“He Put My Future First”By Tra Ngo Thu
14-year-old Xa lives in a village in the north-central region of Vietnam. There, women are the breadwinners of the family, and girls often follow their mothers to the fields to work from morning to night. Most girls, even if they do get the chance to go to school, drop out early. By their early teens, many would get married, have children, and start earning a living.
But Xa wanted to go to school, so she would walk 20 kilometres on a dirt road every day to make it happen, yet the fate of dropping out of school seemed inevitable. One day, her mother broke her leg and could not walk, so she could not work. After the family went several days with nothing to eat, her father told her she needed to drop out of school to help the family. “I missed going to school. I cried with my sister over the phone every time we talked,” says Xa.
Fortunately, change was coming with the help of World Vision. A World Vision staff listened to Xa, comforted her, and visited to persuade her father. “She has dreams and passion, and she loves going to school. These characteristics will take her very far in the future if she can pursue her studies. When she goes to university and has a good job, you will be proud of the decision you make today,” the staff told Xa’s father, and this has changed everything for Xa. “Something so sincere in his words has changed my father’s mind. I felt like the staff understood me more than anyone else did. More importantly, he put my future and my well-being first,” says Xa gratefully.
Therefore, Xa could return to school, and has since been boarding with friends during the week so that she no longer has to walk so far. After becoming a sponsored child, Xa has received help from World Vision including daily essentials and her boarding costs, while her father was trained on how to breed chickens, enabling the family to have eggs to eat and sell. Xa also got to learn about decision-making skills and how to protect her rights. “I have once again realised the power of education. Only education can bring me away from the old-fashioned customs,” says Xa. Now, Xa wants to be a part of change in her community: she has set her sights on becoming a policewoman who protects children from harm.