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Following the small concrete path, we were surprisedat a lively painted thatched house peacefully surrounded by green paddyfield, pig pen, henhouse and garden of flowers. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Lien, the houseowner, welcomed us with her warm smile. Aged 41, Lien is one of 20 self-helpgroup members of the project “Improving the disadvantageous farm households’ capacity in Tra Vinh Province through VBHCD." She was married to Mr. Nguyen Van Nhut, aged 39. They have oneson named Nguyen Minh Du who is in grade 9. After marriage, the couple wasgiven a 2,000 square meter paddy field from their parents. Working hard on rice farmingand selling their labor in their spare time for several years, the couple afforded an additional 10,000 square meter paddy field by their savings.

Receiving one heifer, therevolving fund and trainings from Heifer Vietnam, Lien was enlightened. She learned how to takecare of her family in a better way and successfully applied modern production techniques. Raising a large swine heard, she built a concrete pig pen and set up awater system to bathe the pigs for more convenience. She also created a recordbook to keep track of every pig’s health. She learned how to make nutritioncake and to store straw for the cow. Furthermore, she grows grass and green vegetables around thehouse for a stable food source for the animals in order for low expense andanimal food security. In addition, she finds that making an action plan plays akey role in the goal of ending poverty. Thanks to applying new techniques inanimal production, her pigs are very healthy and make a good profit for herfamily despite the plague in her neighborhood.

Through the 12 Cornerstonestraining, her family learned many useful things such as improved nutrition offamily meals, sharing and caring among members in the family, children’seducation focus, and full participation in every group activity. With theactiveness and enthusiasm in group activities, she was voted as the leader ofher self-help group. by leading her family with the guide of the 12 Cornerstones,her family is full of warmth, caring and happiness. The family business hasmade a good progress thanks to a well-organized production plan. The relationshipbetween her family and neighbors is stronger by the spirit of caring and sharingwhich is demonstrated by a practical action of sharing some fish after everycatch she has.

Since taking part in the project, there have been some goodchanges in her family. She spends the increasing income on family expenses like meals, daily consumption and her son’s education. She also invests on newcrops and keeps the saving for house repairs. The family atmosphere is cozy. Thecouple discusses and supports each other in farming, house chores and business,while the son helps his parents tend the cow and collect grassand vegetables for the pigs. Nhut supports and motivates Lien to join groupactivities. As a result, she has gained self-confidence and activeness tospeak out in front of the crowd and raise her own ideas of every issue. “Iwould like to express my sincere gratitude to the donors for giving us bothphysical and spiritual strength in order for us to achieve a better life today.Heifer has helped improve our source of income and enabled us to make plans forour goals, to envision for our future, and more importantly, I am a person ofself-confidence and hopefulness.” said Lien.

Editor’s note: This post is part of a 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