Dear VNSF and its many supporters,
My name is Le Van Bao, and I am from Hau Giang. I am currently a second-year student, majoring in International Economics, at the College of Economics and Law, National University of Ho Chi Minh City. It has been two years since my last letter to you. I still remember vividly the day when I first met two of VNSF’s scholarship interviewers at my house. It was a summer day in August 2007. Because I knew almost nothing about VNSF, I initially asked myself, “What is VNSF? Why does VNSF give scholarships to me and other students?” My first impression of VNSF originated from what the two scholarship interviewers told us regarding the purpose of the interview trips. They shared stories about the students whom they met and what VNSF hoped to achieve, which was helping underprivileged students pursue their academic dreams. I have always remembered my father’s words,
“Try to study well, so you will
no longer be poverty-stricken like us.”
Nothing is more glorious than one’s education, more beautiful than the sacred compassion between people. For many students in poor provinces like mine, the pursuit of education is linked to the concerns about food, clothes, and money. I have seen my friends drop out of school in grade seven and eight to work and help their parents with financial burdens. I have been to places where Khmer people still have no electricity, where there are dirt roads, and dilapidated bamboo bridges lie across the rivers. Every day, children go to temple to both work and learn to read. I have seen fathers and mothers working constantly from morning until night in the fields; and others on the streets carrying and selling goods, pulling wagons, or selling lottery tickets. They collect every penny with a desire to send their children to school like other kids. I have felt a sense of injustice knowing that the other side of society consists of wealthy families; many of my fortunate friends waste money and other resources on meaningless things.
For students in need, VNSF’s scholarships
open up priceless opportunities for schooling and
empower them to pursue their dreams.
The scholarships in the name of VNSF carry a great meaning. They are words of encouragement, “You can do it! Try your best!” For me, the scholarship is your way of sharing our burden and an expression of compassion for others.
I have learned that a person’s compassion provides endless powerful encouragement. I do not believe I am the only person who feels this way. We, the students who have received help from VNSF, owe you a promise of success – at least in our current studies. I have the responsibility and motivation to achieve my dreams and live up to the expectations of my family and of those who care about me. I also believe that VNSF’s long-term and unwavering support for generations of students will help build a better society, for VNSF has been encouraging dreams of overcoming hardships and academic aspirations.
In the past two years of college, your scholarship has provided me with better educational opportunities. My family works in agriculture; therefore, my parents’ income is unstable and contingent on harvesting seasons. The financial burden of my undergraduate study in the city is now heavier on my family. To be honest, whenever my parents have to borrow money to send me, I feel overwhelmed with guilt. I have worked before, so I have an idea of how difficult it is to make money. The money my parents save from farming is not without hardship. In the past two years, the VNSF scholarships came during the most difficult times. More than just financial support for me, the scholarship was a helping hand that relieved a great burden on my family. With all the support and care that I received during the past two years, I have walked more steadily and have become more confident in realizing my dreams.
Since grade 11 in high school, I have defined my dreams and goals based on my responsibilities and personal preferences. I dream about building a small and stable house so that my parents will not have to work endlessly in the field. I dream that one day when I succeed, I will help the Khmer children in my home town get a better education and help the farmers earn more money from farming. The more I experience, the more I realize that I am good at organizing projects and operating small businesses. My dreams motivate me to go to the College of Economics and Law at the National University of HCMC, and with hindsight I am even more confident of my decision than ever. I hope to get good academic results in the upcoming four semesters so that I will be eligible to participate in a managerial training program with a major corporation. If I achieve these goals,
I believe that the path of becoming
an exemplary Vietnamese businessman
will be even wider for me.
At this time, I cannot help VNSF with its mission; however, I hope that one day I will have the opportunity to help other students pursue their education and dreams with VNSF. I wish health, peace, and success to all VNSF members and supporters. I would like to thank you for the support and assistance you have given me over the last few years.
Le Van Bao
Translation by: Uyen Nguyen (with edits from Tyler Du Lam & Vu Le)