On October 8th, 2020, to celebrate their successful national high school graduation results and to prepare for university life ahead, The VinaCapital Foundation and Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund will convene 50 Brighter Path Merit Scholars in Vung Tau for the 12th Annual Empowerment Meeting. The program and this annual 3-day event to ensure the girls’ success, is the creation of Madam Truong My Hoa – Former Vice President of Vietnam and Chairwoman of Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund, and Mr. Don Lam – CEO of VinaCapital Group and Board Chair of The VinaCapital Foundation, to transform the lives and livelihoods of ethnic communities.

In the academic year of 2019-2020, all the Brighter Path students enthusiastically participated in their school’s social activities when the pandemic permitted while consistently achieving excellent grades. There are two scholars who earned prizes in their Provincial Students’ Competition. One hundred percent of the scholars passed their national high school graduation exams and all are waiting for their university admissions assignments.

Since 2020 has been an exceptionally difficult year for female scholars, the theme of this year’s Empowerment Meeting is ‘Continuing to Overcome Adversity.’ These girls have overcome so many obstacles already and these workshops will prepare them for university with increased confidence, improved learning tools, and a keen understanding of the value of higher education. The Annual Empowerment Meeting truly marks the beginning of the girls’ adult life and as such celebrates the transition from their rich rural ethnic heritage foundations to a challenging urban diverse cultural education experience. The Brighter Path program’s goal is to shape a successful future for the ethnic girls that preserve their ethnicity while creating economic ‘game changers’ equipped to lead and reduce poverty and lack of education in their local communities.

The Empowerment Meeting consists of a series of workshops held over three days to provide the girls with essential skills to cope with university stress without family support and independence in a new urban world. The workshop sessions focus on topics such as sexual and reproductive health, proper hygiene, building healthy relationships, study skills, time and finance management, and of course- how best to use their new laptop computers, the latter will be their first.

This year’s Empowerment Meeting workshops featured inspiring speeches from experts like MA. Ha Truong Phuong My, PhD. Pham Thi Thuy, MA. Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc and Honourable Consul of Romania in HCMC Ly Nha Ky.

With Brighter Path scholarships for 7 years of study (and more support for graduate school), ethnic minority girls’ futures are significantly improved and more predictable. Previous Brighter Path scholars and this current group prove that targeted improvements in health and education create fertile ground for the development of strong women who value their families and communities most and invest their lives and livelihoods in sustainable improvements.

For the Class of 2020, the Brighter Path’s formal education scholarship portion of the program is fully funded by REE Corporation, Repsol Viet Nam, and VinaCapital. The 2020 Empowerment Meeting is sponsored by Visa Worldwide Pte. Limited, accommodations provided by Ibis Styles Vung Tau Hotel, clothing donated by Couple Group and Son Kim Retail Corporation, laptop computers and software generously donated by Sanrio/Hello Kitty, and the Gala Dinner venue and food sponsored by DIC CORP (Pullman Vung Tau Hotel).

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