“I was born into a family with a lot of hardships. Year-round life consists only of my parents working on the farm. Sometimes, because life was so cramped, dad would get drunk and smash things, beating my mother. There was a time he was about to spread gasoline and set my house on fire. Mine and my sister’s bookcase withered away after all of these fights. I am aware of my family’s misery, that my mother is struggling alone to support three children and her husband. But despite those difficulties, I still try my best when studying. Since childhood, I have been visually impaired and discriminated against by people around me. I have few friends and little contact with others… I tried but I could not see my future as there were only negative thoughts in my head.”

This is how Ro Cham Ling (Jrai ethnic group, Gia Lai province) described herself and the difficult life of her family before following 49 other ethnic minority female students to join the Brighter Path program. Although every day Ling ponders about the future, the young girl has long been training her will with the hope that education will open a new future for her and her family. Ling’s eyes are not as sharp as a lot of peoples’, but her heart is so bright that it illuminates the path she is taking and helps develop her potential. To the Brighter Path team, Ling is a resilient, talented girl who loves life and appreciates the opportunities she has with this long-term scholarship project.

After 5 Annual Empowerment Meetings, the Brighter Path and VCF team are surprised by how much Ling has grown and impressed us each time we meet. Now finishing her second year of university, she has always maintained great study results and is now fluent in Chinese. She has demonstrated her public speaking skills as a great MC at every Empowerment Meeting’s Gala Dinner and in multiple activities. In May 2022, she met with Miss Universe Vietnam 2022 contestants at the VCF office and proudly introduced the Brighter Path program. Her presentation charmed everyone as she showed confidence, and grace and made all emotional when hearing about the program’s impacts on her life. The 20-year-old girl has transformed into an independent and brilliant woman as she is unleashing her potential. 

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