Hoa was at University when she met her husband, Lanh. He was a single father who was taking care of his six year old son, at the same time as running an IT center for students. She told her parents she wanted to marry Lanh, but her parents weren’t supportive of the relationship. Hoa married Lanh anyway. Within a week of being married to him, she discovered why his first wife had left. Lanh beat Hoa incessantly, but she hoped desperately that he would change. Soon, Hoa was pregnant.
Hoa gave birth to a baby boy. Three months later, Hoa wanted to go back to work. Her husband wasn’t happy with Hoa replacing the student he had hired, and he locked her in a room and hit her for hours on end. The violence only got worse. Since Lanh wouldn’t let her go back to work, Hoa tried to enroll in further study. She studied for a year, but her husband berated her for making no money and forced her to quit.
When Hoa’s son turned two, Hoa was offered a job at a company close to where they lived. Things seemed to be looking up for Hoa. But Hoa’s husband had come to her work and met with her boss and spoke so poorly of Hoa, that the very next day she was let go. Hoa felt hopeless. Lanh mocked her, telling her she was just his slave used to give birth to his baby.
Hoa could no longer take Lanh’s abuse and decided to file for divorce. The proceedings were hard on her. Hoa lost custody of her son and had no means to survive on. Her family was ashamed of her divorce. With nowhere left to turn, Hoa searched online for help where she found Hagar Vietnam.
Staff at Hagar Vietnam came alongside Hoa and helped her to settle in a new city. They worked with Hoa through counseling and case management. At first, Hoa was afraid to see her son. She felt like he would be better off without her. But Hagar helped Hoa to overcome her fears, and she was able to reconnect with her son.
Hoa enrolled in an accounting course at University, and with Hagar’s support, she found a job and is now living independently. Her son stays with her often, she loves watching him grow and hopes that soon, she’ll receive full custody of him.
Hoa’s journey isn’t over, but Hagar has walked every step of the way with her. She notes, “It is a long and challenging journey but it is definitely worthwhile.”