N was born in the year 2000 to a poor family in Binh Dinh province in central Vietnam. N’s family always lived a modest and simple life in the countryside, farming their homestead and raising livestock. N and his brothers and sisters never went to school, instead, they learned to tend to crops and to care for livestock to support each other in the traditional Vietnamese style.
However, what until recently was a highly respected way to raise a family, and which could provide sufficient income, is sadly becoming less fruitful and more unstable, as natural disasters and climate change threaten rural Vietnamese livelihoods, and as the country moves further towards modernization.
When N was just a young boy, his parents separated and his father moved to HCMC. N’s mother met and married a new husband, who sadly was violent and abusive towards N and his siblings.
In an effort to escape abuse, and with his family’s financial concerns in mind, N migrated to HCMC to look for work in 2014, along with the hundreds of thousands of other Vietnamese domestic labour migrants that move to Vietnam’s economic zones in search of a better life every year.
It was the first time he had ever ridden on a bus before, the first time he’d ever travelled alone, and the first time he had ever been away from his village and his family.
As is sadly the case with a lot of rural-urban migrants, N’s transition to HCMC was not easy. Not being able to read or write he struggled to find work, and any work he could find was unstable and low-paid. N slept in one of the city’s many parks at night, constantly in fear of thievery or abuse, unable to shower, and with no space to store his few possessions.
One rainy night Miss Loc, a social worker from the GBWS found N sleeping rough and invited him to the shelter. N was hesitant at first, hearing stories from other migrants about human trafficking, forced detention, and the many other dangers migrants face on a daily basis. He decided to give her a chance, seeing as he had so few options anyway – what did he have to lose? And from that day his life was transformed.
At the GBWS, N was provided with food, medical assistance, shelter, and education. He was welcomed into the GBWS family with open arms and never looked back. Due to his age, we were not able to send him to a state school, but our volunteers taught him to read and write, and because of our social integration project, we were able to secure legal documentation for him and enroll him on work-based training programmes. N is currently completing a hairdressing course at one of the most distinguished beauty salons in the city. He learns fast, is hardworking, and is thriving in his new role.
Sadly due to N’s age, the GBWS is no longer able to fund his course. We are a small charity with just enough means to provide for our boys aged 9-16. This is why we need your help. If N can complete his course, he will have a highly respected and specialist job for life, if he does not, he may have to go back to low-skilled low-paid unstable and unsafe work, re-enter the cycle of poverty from which he was lifted, and potentially end up back on the streets. We are looking for sponsors for N, and all of the other children like him who had a rough start in life, and who simply need a helping hand.
Thanks for reading.