Thirty-six-year-old Pham Thi Hau was born in a poor village in Hai Duong province. After losing her father at a young age, she had to move to Hanoi when she was 10 years old to earn money to go to school. At the age of 24, she got married and had a daughter. Not long after, her husband, and Ms. Hau was left to raise her daughter alone.

Today, she sells toothpicks for the Hanoi Disabled People Association to earn her living. Ms. Hau has to walk more than 20 kilometres each day to sell toothpicks and spends a lot of her time working to ensure her family’s standard of living, minimal though it is. As a result, she has very little time for her 12-year-old daughter. However, Ms. Hau is still always working to better her daughter’s life, even though there are so many obstacles in her own.

Ms. Hau’s daughter can see how hard her mother works, but she longs for the times they are together.

“I am afraid of being home alone waiting for my mom, or being sent to my hometown with my grandparents, so that my mom can go to work. I know that my mom has to work hard to earn money to raise me up, so I love her so much.” she says.
“I love to talk with my mom, but I don’t share with her that I want to have mom and dad by my side because I am afraid that she would be sad”

Recently, Ms. Hau took part in the P.A.C.E. program conducted by CARE International in Vietnam and the Hanoi-based development agency LIGHT. The program helped Ms. Hau learn useful life skills, and her confidence grew as a result. At the beginning, she was hesitant to take the time to participate in this program. However, the more she participates, the more she is able to see the benefits she has gotten from the program, Ms. Hau says.

Ms. Hau learns very quickly in the P.A.C.E. program. She has been selected to be a peer trainer, allowing her to continue training and guiding other people like her. She works with 11 female migrant workers, sharing what she has been learnt from the program.

Moreover, after sharing what she has learnt with her daughter, Ms. Hau says she can see the practical and useful skills gained from the program have inspired both of them, gradually improving life for both her and her daughter. Ms. Hau realizes that her daughter has become more open and confident. She now actively shares school stories with her mother. Hearing about the good marks her daughter earns at school makes Ms. Hau very confident on the future of their family.

“I just hope that my daughter studies well and gets a good job. Even though I have to work harder, I still try my best to help her get a bright future,” Ms. Hau says.

That is true that Ms. Hau is a woman who hasn’t enjoyed much luck her life. However, all the good things that come from community, and especially from the P.A.C.E. program, have strengthened not only her skills and knowledge, but even more importantly, they give her greater faith in the future.

GAP worked with CARE International in Vietnam to implement the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E) initiative from 2005-2015. The initiative helps female factory workers reach their full potential through the development of professional, life and interpersonal skills. The two-phase program involves a series of factory-based learning modules, covering areas from personal finance and communications to health and gender equity. These created opportunities for the women to move into management or supervisory roles at factories and better lead in their families and communities.

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