Not everyone is born at the same starting line, but whether one can reach and grow even further from the finish line or not depends on their efforts. Tran Vinh Thanh is a representative of endeavor, together with a little luck, to achieve success. From a middle school girl who had to face the likelihood of ceasing her study to work in factories, Thanh is now the chief representative of a Japanese office in Ho Chi Minh City, an important bridge for the company’s business activities in the international market.
Born in Dong Nai in a family of four siblings, who all had to attend school, finance was a major issue for Thanh’s family; they often were in debt due and owed tuition fees. However, Thanh was very fortunate to receive support from teachers and friends.
“Actually, at that time, I didn’t feel ashamed of owing tuition fees. Because I myself, and everyone else knew that I couldn’t afford it. Besides, in my hometown, almost everyone experienced the same problem, not only me, so there is little to be teased or embarrassed about owing the fees.” – Thanh shared.
Thanh has been a part of saigonchildren’s family since 2007 when she was in sixth grade. However, by the end of middle school, she stopped receiving scholarships and considered ceasing her study. She was very hesitant about progressing to high school because the school was very far from home (about 15km), but she did not have her own vehicle to travel, and the tuition fee was high. She tried to be a factory worker in Binh Duong but shared that the working conditions were too harsh. She accumulated a little money, just enough to buy a bicycle for herself. Fortunately, during this period, she received great aid from friends, helping to continue her education.
“I’m lucky that my friends love me. In the past, if you wanted to progress to high school, you had to take an exam. I wasn’t intending to, but my friends secretly applied for me. A few days before the exam, they took the registration form, and called me to come back home and take the exam. I passed it, so I decided to continue studying.” – Thanh said.
After graduating from high school, Thanh went to college, and with her friend’s suggestion, she chose to major in logistics. Also, she continued to be a part of saigonchildren during her college years. She talked about her first time in Saigon:
“The first time I came to Saigon, I was like “hai lua”, thinking everything was so beautiful, my heart kept pounding. But I was also shocked by the high costs, and realised I must live very economically. I have to eat instant noodles almost every day. If I didn’t have class in the morning, I would sleep until noon to eat brunch instead of two meals.”
Thanh also signed up for an 18-month Japanese course organized by saigonchildren, and continued to improve herself. After graduating, she was recruited by a Japanese company, where she worked as an intern. The Japanese working environment and culture have very strict regulations, so at first, Thanh felt quite pressured. But, these very experiences have also helped her develop more easily at her current company.
Thanh shares that, in addition to participating in extracurricular activities, skill classes, and foreign language classes of saigonchildren, she often converses with saigonchildren’s members in difficult times to receive helpful advice. She feels incredibly happy to always have the support and help from those around her.
“From elementary to university, all the teachers and friends around me were very supportive. Also at work. Fortunately after my graduation, I was accepted to a position and didn’t have to struggle to find a stable job. Before going to school, my family had to take out a loan to finance my studies, so I really needed a good job to help my parents. Everything was very smooth and lucky. My progress was also quite fast. Within 5 years, I have come to this position, my source of income is more stable and the working environment is also more comfortable” – Thanh shares.
Now, with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, all of Thanh’s and her company’s projects and plans are put on hold, yet new happiness is coming when Thanh and her small family are preparing to welcome a new member. We wish all the best for Thanh and her journey full of happiness, health, and courage.