Letter from student Nguyen Van Thang

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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.

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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.

Sincerely,

Nguyen Van Thang, Saigon, 23.12.2011

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