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."