‘Hien’ is from Hue province, in the central region of Vietnam. Her father doesn’t have a stable job due to a condition that affects his ability to do manual work, and her mother picks up odd jobs when she can. Without a stable income, her family struggles to make ends meet.
Due to her family’s financial situation, Hien was unable to attend school for two years. So when Blue Dragon met her in 2012 we began supporting her educational costs, such as school fees and the required textbooks, uniform and stationery.
Two years ago, after finishing Grade 9, Hien decided to leave school and put her energy into learning a vocation. She spent some time with the Blue Dragon career counsellor to weigh up her options, before deciding to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.
As a passionate cook who always helped her mother out with the cooking, the decision to apply to a hospitality training centre in Hanoi was easy. But Hien was a shy girl, and she often found it overwhelming to be in crowded places or to meet new people – so when she was invited for an interview she was incredibly nervous.
Blue Dragon social workers worked with Hien to talk through her worries and fears until she felt ready for the interview. Hien’s family was incredibly supportive in her decision, and encouraged her to set off in pursuit of her dreams.
As soon as Hien’s application was successful, she set off to Hanoi on her new adventure. But as an 18-year-old who had never lived away from her family, the move posed a whole new set of challenges. Coming from a small rural community, the different customs and the fast pace of city life came as a shock.
In her first month in Hanoi, Hien found it difficult to get around, often getting lost in the busy city. It also took her some time to get used to the food, as she was used to the salty and spicy flavours from her hometown. And of course Hien had to overcome her shyness so she could meet new people and make friends!
To make sure Hien adapted well to her new environment, Blue Dragon staff kept in close contact and regularly visited her at the training facility. After a few months, Hien adapted to her new surroundings, and got involved in many activities which helped her to come out of her shell and make friends.
Throughout the two year course, Hien learnt and practiced her cooking skills in a hands-on environment, and really thrived in the kitchen. But it wasn’t only her cooking skills that improved: those who have known Hien for years have commented on her newfound confidence, maturity and how far she has come.
After successfully graduating this year, Hien is now embarking on her next journey: her first full time job. And she is approaching this with vigour and independence.
Hien, Blue Dragon congratulates you, and can see a successful future ahead!