A Mother’s Strength: Vy’s Story of Love, Loss and Hope

Vy loved her hometown in the Central Vietnam countryside in Thua Thien Hue Province, but she knew, at an early age, that the only way to support herself was to leave for the city in search of opportunities. As soon as she reached 20, Vy embarked on her journey to Da Nang, finding work at a factory in the Industrial Zone. For decades now, rural to urban migration has been a way of life for millions in Vietnam, searching for a better way of life.

It was in Da Nang that Vy met and fell in love with Hieu, who also came from a small rural village. They married and, over the course of eight years, had three children and also began taking care of Vy’s grandmother. Vy continued her work in the factory and Hieu had his own repair business for bicycles and motorbikes. It was difficult with their low-wage jobs to make ends meet for their family, but their home was filled with love.

One day, Vy learned through her factory trade union that she could apply to OneSky’s pre-school program, which her two younger children, Ngan and Vu, could attend while their older son went to the local primary school. For low-wage migrant workers, like Vy and Hieu, there is no public childcare system in place for young children. Public kindergartens are out of reach due to limited capacity and restrictive local residency requirements, while private preschools are simply too expensive – often costing twice the amount of a public kindergarten.

When Ngan and Vu were accepted into the ELC, Vy and Hieu felt a sense of relief knowing that a financial burden had been lifted. At the same time, they were thrilled that their children could receive such quality and nurturing care; however, in December 2022, life took a turn when Hieu was diagnosed with late-stage bone marrow cancer. He passed away only a month later, at just 34 years old. Teachers, colleagues and neighbors provided books, clothes, a bicycle and more to the grieving family. Their landlord waived their rent for a time and OneSky granted scholarships to both children.

With remarkable courage and strength, Vy has taken on the full responsibility of raising their three children and caring for her frail grandmother. She takes an extra early shift every day beginning at 6:30 to earn a modest income of USD250 a month to support her family of five. Because of the early shift, Ngan and little Vu are the first children to arrive at the ELC every day.

Ms. Ha, Ngan’s ELC teacher, says: “I’ve become accustomed to starting my workday with Ngan’s smiles. She always arrives early, brimming with joy. She’s grown so much—from being shy to excelling in language skills — loving to tell stories and join in class discussions. She’s creative and incredibly resilient despite her family’s struggles. I am deeply honored to be her teacher.”

Vu’s teacher, Ms. Huong, shares Vu’s journey at the ELC: “Vu was a quiet two-year-old, hesitant to interact and lacking basic self-care skills. But with patience and encouragement, he has blossomed into a confident, happy child who loves school and his friends here.”

Vu’s teacher, Ms. Huong

Ngan and teacher Ms. Ha

Their mother, Vy, remains grateful despite her profound loss: “Thank you, OneSky family, for being here during the hardest time in our lives. You’ve given me peace of mind, enabling me to work and care for my family. Life can be so difficult, but I truly know there is hope.”