Feb 27 2024

She Can Do It: How Huyen Is Proving the Value of Girls in Vietnam


Girls around the world face insurmountable challenges that keep them from living the lives they deserve. In rural areas of Vietnam, adolescent girls are often devalued because boys are overwhelmingly preferred. 12-year-old Huyen is fighting for the value of girls to be recognized. 

Girls can create a better world: a world where all young change-makers have the support, encouragement, and resources to follow their dreams.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the girls who are creating a better world for women: Girls like Huyen, who overcame violence in her family and community to speak out for girls’ rights. 

Vietnam has the third highest gender birth imbalance in the world with over 40,000 female fetuses terminated each year due to preference for sons.

Read Huyen’s story, in her own words, below, and contribute to our She Can Do It campaign by March 15 to provide a year of GLOW Club for girls like Huyen. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. 

I’m Determined to Keep Speaking Up 

My name is Huyen, and I’m from Vietnam. There are five people in my family: My parents, my two elder sisters, and me. My parents are both farmers. 

Gender-based violence is still happening in my community, and even in my own family. My dad has two wives, but all of his wives only had daughters.

My grandfather always favors male members in my family. Therefore, my grandfather looks down on us. He ignores my family, and only loves and cares about my aunt’s family because she has two sons. 

A national study conducted in 2019 found that more than 6 in 10 Vietnamese women aged 15–64 live with physical, sexual, emotional, economic or behavioral abuse from husbands at least once in their lifetime.

My father follows exactly in his footsteps. Since I was a kid, I have seen my father use violence and verbal abuse. Because of this, I have felt very self-inferior being a girl. I started to understand that women must suffer from violence because we have no value. 

“I started to understand that women must suffer from violence because we have no value.”

I felt very upset when I see women in my community and in my own family impacted by physical violence.

I was very reserved and shy because of everything that I had experienced, and I didn’t want to communicate with others.

GLOW Club provides mentorship and advocacy skills to girls like Huyen in 30 countries around the world.

When I tried to talk about gender-based violence in school, my teachers and classmates seemed not to care. They neglected what I said, like they didn’t understand the problem and the consequences it brings to girls like me. 

But since I took part in GLOW Club, I have discovered that as a girl, I have talent, and I should express it by speaking out. In GLOW Club, everyone is comfortable to share their thoughts and ideas. I love this place so much.

Huyen can create a world free of gender-based violence. Invest in her advocacy by donating to our She Can Do It campaign by March 15!

When I talked about gender-based violence in the club, my mentors supported and encouraged me, and it made me determined to keep fighting and speaking up. 

I Will Keep Raising My Voice

Thanks to GLOW Club, I understand that I have potential; that as a girl, I have leadership skills. Now, I dare to speak up and share my opinions with teachers and classmates.

Yes, gender-based violence is still happening in my community. But I want to keep living and showing that girls are not worse than boys. We are also capable of doing things that boys can do. 

Through GLOW Club, Huyen has discovered her value as a girl.

I want to show women and girls’ strength to my community. I will study much harder than boys to show everyone that girls can be good at studying. I will also keep advocating and raising my voice to help people understand the value of women and girls.

I want to encourage girls around the world to live with your true colors because we are not less capable than boys. Show your value to everyone. As girls, we have value. 

Girls like Huyen can create a better world. Will you invest in them? Help us reach our $5,000 fundraising goal by making a gift and sharing our digital campaign toolkit with the hashtag #SheCanDoIt. $5,000 provides a year of our signature program, GLOW Club, where girls like Huyen develop the skills to advocate for themselves and others. 

This transformation story has been made possible through our collaboration with Giving It Back to Kids, who coordinate GLOW Clubs for girls across Vietnam. 

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We  mentor girls to advocate for themselves and make their communities stronger.

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