Orphan girl seizes life-changing opportunity offered by RMIT scholarship program

Orphan girl seizes life-changing opportunity offered by RMIT scholarship program

Four years living by herself without support from relatives nor financial allowance, Do Thi Hang still managed to excel academically and make her way to RMIT Vietnam.

Hang’s father passed away when she was 11 months old, and since the 7th grade she had been by herself for four years before moving in with her grandmother and two uncles who are Agent Orange survivors because her house in Ninh Binh province was no longer a safe place for her to live. 

Before moving in with her grandmother and two uncles who are Agent Orange survivors because her house in Ninh Binh province was no longer a safe place for her to live, Hang had been by herself for four years.

“It was a difficult and traumatising time,” Hang recalled.

“I had to work part time at a small garment factory up to seven hours per day after school to barely make ends meet with a very low income of approximately 500,000 VND [about $20] per month.”

It was when Hang realised the importance of education in changing one’s life.

“Looking at other workers some of whom haven’t finished high school and had no other choices but working under poor condition with little income, I knew I had to work hard for a better future,” Hang said.

“I might be an orphan, but not a pathetic girl.”

Walking the talk, Hang became actively involved in various activities and held many positions during high school, such as class president, Union captain of her school’s Communist Youth Union, member of the Communist Youth League’s Executive Committee, and volunteer for logistical support and assistance during exam seasons.

news-1-orphan-girl-seizes-life-changing-opportunity-given-by-rmit-scholarship-program Do Thi Hang (pictured left) received Certificate of Merit for her active engagement in school’s activities.

Founder and Manager of Khat Vong, a family for more than 300 orphans across the country and Hang’s second home recently, Ms Vu Thi Dung remembered how neat and clean Hang’s house was when she first met the optimistic girl.

“We knew about Hang during her 10th grade,” Ms Dung said.

“At that time, she was living alone in a small and old but neat and clean house.

“The only assets were a small bed and an old bicycle that helped her travel 16km to school and back home every day.”

Ms Dung couldn’t believe that the little girl who seemed to be forgotten still managed to study and achieve good results at school.

“Hang appears to be an emotional person, but deep inside she has an extraordinary will and strong desire to live and change,” Ms Dung said.

“At Khat Vong, everyone loves Hang for her joyfulness, enthusiasm, dynamism, and for not afraid of all difficulties and obstacles.”

news-2-orphan-girl-seizes-life-changing-opportunity-given-by-rmit-scholarship-program Do Thi Hang (pictured left) and founder and Manager of Khat Vong Ms Vu Thi Dung whom Hang considers her second mother.

Putting aside the busy shift work and her responsibilities for her grandmother and two uncles, Hang still went out of her way and helped others in need.

“As an orphan myself, I know how important the emotional support and guidance are to those who lost their parents,” Hang shared.

“I was very touched when I first joined Khat Vong family and felt the love from Ms Dung who we usually call Mother.

“That’s why I wanted to pay back by volunteering in taking care of, accompanying, motivating and spreading love to other orphans in Khat Vong [like a mentor].”

Hang was tremendously proud when watching the shy, under-privileged children steadily grow and became much more confident thanks to her year-long encouragement. 

news-3-orphan-girl-seizes-life-changing-opportunity-given-by-rmit-scholarship-program Despite her difficult circumstances, Do Thi Hang (pictured right) still finds ways to go out of her way and help others in need.

Despite her utmost desire to go to university after finishing high school, Hang decided to take vocational training at REACH to support her grandmother financially and take care of her uncles who frequently have seizures.

“It was a particular difficult period as I worked and studied part time, but it taught me to be a persistent and humble person, and a skilful worker,” Hang said.

“The more I learn and work, the more I love this line of work [in hospitality], and wish to devote all my time and passion to this.”

Hang was very grateful and full of hope when she learnt about RMIT Opportunity Scholarship.

“With an international environment, top quality credentials in Tourism and Hospitality Management, I see opportunities for a comprehensive development and leadership improvement in the diverse environment at RMIT.”

Following her life motto of “choosing working hard when you’re still young”, the young energetic girl is thrilled and eager to acquaint herself with effective management, administration, and management skills, in order to fulfill her aspiration in building a new culture in tourism which will bring more values to customers beyond just the best service experience.

Hang is one of the six students receiving RMIT Opportunity Scholarship this year, a partnership program with four not-for-profit organisations – REACH, KOTO, Vietnam Blind Association, and Sao Mai Center for the blind.

RMIT Opportunity Scholarship is awarded to students living under disadvantaged circumstances both physically and financially who otherwise cannot access higher education. To date, RMIT Vietnam has awarded 22 Opportunity Scholarships with a total value of more than 36 billion VND.

Story: Ha Hoang

  • Tourism & Hospitality
  • Scholarships

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