We were living in the country and my mom was selling water and juice on the side of the road. My brother was cutting coconuts off the trees and I was bringing them to our mom. I was 2 years old.
A couple of years later, life was getting harder. It was time for us to flee the country. Thanks to my grandfather who paid our transit fees, we were able to board a small boat and headed towards an unknown destination. After 6 days at sea, we finally reached the shore of Malaysia.
My mom was very resourceful and she was able to find a job at the refugee camp, which made our life a little better. But kids were dying every single day, so when the French government opened the doors to bring more refugees to France, my mom did not hesitate to put our names on the list, hoping for the best.
Our first months in France were the best and the hardest at the same time: we had a small flat to live in, food on our table, a small community who helped us settle in our new country, and my brother and I could go to school. But they were also the hardest because we didn’t speak the language, everything was so different, and my mom had to find a job and think about our future, when we would be on our own, after we had to move out of our temporary apartment. During the first 3-4 years, we changed places at least once a year, following our mom as she found work as a cleaner or a waitress.
I couldn’t remember the day when she decided to go back to school to become a nurse, but that decision changed our lives… again. After her graduation, she quickly found a job in a medical sanatorium and stayed there until she retired. We finally could afford a stable life and start giving back to the community.
During all that time, my mom never forgot where she came from and the people who have helped us. She created and ran for more than 15 years an organization called “Les Enfants du Vietnam” that had 2 missions: help people in Vietnam get a better life and keep the Vietnamese culture alive in France for the younger generation.
Her life and journey has taught me so much about persistence, determination and courage. Volunteering in her organization for many years has showed me that little actions could make a difference in the lives of many people.
Everything came together when I heard about Kiva for the first time in December 2016. From their website: “Kiva is an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”
The second I read that statement I knew that I wanted to be part of it. I thought about my mom and everything she could have accomplished if Kiva had been around for her.
TDN Creations is a proud supporter of Kiva. For every order, we add US$1.00 to our Kiva account to create opportunities for female entrepreneurs around the world. Thank you for your support. Together, we can make a better world, a small step at a time.