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Empower Women with Possibilities

Overcoming Stigmas – Loi’s Story

“I can overcome what hindered me in the past, and so can you.”

Loi, a 21-year-old client of Hagar International in Vietnam attended an international conference in Taiwan in late October 2018. At this event, Loi had many opportunities to learn and grow by sharing her story and listening to other Ambassadors.

When Loi was referred to Hagar two years ago by a former Hagar client, she suffered from multiple traumas, initially arising from sexual abuse and then social stigma experienced in her home village. Being blamed for being abused, and isolated, Loi felt unable to leave her house or talk with anyone. The abuser’s family lived across the street and whenever they passed by her house, they accused Loi and her family of lying about their son. Loi did not have anywhere to turn to, spent most of her time locking herself in a room, but did not want her family to be disheartened by her struggles.

Becoming a client of Hagar, she was able to leave her toxic environment and move to Hanoi. Hagar’s case manager and psychologist worked alongside Loi to develop and implement an individual care plan for her recovery. When she first entered our programme, she couldn’t talk about her past experience of sexual abuse. She was given space and allowed to set the pace of her healing. When she felt safe, she learned a different way to look at her experience. Gradually Loi became more open and shared her feelings more. She found her voice. Loi started working and with Hagar’s support, she entered university to study hospitality.

“I have overcome all the stigmas and complexes of a victim to become who I am today. I work, I go to university. I am building my life and my future. If I can do it, so can you.” –Loi

During her one week stay in Taiwan, Loi shared her story and her perspectives about gender identity and gender stereotypes with over 100 representatives from international NGOs in Asia.

Before, she pondered on the meaning of being a girl. In her hometown, girls are expected to finish high school, get married and bear children, and they should accept whatever is offered to them. Loi is determined that such a life is not meant for her. She believes that every girl deserves to know that she can be much more than what is expected from her. Indeed, she can be anyone she wants to be.

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