Chan Vu

Poverty and opportunities have taught me the values of giving back and to lend a hand to the less fortunate. My family was very poor when we were in Vietnam; my parents were not able to send both of my two older sisters and me to school. I did not have the opportunity to attend school until I was 10 years old; that’s when we were in the refugee camp in Thailand.

My family and I came to the United States in 1993. When first entering this foreign land, I knew my life would change forever because of the opportunities and resources available for me to build a brighter future. Not everyone has the opportunity to come to the land of equality and opportunity and call it home. Therefore I am extremely grateful for everything I have.

In 2007, I made my first visit back to my home country, Vietnam. Many things had changes. More schools were built and education is available to more children than it was available when I was in Vietnam. Things changed in a positive way but there were still young children under the age of 10 wandering the streets to beg for money, food, and/or selling lottery tickets. It breaks my heart to see kids having to wander around the streets to find money or food versus going to school. Kids should not have to worry financially nor should they have to worry about their next meals. They are kids but unfortunately, I have seen so many abandoned kids in Vietnam to know these kids will not have the future they deserve unless someone steps in and try to help them.

When I visited Thien An Orphanage in Can Tho to set up computers donated by benefactors, the curiosity and excitement of each children looking at the computers make me realize these kids want to learn. We just have to provide the resources for them to do so. When I gave them candies, they gave me the brightest smiles I have seen. Things such as candies where we take for granted bring joys to these kids.

I have worked with Children’s Library International for over 10 years because I believe CLI is the gateway to help provide brighter future for these innocent children. We can help change these kid’s lives by giving them the key to access to education. Education is the key to better opportunities for these kids. I hope these kids will have the opportunities to change their lives just as I have with mine.