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Empower Women with Possibilities

The Power of Education – Tien’s Story

Education connected with recovery unlocks full potential.


Growing up in a family where the parents got divorced and living with the father’s family, Tien didn’t get as much care from her mother as a normal kid would like. She was tricked by a group of Vietnamese people and trafficked to China at the age of 16. There she had to be wife to 3 different Chinese men.

Almost 2 years later, she managed to escape back to Vietnam but because of her family’s economic difficulty, she couldn’t continue to go to school even though she always loved studying. Instead, she ended up working at her uncle’s coffee shop to make money.  She thought things would get better when she finally made it back to Vietnam, but to her own surprise, the people in her hometown started to avoid and look down on her. They talked behind her back and looked at her differently. She was frightened, lost all her confidence and couldn’t bring herself to look into others’ eyes. Tien used to think about committing suicide facing all the discrimination from her community.

Tien was finally referred by the Department of Social Evil Prevention to Hagar. There she received shelter care, health care, life skills training and career orientation. After being counseled and mentored by Hagar staff, Tien was able to speak up and express her intention to go back to school.  Hagar has supported her education since the 8th grade and Tien is now attending the 12th grade at a school in Hanoi. Every year, she is awarded certificates of merit as a good student. Next year, she will take an examination into a university of social work. She dreams to become a social worker to help out people who come across the same disadvantaged circumstances like she did.

In fact, initially, it was not easy for her to readjust to a school environment with younger classmates and after such a long time out of school.

“To me, going to school has been a nightmare, after all stigma, blaming, and discrimination from my friends. Finishing high school is already a miracle, I never thought I could go to university. Hagar has always been by my side to encourage me until I realized there was nothing I could not do and decided to take the exam to enter college. Currently, I’m going to school while working, I feel stronger than ever and there are still many dreams awaiting ahead”, Tien confided.

Despite all the challenges, Tien is realizing how beautiful life is, how bright her future holds, and how strong and happy she has become.

Hagar provided financial support to cover tuition fee, books, uniforms, food, making sure all children have access to education. Hagar also works intensively with schools and teachers where clients attend to prevent and reduce stigma and discrimination against survivors of trafficking, violence and abuse, to ensure a safe environment and improve adaptation capacity of clients and dependents in schools.

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