Every day after school, Nhi, 12 years old, would hurry back home to help her mother pluck out the weeds in their vegetable garden. Thanks to her diligent care, the garden was rarely bothered by pests and became more robust.

 

The vegetable garden was among World Vision Việt Nam’s support to improve living conditions and livelihoods for registered children in its Sponsorship Program like Nhi.

 

The many challenges of young parents

 

In Lục Yên district, Yên Bái province, it was not out of the norm to get married early, and this was also the case with Nhi’s parents. Her mother, Nhung, never finished high school as she dropped out to help her family and got married to Nhi’s father, Hượng, when she was hardly 18 years old.

 

Having to become a wife and mother when she was still largely unprepared, Nhung found her family life suffocating. Both were fresh out of school, yet they already had to build a family of their own. Being financially tight and having to care for a small child, along with lacking skills and maturity in dealing with each other’s emotions, the couple fought all the time. As one of the low-income households in Lục Yên, Nhung, and Hượng worked hard but could still barely provide for Nhi. They wanted to give their daughter good things and better meals – more than just plain rice with veggies and occasional meat.

 

“After I joined the Sponsorship Program, I saw a lot of changes in our family.”

 

In 2019, Nhi became a registered child in World Vision Việt Nam’s Sponsorship Program, and that was when things started to change for her family. then on, Nhi had a special friend who lived all the way in Australia but still cared deeply for her well-being. their letter exchange, Nhi had the chance to learn about life in Australia, things like the summer there being December to February, kangaroos being Australia’s national animal, and many Vietnamese students choosing Australia as the destination for their global education. In return, she would tell her sponsor details about her life: her school work, hobbies, and activities in the Children’s Club. those exchanges, Nhi felt that Australia had become something dear to her heart, which inspired her to work harder to visit the country and her sponsor one day. “I receive cards and letters from my sponsor every year, and they have been my inspiration to do better at school. I’m very proud to have a ‘foreign’ friend who cares for me and lets me be a part of his life,” Nhi smiled fondly.

 

Through World Vision Việt Nam’s holistic interventions to improve the well-being of registered children, Nhi’s family received a wide range of support, from livelihood tools to parenting training. Both Nhung and Hượng were registered in World Vision Việt Nam’s Celebrating Families sessions and Positive Discipline training, which are part of the Child Protection Program. The courses taught them that violence is never the answer and that they must communicate and listen to each other’s needs.

 

In addition, World Vision Việt Nam supported Nhi’s family with chicken and vegetable farming to improve their meals and give them additional income for a secured livelihood. After the chicken barn and the vegetable garden were in place, the family’s meals were getting more substantial, which gave Nhi and her brother, Huy, the necessary nutrition and energy to grow and be healthy. Nhi could still remember vividly that one time when she was feeding the chicken, her mother said softly: “With these chickens and eggs, we won’t have to worry about the side dishes for you anymore.”

 

Nhi and her brother, Huy, helping her mom feed the chickens. Nhung would often encourage Nhi:

“Thanks to your care, the chickens are growing up all well and healthy.”

 

A loving family – A strong foundation

 

After three years in the Sponsorship Program, Nhi had grown from a timid little girl to an outgoing middle school student. Through the Program, Nhi had the chance to learn essential life skills, such as protecting herself from violence and different risks on the Internet. Now, she can stand confidently in a room full of people and present those topics to other kids in her village. Last summer was particularly memorable for Nhi as she finally learned to swim thanks to World Vision Việt Nam’s special swimming class. Taking place at the village’s stream, the class gave registered children like Nhi a chance to make friends while learning to prevent drowning accidents – one of the top reasons for child death in Việt Nam.

 

Life at home was also getting more stable. From the Celebrating Families Program, Nhung and Hượng were more willing to listen and help ease each other’s workload. Heated quarrels were replaced by calm exchanges, and violence was no longer in their parenting repertoire. Applying the lessons about bonding with her children, Nhung made time during the day to get the children to join her for simple chores, like feeding the chickens and gardening. During the weekends, the three of them would play a short handball game after reading something together. As for Nhi, this was her favorite time because she could spend time with her mother and brother. “Reading with my mom makes me like reading a lot more, and it motivates me to study harder,” Nhi shared.

 

Nhi loved reading with her mother

as it gave her quality time with Mother and motivation to study harder.

 

Looking at his family proudly, Hượng concluded: “After my child joined the Sponsorship Program and thanks to World Vision Việt Nam, our family has seen a lot of good changes. My kids are more confident and outgoing, and my wife and I are getting better at taking care of the kids and the family. I have learned to moderate my feelings and share them with my wife and kids. We are definitely a happier family now.”

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