Even though it’s been five years, Linh finds it difficult to talk about
her father’s leaving. She hasn’t heard from him since but she knows from the
other villagers that he has a new wife and family.
Husbandless, Linh’s mother became the primary earner for their family,
including Linh and her younger sister. Each day, her mother would travel to
trade beans and rice, earning a meager incoming of around VND2.5million per
month. On this salary, they lived barely above the poverty line. But her mother
later became unemployed due to a bad harvest.
Now, in their tiny house at their family’s church, they dedicate half
of their space to raising pigs. Their bedroom is a tiny 1.5m room with a
mattress and a window – but they keep it closed to keep out the toxic small of
the pig sty in the other room. Raising pigs is a risky choice but they have few
other options. Sometimes the pigs get sick and die and there’s no way to
recover the lost money. Recently, two out of their three pigs died from
With no money, Linh dropped out of 9th grade to work as a
server at a nearby restaurant in Quang Tri Province, earning VND1million per
month. It wasn’t much but it helped the family. But after six months, she quit
after being verbally abused by drunk guests at the restaurant.
Still eager to work, Linh took up tailoring, but after two years she
had to resign due to her poor eyesight. It was after, when she was approached
by REACH graduates at a community event that she decided to work in skincare.
As a REACH Skincare student in Hue, Linh says that she was excited to
go back to school. “What I loved most was meeting the teachers and making
friends, and also learning life skills such as confidence building, time
management and self-esteem.
Moving forward, she is nervous but excited about a potential job
opportunity when she finishes studying in a few weeks. If she succeeds, she
will be a skincare specialist, working at the Thanh Tan Resort spa in Hue.