by Jennifer Goette, Holt Director of Programs, South and Southeast Asia
During my first trip to Vietnam in my new role as the Program Director for South and Southeast Asia, there were many moments that led me to confront the power of the human spirit. Visiting orphanages supported by Holt, I was impressed by the loving care and genuine affection provided to each child. I was also touched by the need that emanated from each child, young and old, to be loved and cared for. Some of the children would find loving, permanent families through domestic or inter-country adoption; my heart went out to the other children – often older children and children with special needs—who would probably wait for years hoping to find a family of their own.
I was profoundly moved by a quiet young man with a determined spirit who has been living in care for most of his childhood. Tuan Ahn has a quick smile and is shy about his accomplishments. Orphaned at the age of eight years old when both of his parents passed away from infections believed to be caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuan was sent to live with his grandparents. After only two years, his grandparents were too old to care for the young boy and placed him with an orphanage supported by Holt International outside of Ho Chi Minh City. There he has received care and positive encouragement for more than nine years.
Tuan has been a shining star at the orphanage. For many years, he has dreamed about continuing his education at Binh Duong University. When Tuan passed a very competitive entry exam earlier this year, his dream became a reality. Tuan is majoring in Finance and Accounting. Each day, his routine is to spend eight hours in class, and then another two to three hours studying and completing assignments. Not surprisingly, his grades are very good and he is on this way to becoming an Accountant. I believe if he sets his mind to it, Tuan can do almost anything.
Tuan is a bright, determined young man with a true passion for improving himself. Far from being left behind, Tuan has shown strength and the power of the human spirit. I have no doubt he will achieve his dreams.