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In December 2011, we paid a visit toa family in Heifer project in Binh Thanh village, Thanh Phu district, Ben Treprovince. In front of the clean leaf-thatched house, the wife, Nguyen Thi Diem,warmly welcomed us. Her husband, Tran Van Tuan, was recycling the pond for newshrimp. The couple has three children; two daughters and one son. Theschool-aged eldest daughter dropped out of school and worked in another city tosupport the family. The middle is in grade 6 and the youngest son is at nurseryschool.

Tran told us about the hardshipthat his family endured several years ago. They started the family life withempty hands because their parents were too poor to support them. The couple hadto stay on the land borrowed from a neighbor. After five years working as hiredlaborers, their savings was enough for them to buy a 5,000 square meter paddy field. Itwas not easy for five people living on the income from such a small piece of cultivated land. The couple continued working as hired laborers. Tran also wentfishing and worked as a mason for extra income.

In 2010, the couple joined Heiferproject. The project supported them with a heifer, 1,000 post larvae shrimp and thefunding for a cowshed and income-generating activities. Diem used therevolving fund for duck and chicken production that benefited them with income andeggs for their daily meals. Every day, the husband keeps fishing and working asa mason. He wants to be a skillful mason so that he could build a house by hisown for his family.

Tran attended many technical trainings held by Heifer inwhich he learned how to tend the cow and raise shrimp. “Now I know how to feedthe cow and take care of the cow in breeding season. I also know some symptomsof the heat period and cow’s diseases. My cow is in a good state of heath. She isgoing to give birth next month. The post larvae are growing well. I hope we will gain high profit,” Tran says.

His wife was also eager to join othertrainings of Heifer such as Cornerstones, gender equity, environmentprotection and climate change. “After attending the training onenvironment protection, we decided to build a toilet to keep the surroundingenvironment clean,” Nguyen says. She happily shared with us about the changes of her family afterjoining the project. “My husband is friendlier and more opened to other people.At home, he also helps me with housework. The children also help us cut grass to feed the cow and do some house chores. We are very happy whensharing everything together.”

The couple proudly showed us the meritcertificate of good study records of the middle daughter. In the spirit of sharingand caring, the couple is willing to help other people when needed. They evengave up their round to other fellow group members who need the loan most fromthe group savings fund.

The couple hopes that their animalproduction could give them high profit so that they could realize their dreamof a concrete house and support their children to school. Tran sincerelyexpressed his gratefulness to Heifer for helping his family, “Thanks Heifer somuch for giving us a chance to get rid of poverty. I believe that with Heifer’ssupport, my family will have a big and valuable asset after passing on. Accordingly,I hope that Heifer will thrive and continue to assist more needy farmers whohave the same background like my family.”

Editor's note: This post is part of a new series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates.


Heifer Vietnam