Bringing out the inner entrepreneur

It’s easy to talk about ‘breaking the cycle of poverty’. But for a person who has spent their whole life in poverty, what does it take to make a change?

She was nervous at the start. By the end, she was beaming.

Linh has never really felt in control of her life before. She’s always been poor and always at the mercy of others.

As a single mother raising 3 kids, her whole life is about providing for her family – as with most parents. But with no savings, no home of her own and no support, getting by is a daily struggle.

When you live in such extreme poverty, it’s impossible to get ahead. Linh only ever has enough money for a day at a time; planning for the future or saving for a ‘rainy day’ is just a fantasy.

Blue Dragon has been getting to know Linh for the past year. Her kids are at our Hanoi centre every day, joining classes and activities as they prepare to go back to school. Now we’re finding how we can help Linh directly so that she has the dignity of providing for her children without the need for charitable help.

Tools for the future

And so we’ve been working with Linh to uncover her dreams and aspirations. What is she good at? What does she enjoy doing? What kind of work would she like for the future?

Nobody has ever asked her these questions before, so the answers didn’t come naturally. But with some time and guidance, Linh has identified that she’d love to have a food stall, selling dishes like dumplings and sticky rice.

Work like this will allow her to prepare the food at home and sell at a stall or market during hours that she’s in control of. This will give her the flexibility she needs to look after the kids.

Last week, Linh’s training for her new business kicked off. She is spending time at Blue Dragon with a chef who is showing her how to make the dishes she wants to sell and teaching her the basics of food hygiene.

Turning up for her first day of training, Linh was visibly worried. Would she be able to master this? Did she really have what it would take?

But her ability wasn’t the issue. It was all about confidence. Once she got started and could see that food preparation came naturally to her, Linh was beaming with pride.

Linh making new dishes with her chef trainer.

Next we’ll mentor Linh in managing her finances, then we’ll help her find a site to set up business.

For some months, and maybe even a year, Linh may still need financial assistance. Her kids will still need to join Blue Dragon’s classes. This step to independence is just that: it’s a step. It will take time.

But there will soon be a day when Linh is no longer thinking just about survival. She may even have some savings in the bank.

The final product: A hand-wrapped Vietnamese dumpling called ‘banh gio’.

Best of all, Blue Dragon’s work is to draw out of Linh the talents and abilities that she already has. She’s always wanted to work and to be her own boss; she’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Now she has the support to live out her dreams.

With a little time and the right, targeted assistance, Linh might finally have reason to hope for the future.

Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation works in Vietnam to end human trafficking.

One thought on “Bringing out the inner entrepreneur”

  1. This is such a Blue Dragon story – wonderful. It’s always what can we do (never what could we do if only . . ) and then setting about doing it, one careful, sensible step at a time. May I wish Linh success and happiness in her new venture – and her children the benefit of all the good things that come with being part of Blue Dragon!!

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