Letter from student Nguyen Van Thang


My name is Thang. I am now studying at HCMC Economics University, class 36.

I was born in Thanh Hoa, in a family with lots of tremendous upheavals and conflicts. My father had a serious psychological disease, used to hit and beat others. My scared mother left our family when I was just 5. A year later, my father was arrested and sent to the province's psychiatric unit then he died of unknown reasons. I had to live with my aunt, but soon had to escape from her beating, thrashing and unfair treating. This time was really a nightmare. 

I am still so scared when I think about my childhood, a time of cold and hunger. To survive, I had to do variety of jobs. However, no one wanted to hire me, a small child, except to sell vegetables.  Most of the things I was doing at that time were not good. I used to be a thief, a burglar, etc…at times. When I was eight, a gentle monk felt pity for me, then let me live in the pagoda in Ha Tay (now Hanoi) and go to school. Unfortunately, the pagoda burnt after 1 year. I was sent back to my village, lived by selling vegetables from door-to-door. 

At the age of 12, I was fortunate to meet an overseas Vietnamese returning to VN to open free schools for poor high school students. I was learning with a thick timetable to catch up with other students. I won the provincial award for grade 9 outstanding students, so they sent me to study in Hanoi till grade 12. I mostly concentrated on my study and did not worry about living costs. I got a prize for outstanding Mathematics student, reaching the quarter-round in the Olympia knowledge competition and Echo Peak from Thanh region. I met my mother again, but after a work accident, she was handicapped and could not work any longer because of spinal disease. I always tried my best to study with the hope to be successful in the future...

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Thang in community activities with the group "ShareHOPE" giving presents to poor children

I passed the University entrance exam for both the HCMC Economics and Medical University. I chose economics because I can do part time jobs while studying economics to take care of my mother and support us. I really want to get the government bank’s loan for poor students. But having now no relatives in my hometown (Thanh Hoa) makes it impossible to get a loan from local authorities. I have an unstable income as a student working small part-time jobs & sometimes unemployed. Life seems to be completely at a standstill at certain moments. I then feel really down, losing directions. Without psychological support from friends, I could have given up my study. The tuition feesat my school are really a burden for poor students. VNSDF scholarship saved me, helping me solve this serious problem. It’s also a psychological & spiritual support that makes me more confident to keep on with my study.



Recommendation letter from his high school teacher Nguyen Duy Trinh

If someone asks me “what is my dream?”:my ideal would be to help children who are orphaned or disadvantaged, get over the unlucky fate as I did. If i can, I‘ll build up a village specializing in selling mushrooms and other agricultural products with a distribution company in the South and contributions to support poor people and disadvantaged children.I also wanted to build a project with like-minded students who can contribute to the country, share the joys, sorrows, as well as experience in society. I thus became a leader of two teams implementing community projects: “Illuminate dreams” and “ShareHope”.

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Paper from authorities confirming that the family, that consists only of his mother & him, lives below poverty level(Thang is a half-orphan)

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Grade report: despite being orphaned at a young age, & having to earn his life, THang is an excellent student

When I received the information from Miss Phi about my sponsor – mentor Mrs Nga, a retired UN economist, I was really joyful because my career is about business management. Knowledge about general economics is necessary and United Nations are a big & significant international organization. I hope I can learn from her wide knowledge, life skills and experience in social activities –the field that means most to me.But my English is not good. My 2nd concern is that I still do not know how to communicate well with her. In any case, I want to thank Miss Phuong, Miss Phi, Mrs Nga as well as the friends in VNSDF very much because you gave me a belief in life, the feeling of a cozy family, the opportunity to continue my dream. I promise I will try hard to study, always strive and will not betray your  expectations. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Thank you very much.


Nguyen Van Thang, Saigon, 23.12.2011

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