Student Stories

Nguyen Thi Minh Phuong


Phuong is from a farming family of 4 in Thanh Hoa province. She would have grown up and had an ordinary life like many other girls, had it not been for a serious illness when she was in grade 3. The illness took away her ability to hear, and gradually her ability to talk properly.

After recovering from her illness, Phuong decided not to attend school for people with disabilities, and continued to attend normal school without receiving any special treatment or support. It was a huge struggle, but with determination, Phuong was able to finish high school with decent score. However, when the requirement came for Phuong to move from a learning to a working environment, it was a much harder challenge.

After graduating from high school, Phuong started working as textile worker and helper at a small bakery. However, she found herself feeling disconnected because she could not communicate well with her co-workers.

At the moment, Phuong is a YCI trainee, pursuing her dream of becoming a baker. “I like baking because I like the images of cakes in different shapes and colours. Making cakes also makes me happy, as I can make something that other people enjoy.”

Everyday, Phuong wakes up at 4:40 am to catch the bus from Bac Ninh to the Sheraton Hotel, where she is studying to be a pastry cook. It has just been 2 weeks since Phuong started her training but she has already 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 detail 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 very pro-active by observing what other people are doing more carefully. I hope that I will not cause too much trouble for my trainer, with his busy schedule. I hope that people will soon become familiar with a new way of communication.”

It is too early to say how far Phuong can go to realize her dream. But we believe in her determination and her passion, with which Phuong successfully persuaded the managers from Sheraton to accept her into their training program. 

*Phuong is now working at FLC Sam Son Beach and Gold Resort in the pastry department. 

Other students

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    Ngo Van Nhuong knows what it’s like to grow up in a crowded house. He, his two sisters, his younger brother, his mother and his father all live together in a small 20-square meter hut just outside Hoi An ancient town. His married sister’s home is far away but she has moved back in to look for work. There is only one bed so Nhuong, his father and his brother sleep on the floor.
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    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.
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