Providing education, resources and hope for a brighter future.
More than half of Vietnam’s ethnic minority households live in poverty, according to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office. That’s over six million people who struggle to address their basic needs and to access opportunities to prosper.
Living in rural areas, their financial struggles are exacerbated by social and cultural isolation. Ethnic minorities, especially girls, often lack the opportunities to further their education. Factors such as the need for girls to work to support their families’ help with the household chores, and/or early marriage impede their opportunities for education.
Difficult living conditions and cultural traditions, society norms, and realities compound the economic situation of these ethnic minorities. These factors result in a low number of girls that have the opportunity and support needed to continue their education.
To provide hope for a brighter future and a break from the poverty cycle for ethnic minority girls in Vietnam, VinaCapital Foundation, in partnership with Vu A Dinh, a local Vietnamese scholarship organization, created A Brighter Path: Scholarships for Ethnic Minority Girls.
This program provides 47 impoverished ethnic minority girls with mentoring and scholarships while they attend high school and university. Each student receives a seven-year scholarship (three years of high school and four years of university) that includes support for books, food, housing, and uniforms or clothing. Before receiving the scholarship, the families must commit to support their daughter’s education through the duration of the scholarship.
Prior to the start of each school year, VCF convenes all 47 beneficiaries each year for the Empowerment Workshop and Dream Meeting, the purpose of which is to engage the girls in workshops relevant to their personal and academic growth including career planning, good study habits, building self-confidence, financial literacy and health and nutrition.
At these meetings, which have been held in Hoi An, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, have included inspirational talks by exemplary women from Vietnam including Madame Truong My Hoa, former Vice President of Vietnam; Madame Nguyen Thi Doan, current VP of Vietnam; Methiba Pretha, Chief of the UN in Vietnam; Madame Ton Nu Thi Ninh, Former Ambassador to France for Vietnam; Deborah Chatsis, Ambassador of Canada, and many women corporate leaders.
As a result, the girls who arrived shy, scared and with very narrow horizons, now have confidence in their ability to succeed much better world view including many opportunities for their career. With an education, a young girl has the power to break out of the poverty cycle. And as she does so, she can channel her resources to create better prospects for those closest to her, in her family and her community. Improve her life and many more will benefit.
47 girls remain in the program after high school and all 47 were accepted to college or university. All girls have successfully made it through their first year of college.
Watching the girls grow into confident and strong young women is an impact that has brought the VCF staff much joy. In 2012, prior to the girls entering college a very generous woman executive, Katherine Yip from Hong Kong, helped VCF to give the girls a very special and unexpected gift…and HP computer fully loaded with software, a 3G Viettel connection to the internet, and a back pack for carrying. HP and INTEL joined forces to help us have a generous discount for the girls, as well as a package of software and training.
The corporate sponsor for the first cohort of 50 girls for A Brighter Path is Talisman Energy, with matching funds provided by the VinaCapital Group. These funds are used to pay for the scholarship part of the program, and living expenses.
Sponsors of the Annual Empowerment Workshop and Dream Meeting
Talisman Energy, VinaCapital Group, Cancham, Golden Light Investment Trading Co., Mast Industries, Michelin Dinner Event, Trang Cabrera, Andy Ho, Doan Le Thuy