I felt completely Comfortable before many friendly and admiring eyes. The sweetness of my memories and the love I felt during my time at REACH abruptly flooded my mind. I remembered occasions when graduates came to share with us their experiences, their knowledge of products and many other valuable pieces of advice and information Then, I was whispering to myself that I would contribute back my own part to help other youth. I told the students about electronic products and customer groups. Since my very first days at work, I was selected for this sector- the major sector in every supermarket. The modern and challenging working environment is really attractive and forces people to be more active. A number of times, I had to skip Alumni Club meetings because I couldn’t arrange the time. After 6 months of intense effort, I was promoted to Audio team leader. The long 6 months were worth investing,
as I was selected in such a competitive environment. The satisfaction of that achievement spurred me on to develop more. It’s the premise for me to fulfil my dreams. Coming back to assist the centre is my desire. It’s similar for other graduates. Coming back means seeing facilitators and the image of ourselves before in class, realizing that we have grown up and that life is so valuable.
After having been Audio team leader for more than 1 year, I was promoted to Chief Manager of the electronic products sector. It is huge but it matches my ambition. I’m in the recruitment committee now which means I have more opportunities to support REACH. I know, it’s rare to be selected as the chief manager of the electronics sector with only a high school qualification in hand and I appreciate precious things that REACH has done for me. I’ve built a good foundation, I will study more to fulfil my dreams – Thao said.



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Organization Information


Location: Hanoi, Hanoi City - Vietnam
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Hanoi, Vietnam
$47,119 raised of $60,000 goal
488 donations
$12,881 to go
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