Student Stories

Pham Van Cuong


Cuong is 22, and comes from the Muong, a ethnic minority group in Vietnam. His family lives in Ngoc Lac, one of the poor mountainous districts in Thanh Hoa province. His family is under preferential treatment.

Cuong’s father passed away when he started senior high school. He lives with his mother and elder brother, who have to work very hard, but do not earn much money. When he finished high school, he did not continue studying, but instead went to Binh Duong (a province in the far South of Vietnam) to work for nearly 3 years due to his family's poor economic situation. 

Cuong has always dreamt of becoming a famous chef, and wants to be able open his own restaurant in the future. But there was no way that he could chase his dreams with his current situation. Then he heard about the YCI program by chance through an article on Facebook. Immediately, he left Binh Duong, and travelled to Hanoi to apply for the cooking class in the YCI program, where he got the chance to work as a trainee at the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel.

“I’m always hard working and eager to learn from the advice of my hotel trainers and teachers at REACH. I always remind myself to try my best to make my dreams come true”. He said, “Through six months of studying, I changed myself so much. From someone who didn’t have any experience in cooking, now I know how to hold a knife, prepare food and I’m much more confident in communication. And soon I will have a job which will allow me to make my way in the world”

He said that this program helped him to develop himself, and also gave him opportunity to take care of and support his family better.

*Now Cuong is continuing to chase his dreams by applying for stable, high standard and high paying jobs in order to study and develop his skills. 

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