Thanh’s Story

Our travelers visiting Cambodia-Vietnam in February 2014 met several women who are beneficiaries of the work of Children of Vietnam and its Empowering Foundations program. Dang Thi Thanh’s story is one of them.

By Cynthia Sawtell
Chapter Leader, San Anselmo (CA) – 1

thanh and family

Thanh with her children – Quang and Thanh

Dang Thi Thanh is a young widow with two children. In 2008, her beloved husband was killed in a traffic accident at age 32, leaving her with a 2-year-old daughter, a 7-month-old son and no source of income.

To make matters much worse, their house was destroyed by a typhoon a few months later. Her heart was broken, and she suffered from severe depression. Her thoughts often turned to suicide. Only the love she bore for her children got her through these hard times.

Thanh’s in-laws allowed her to continue to live on their family land, so she built a shelter of sticks and canvas sheets at the back of her former house, and went to work in a plastic factory. She cleaned houses on the side to earn enough money to support her children.

Eventually, the local Women’s Union authorities built her a sturdy new house, but it had no indoor toilet. Our grant to Children of Vietnam’s Empowering Foundations for Women and Children program provided Thanh with a new indoor toilet as well as a microloan and assistance with purchasing a cow. It also provided the family with some emergency food relief.

The cow has given birth to a heifer. Now, they will have two cows to breed and calves to sell every year.  The next calf that is born will be used to repay her microloan and provide some extras for her and the children. Thanh’s children, now 8 and 10 years old, are thriving and doing very well in school. All in all, things have really improved for her.

Before we departed, Thanh expressed her gratitude:  “I am speechless. No words can show my happiness… I want to say thank you to all of you.”