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Girls’ clubs help Phong find a better way

“When I thought I might have to stop my education, it felt like everything was ending,” Phong reflects, thinking back to when she first heard she’d have to drop out from the 8th grade, at age 13, in her rural village in Vietnam.

“I even told my parents I went out to the terrace, but actually ran to my school window and looked into my class with tears in my eyes, wishing I could stay there like the others,” she says, recalling the heartbreaking experience. “I cried a lot.”

Phong smiles and holds a sign that says “Thank you Canada.”

Phong, 15.

But thankfully she had you, along with the support of the local Girls’ Club you make possible.

Phong is one of 110,00 girls directly benefitting from school improvements and activities, like clubs, that you make possible in developing communities around the world.

“I cannot find the right words to explain how happy I was when teacher Phan and my friends from the Girls’ Club came to persuade my parents and were successful. Without them, marriage would have ended all the good things in my life,” she says.

With your support, 67 remote villages across Vietnam now officially recognize a girls’ right to education within their constitution, while 80% of parents have committed to play an active role in ensuring the ongoing success of local schools – a huge achievement!

“Now, I have returned to school. I go to class everyday,” Phong says today, now 15 and a driven 10th grade student.

“Life can be difficult, but I have never thought of stopping my education,” she adds, with new conviction and confidence that you helped inspire. “It’s the way to lead me to the place I dream of – and I know my dream of becoming a teacher in the future will be realized.”

Phong stands and holds a “Thank you Canadian donors” sign with a group of happy youth – mainly girls. ”

Phong (at centre, with sign) and the crew who have her back – just like you have theirs!

As one of our local staff working with the clubs, and putting your support into action, told us: “The Girls’ Club has put wings in Phong’s dream to help her fly higher than the mountain of the village. There is an absolute trust that wherever she is in her future, teachers and friends from the club will accompany her and cheer for her.”

And, thanks to the support you’ve given, you’re right there with them.

In her own words: Phong’s heartfelt thanks

Phong’s original letter, next to the translated version, thanking donors for their support of her education and protection. Please reach out to us should you wish for full text.

How the clubs work

In remote communities of Vietnam, girls like Phong are exposed to unique challenges and risks.

The monthly Girls’ Clubs you’ve helped fund across more than 16 schools in this area have created a safe environment where girls can openly discuss and learn about topics of concern like:

  • Reporting instances of abuse
  • The dangers of child marriage
  • The importance of education
  • Adolescent health and proper hygiene
  • Preparing for common disasters like flooding and landslides.
Double panel: girls take part in classroom activities / raise their hands.

With your help, girls aren’t only gaining a seat at the table, they’re also carving out a space to speak up and be heard.

But as powerful as they are, especially with you in their corner, girls shouldn’t have to go it alone. A big part of what makes these clubs – and improved access to rights – sustainable is community support.

Double panel: a teacher instructs girls in the classroom / teachers pose after a workshop.

You helped train 420 teachers in the region on topics like child protection, trafficking, positive discipline and gender sensitivity – helping create a safer and healthier educational experience for every student.

Parents were also engaged through workshops, promoting awareness on girls’ rights and highlighting how education can improve girls’ lives and help advance the entire community.

Additionally, as part of a guest speaker series, trailblazing local women talk with the clubs, exposing youth to positive role models and showing that success is within their grasp.

Double panel: a local leader speaks to a girls’ club and the group claps and reacts.

A standing ovation and lasting impression! A captivated Girls’ Club audience, responds to an inspiring local leader’s speech.

“We really worry about our future because of things like shortage of jobs,” says one member in attendance. “But after listening to her story I know studying is an important step in my life. I admire her truly.”

In addition to offering these team-building, leadership-boosting activities, you’re extending the chance for club members to explore and enjoy opportunities like music, arts and of course – some much-needed fun!

Club members participate in traditional games, cheered on by boys and girls alike.

Girls’ clubs: where fun meets fundamental rights!

Thank you for giving Phong and her friends the chance to create the lives they want, and thrive.

Double panel: girl holds up her drawing and smiles / boy and girl high five one another.

With your help, girls not only have new self-esteem and awareness, they have new allies who are equally invested in creating an inclusive, positive atmosphere – for everyone.


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