Students and staff at the launch of YCI Vietnam
Thank you for your support!
It's been a busy three months at REACH and we have a lot to update you on. Just last month, we launched our fourth (and largest) Youth Career Initiative (YCI), with nearly 50 disadvantaged students from around Vietnam. Among this batch of new students was Tran Bich Thuy, a young woman who was raised at a Catholic orphanage in Gia Lai Province (you can read more here).
We also launched two new classes: a 3D-modelling class in partnership with IT firm BR24, which will give successful graduates the opportunity to work with BR24 and other leading graphic design firms, and a cooking class that will provide essential cooking and food preparation skills.
But with just two months until Christmas, there is still so much work to be done. While the rest of world celebrates this festive season, many disadvantaged youth across Vietnam will continue to struggle without unemployment, enduring poor living standards and negative effects such as poor esteem and low confidence.
It is this reason why we are more motivated than ever to continue our work but we need your help.
Below, you’ll find some inspiring student stories from our centres in central Vietnam. With your support, we can help change the lives of many more youths just like Diem and Thang.
Diem - Housekeeping - 19 – Danang
Diem always dreamed of having a job she loved. Especially a stable job that wouldn't leave her wondering when her next pay cheque would arrive. But this was the reality for her and mother. Diem's father abandoned her mother soon after she was born. Her mother, a public cleaner on a salary of just $130US/month, raised her alone.
Life had always been a struggle, but Diem says this has made her a resilient person and that she knows how to persevere even when times are tough. Despite studying hard and graduating high school, Diem never had the option to pursue her dream of studying at university. Instead, she helped her mother with her work as a café waiter and hospital cleaner. The work was hard, uncertain and paid as little as $50USD/month.
Diem found out about REACH through a friend, and signed up to study housekeeping at REACH’s Danang centre. “It was not what I expected at all. It was great to study with other students with a similar background and to be in a respectful and sharing environment,” said Diem. “I also felt very well looked after by the teachers, they were so caring.”
Just one month after finishing her studies, Diem’s teacher found her a full time job as a room attendant at the Richico Hotel, with a salary of $150USD/month plus benefits. “I couldn’t believe that I could get this kind of job so soon. I really love it here, the job and working environment is very supportive of me,” she said. Diem also says the salary is enough to support a comfortable life for her and her mother.
Looking back, Diem says the skills she learned at REACH helped prepare her for the work place. “I can apply what I learned at REACH everyday, which helps me be more confident. I can still get advice from my teachers which makes me feel supported, they are always encouraging me.”
Dang - Sales & Marketing - 24 – Hue
He might only be 24, but Thang has overcome incredible odds to be where he is today. When he was just two years old, his father abandoned him and his mother to move to Saigon. Thang later heard through the grapevine that his father remarried, but he hasn’t seen or heard from his him since.
After his father’s leaving, he and his mother, a rice farmer, barely made ends meet. When he graduated from high school, Thang helped his mother on the farm. This was back-breaking, arduous work. Often starting at dawn and finishing long after the sun went down.
Thang knew that even with a university degree it would still be hard to find a good job. He began working casually as a waiter, starting in restaurants and bars in Hue. But work was unstable and despite working 12 hours a day, he earned only $40-60USD per month.
Eventually, Thang found out about REACH after a friend encouraged him to register for REACH’s Sales and Marketing course. It was his first time in a classroom since he finished high school. "REACH had a very good vocational training center. The practical learning environment and the useful skills and knowledge helped me be more confident in applying for a job,” he said.
Since graduating, Thang has worked as a sales representative at MICOEM, a large food manufacturing company, for more than four months. He now earns around $350USD, more than six times his income before studying at REACH.
Thang says interacting with many different customers on a daily basis has significantly improved interpersonal skills. Having a stable job has also allowed to him to take better care of his family, he said.
So what advice he would give other students thinking about studying at REACH? “We can’t choose the situation in which we are born or where we come from, but we can choose where we will end up and what we will do with our lives. Thanks to REACH, I've found a direction in my life. I know what I want to do and I want to achieve that now.”
Thank you for your support and have a safe and happy festive season!
Everyone at REACH
Tran Bich Thuy speaks about her life in Gia Lai.