Welcome Back to School!

This year, VNSF welcomes back to school 127 NEW students into our scholarship program!  Last spring, we interviewed 130 students and while we only budgeted to accept 120 students, we ended up accepting nearly all the students.  It’s hard to say no to such promising students who are in such dire need of financial stability so they can complete their education. We’ll just have to fundraise all the harder to help support the 618 scholarship students still currently enrolled in our scholarship program.

With this year’s new students, we’ve crossed a huge milestone.  Since we started in 2001, we’ve helped over 1000 students continue their education through our on-going scholarship program! We couldn’t have done it without the generous support from our wonderful donors who believe in the power of education to make real and lasting change.  Thank you!!

Pham Huu Ly Graduated University!!

Dear Vietnam Scholarship Foundation,

Being a VNSF scholar since I was 8th grade, I am writing to express my gratitude and sincerely say big thanks to all great donors who always have big hearts to support underprivileged students striving for a better life in Vietnam.

Born in a farmer family in a remote village, I was raised by whole love and care. Although my parents tried their best in raising their four kids, it was really challenging to sustain life. Therefore, my family had been lived in a poverty-stricken condition for many years, so my parents thought it was impossible to get all their children go to school. Fortunately, my family has left the poverty behind and I who was considered as the first person to enter tertiary organizations have just graduated from university. Unquestionably speaking, it is impossible for me to be a postgraduate unless there is VNSF timely financial support. Hence, I will never forget the priceless assistance of all VNSF donors and especially Thich Chi Tan, a Superior Buddhist Monk, and Ms Dao in Ho Chi Minh City who provided me with an opportunity to be a VNSF scholar.


On behalf of my whole family, at the back of my mind, I would like to express the great gratitude to wonderful donors, benefactors, Superior Buddhist Monk Thich Chi Tan and Ms. Dao for your generosity and assistance helping Vietnamese students. I wish you an extraordinary life with brimful of health, happiness and wealth. I promise I will be an useful individual to community, fulfilling filial duty and helping those who are in need of help as I was.

Thank you very much for all.
Pham Huu Ly

Letter from Hung Anh

Dear VNSF,

I was taught by Miss Suong, who teaches English at Phu Vinh Junior High School (Phu Vinh Commune, Tan Chau Town, An Giang Province).

I am very grateful to VNSF for its support and interest in the past. You helped me get to where I am today. I started receiving scholarships in 2006 up until now. It’s been a long way with the support, I feel very lucky for that.

I finished my education, and just graduated. I submitted my University thesis in December 2016 for Environmental Science major, Can Tho University, and got a job in mid January 2017. Currently, I am an environmental officer of Khanh Hoang Seafood Export Processing Company, in Tran De Town, Soc Trang.

I am very happy to see the organization is growing, helping a lot of disadvantaged young friends.

Again, thanks for helping me.

Thank you for your contribution to my education.

Congratulations always grow and stable.

I look forward to keeping in touch with the organization.

Thank you!

Hung Anh.

Why Scholarships Aren’t Enough


Trung Tin, one of our scholarship applicants this year, lives with his 3 siblings and parents in this small farm hut with no electricity, running water, or any other modern day conveniences. His dad, with a first grade education, works on a shrimp farm as a hired hand. His mom has a 7th grade education, but living in such a remote location (a couple hours outside Sai Gon) she can’t find work. Her kids must walk 3 km (1.86 miles) to and from school.

Do you see the Jpegsolar panel on the thatch roof? This isn’t a statement on green, renewable energy — it’s the only source of power available to the family. There is no option to run electricity this far out of the city across such vast farm land. It’s amazing to have the solar technology to provide power to this most remote, rural home. There’s also no water line or running water to this home. The family must set up bins to catch rain water, which they use for cleaning and boil for drinking and cooking. It’s a hard life, to be sure. Our volunteers were saddened to note not only their small living quarters, but their meager and insufficient food, clothes and basic living supplies. Despite their hardships, this family of six is full of smiles and happiness.

Trung Tin’s family only has one mode of transportation – a simple bicycle, which his dad relies on to make shrimp deliveries, leaving Trung Tin and his siblings to walk the 3 Km (1.86 miles) to school. The path is not only long & arduous but it’s dangerous as well — especially when it floods. He is happy to make the walk because he loves school and his parents encourage all their kids to get an education so they can have careers and a future outside this small farm hut.

For families like Trung Tin, our scholarship only breaks down the first barrier to education but not the only one they face. There is a more practical hurdle many of our students must overcome — how to actually get to school. This is one of the reasons we started the Transportation Access Program (TAP). By granting families like Trung Tin a bicycle, we can help him have a reliable way to get to school.

We believe in setting all our students up for success by providing comprehensive programs & services to help them in all aspects. For some students, transportation is one of their greatest needs.

Meet Chau Ngoc

DSC_0334.jpgChau Ngoc is a 9-year-old girl living in the Mekong Delta. She is one of the 207 students who applied for a scholarship this year. Chau Ngoc was moved to tears during our interview trip because she could not believe that anyone would care so much to come help her. Her story and her gratitude left an indelible mark on our volunteers.

Chau Ngoc lives in this humble home with her mom and 3 of her 4 older siblings.  Her oldest sister left to live in a local monastery. Seeing how poor her family is, the monastery volunteered to fix up their house so they could have a safe place to live. Most of our families are not this fortunate, but even with the help from the monastery, their home is still leagues from the common comforts we’re accustomed to here in the U.S.

Chau Ngoc’s father passed away before she was even born, leaving her mom to support 5 children on her own. Her mom only has a 7th grade education, limiting the work she can do. She finds work where she can; currently she’s a kitchen helper at a youth center. Her four oldest children reached high school; two of them even graduated. Her two sons are finding apprenticeships to learn a trade skill so they can earn money but as of yet they haven’t found work. Everyone is doing their best to make money, but even still the family of 6 is living on $2.12 USD/day, well below the poverty line in Viet Nam.

Chau Ngoc is the baby of the family and wants to go to college to become an executive assistant. She thinks this is a good career that will enable her to help her mom and family. She knows that a college education will lead to a good career, which will afford her opportunities to lift her family out of poverty.

Our passion is stoked by children like Chau Ngoc — who is desperate for the education that will unlock her unlimited potential. We’re proud to help her achieve her dream of being the first in her family to go to college.


Selecting This School Year’s Scholarship Recipients!

We’re reviewing 207 scholarship applicants to select which kids will receive our on-going scholarships starting this Fall! We’ve budgeted to accept 150 students this year — the most scholarships we’ve given out in a single year!

How often do we deny a student? As you can imagine, it’s very hard to deny any student a scholarship especially when most live in the conditions shown above. But there are some key things we look for to make sure every student we accept is deserving of our donors’ investment in their education. Our scholarships are for a student’s entire education (even through college), so we screen our applicants very carefully. We look for 3 key things when reviewing all applicants:

  1. Financial neediness. We conduct interviews in the family’s homes and get an understanding for the family’s financial situation — how much the household income is, how many people are supported by that income, how much debt the family has, etc.
  2. Academic standing. While we aren’t a merit based scholarship, we do want to make sure our students are passing each year and are performing at the average level compared to their peers.
  3. Motivation. This is big for us. We try very hard to assess through interviews and essays how driven the student is to go to school and do well. We want to make sure every kid we accept values education and will be supported by their family to complete their education.

We’re excited to welcome a new cohort of students into the VNSF Scholarship Program!

150 New Scholarship Students Next School Year

IMG_0048 (2)-3Based on the amazing success of our last benefit event we’re excited to announce that we plan to accept 150 new students for the 2016-2017 school year! This marks the most students we’ve budgeted to accept since 2008, when we awarded scholarships to 138 students. Thank you for joining us in our commitment to send a new cohort of amazing kids to school. Together, let’s send all these kids to college!

In years past, some of our donors have traveled back to Viet Nam to meet our scholarship students. If you’re interested in going to Viet Nam or you happen to be in the area next March/April, let us know! We’ll be interviewing scholarship candidates in An Giang, Bac Lieu, Dong Thap, Hau Giang and Sai Gon. We’d love for you to join us so you can meet the kids whose lives you’re improving. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Vietnamese, our students love every chance they can get to practice their English. Email us for more information at: info@vietnamscholarshipfoundation.org.

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