Student Stories

Vietnam is a country with great opportunities. This is why our focus is on disadvantaged youth, who are likely to miss out on these opportunities because they have to overcome challenges that most do not have.

Our graduates, who have reached out for their own future, have demonstrated great courage and determination. Through hard work, they are turning their lives around. Meet some of our inspiring students and read their stories below.



  • Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong

    Phuong is from a farming family of 4 members in Thanh Hoa province. She would grow up and spend an ordinary life like other girls, had it not been for a serious ill when she was in grade 3. The illness took away her ability to hear and gradually her ability to talk properly. Recovering from her illness, Phuong decided not to attend school for people with disability. She still attended normal school without receiving any special treatment or support. It was quite struggling. With determination, Phuong was able to finish high school with distinct score. However, when it comes to require Phuong to move from learning environment to working environment, the challenges have been raised to a higher level. After graduating from high school, Phuong started working as textile worker or helper at small bakery. However, she found herself feeling disconnected because she could not communicate well with her co-workers. At the moment, Phuong is an YCI trainee to pursue her dream of becoming a baker. “I like baking because it like the images of cakes in different shapes and colours. Making cakes also give me happiness, that I can make something that other people enjoy.” Everyday, Phuong wakes up at 4:40 am then catch the bus from Bac Ninh to Sheraton Hotel, where she is studying pastry. It has just been 2 weeks since Phuong started her training but she have learnt how to make different kinds of cream and sauce as well as shaping cakes. Her training day starts at 8am and finishes at 5pm. “What I like about learning at Sheraton is that people teach me how to make cakes in details and assign work to me.”, said Phuong. “It is a little bit difficult because everyone has to write down their instruction so that I can understand. Therefore, I always try my best to be more pro-active by observing what other people are doing more carefully. I hope that will not cause too much trouble out of my trainer’s busy schedule. Hope that people will soon get familiar with a new way of co
  • Pham Van Cuong

    Cuong is a 22 years old boy who came from Muong, an ethnic group in Vietnam. His family is living in Ngoc Lac – one of the poor mountainous districts in Thanh Hoa province. His family is under preferential treatmen
  • Nguyen Huu Manh

    What do you think about a dot in the middle of a white page? Without any hesitation, some people might say “It is just a black dot!” or “simply nothing”. But for Manh, “No matter how ugly that black dot is, it is the starting point to continue drawing the picture of your life.”
  • Nguyen Phan Thuy Linh

    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.
  • Nguyen Thi Ngoc Yen

    From the moment you meet Yen, you can instantly tell she is very responsible for a person her age. Being a carer for her elderly parents has meant she has always known the importance of looking after family. Her 60-year old mother cannot stand for more than five minutes due to Sciatica. Her father, 64, is an unemployed fisherman, recently affected by the widely publicized dead fish epidemic plaguing central Vietnam.
  • Nguyen Thi Trieu Anh

    Nguyen Thi Trieu Anh’s father left when she was just 12 years old, but she still remembers him. She remembers the countless times he got drunk and beat her and her younger brother. The abuse was so frequent that when he left, she finally felt safe.