Education for Phang

Hello Everyone,

My name is Blake Bierwith and am a third year student at the University of San Diego. I've been traveling throughout Vietnam and would like to share the story of my new friend Phang.

The goals of this campaign are:

1. Raise enough money for Phang to learn to read and write in order to secure her livelihood.

2. Ensure Phang can afford to feed her children more than just rice for the next year.

3. Build Phang a kitchen annex and integrated chimney to minimize risk of lung disease for her and her children.


Phang's Story

Phang is a member of the Black Hmong tribe in Sapa, one of the northernmost cities of Vietnam. I recently had the pleasure of staying in Phang's homestay and after talking with her for a couple of days asked if I could share her story.


Phang was raised into a family of rice paddy farmers. Since she was able to walk, Phang had to help her family work in order to make ends meet. A granddaughter of an opium addict and daughter of a father with strong alcoholic tendencies, Phang was struck with more adversity at a young age than most see throughout a lifetime.


At the age of 19, Phang was kidnapped and forced into marriage. Now, at the age of 25, Phang is the mother of two boys, ages 3 and 5. Phang’s dream for her children is to be able to escape this extreme cycle of poverty through receiving an education, something she herself never had the opportunity to do. However, Phang’s dream for her children is far from guaranteed when faced with the daily struggle of survival.

This is Phang's three year old son in their living room. It is not uncommon for this young boy and his older brother to survive solely off rice.


Despite being faced with such extreme adversity, Phang is determined to create a better life for her children. Although she was not allowed to attend school, Phang has taught herself to speak English in an attempt to feed her family by housing tourists, such as myself.

Sleeping under a misquito net to help prevent diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.


This crucial stream of income has recently become jeopordized. The Vietnamese government recently issued a reading and writing test to all those who seek to house tourists. Phang did not have opportunity to go to school, thus does not know how to read and write.

If not able to pass the test by next year, Phang runs the risk of losing her children, livelihood, and everything else held dear to her.

Shower and laundry room.

Phang's kitchen - Due to heavy rainfall 7 months of the year, having an outdoor kitchen is not practical. Hence, lung disease has become the #1 killer in Sapa.


With the odds stacked completely against her, Phang has not accepted defeat.

She has the resources to learn to read and write, but currently cannot afford to do so.


This is where your help comes in.

I will be transferring 100% of the money raised through this compaign directly into Phang's recently set up bank account.

Our initial goal is set at $2000. This amount of money should be able to acheive the following goals:


1. Raise enough money for Phang to learn to read and write in order to secure her livelihood.

2. Ensure Phang can afford to feed her children more than just rice for the next year.

3. Build Phang a kitchen annex and integrated chimney to minimize risk of lung disease for her and her children.




I will be checking in with Phang on a monthly basis to monitor her and her family's progress and will keep all those who donate updated.

Thank you so much for your support and please share this campaign on Facebook!

Donations

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  • Tom Gill 
    • $125 
    • 43 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Brandon Haefling 
    • $20 
    • 43 mos
  • Neul Seo 
    • $10 
    • 43 mos
  • Wendy Niewiarowski 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
See all

Organizer

Blake Bierwith 
Organizer
San Ramon, CA
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