Credit: Christian Berg
Living on a remote farm in the hills of Hoang Su Phi, 15-year-old Hap leaves home each day at 5:00 am to reach the nearest high school, which is miles away. It’s a long and perilous journey that begins in the dark, whatever the weather, and takes her along steep mountain roads and isolated pathways.
But Hap is determined to get an education. She wants to be a teacher and give back to her community. And she wants to help her family escape poverty.
That commitment was recently recognized by Glamour Magazine when Hap was selected as one of “The Bravest Girls in the World” honourees of the Women of the Year Fund, in honour of girls everywhere who are defying the odds to go to school – and she was invited to New York City for the award ceremony.
“I felt nervous at first,” admits Hap. “I couldn’t imagine what New York and the other girls would be like, or whether they lived a life like mine.”
What she discovered, she says, is that she loves planes and skyscrapers, people are kind, and that girls everywhere face struggles like hers.
“I saw a new world,” says Hap. “Realizing that so many of us have difficulty getting an education has become one of my biggest motivations.”
It was an eye-opening trip, but Hap is glad to be back home. The best part, she says, was seeing her parents again, and giving them a hug.
“I missed them very much,” she says.
One journey has ended, but a greater one continues, and that’s the journey she’s on with her family and community from poverty to progress right here in Hoang Su Phi.
“Four years ago, we were a poor household,” says Hap’s mom, “but Plan supported us and now we can afford our daily living costs and Hap’s studies as well. We are very proud of our daughter.” Midway on the journey, with miles to go, both literally and figuratively, Hap is unwavering in her determination to fulfill her dream – which, despite all the excitement of her recent trip, is to be a teacher right here in the place she loves.
Take a moment to see Hap’s photos over the years, and the latest from her trip to New York City.
/ Hap and her family in 2011
/ Hap in 2012 studying at home. “Studying is the key to future success,” she says.
/ Hap in 2013 helping in the family garden
/ Hap in 2014 before her trip to New York City
/ Hap in the airport, waiting to board a plane for the very first time
/ Hap getting ready for the Glamour award ceremony
/ Hap took some time to see New York City
/ Hap and the 9 other honourees at the Glamour award ceremony
/ Hap’s photo featured in Glamour magazine
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