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Welcome to our series "Portraits" that pays a tribute to the impactful and often visionary work of the organisations we support.

Our "Portraits" tell the true stories of the beneficiaries our partners stand for. By presenting their lives, aspirations and challenges, we want to raise their voices so they can become an example and inspiration for social change.

Hai the coder

REACH, Vietnam

Follow your dreams, they say. Yet sometimes reality seems to go in the opposite direction and you need an incredible strength to reinvert the course of life. Hai’s story shows that with determination and the right opportunities it is possible to create one’s own path, whatever the starting conditions are.

Hai grew up in a small village in Vietnam and when he was 11 his parents left him. He was raised by a neighbour and when he became independent, he travelled to Hanoi looking for a job. Compared to his hometown, Hanoi had more opportunities but was also very competitive. Finding an employment was difficult, especially being young and without a formal education. To earn an income, he worked as a waiter in a café. But this was not the life he was dreaming of.

One day, he heard about REACH’s training programme and contacted the organisation. After assessing his situation and needs, REACH’s recruitment team accepted his application and Hai enrolled in their web development training.

From that moment, it was clear sailing for Hai. “REACH is my second home. What I like about REACH is the sincerity and enthusiasm of teachers who gave me a reason to keep going and feel confident about my future”.

Besides web development classes, Hai also improved other soft skills, learnt English, was taught to write a CV and prepare for job interviews. From a shy, defensive student, Hai went from strength to strength. He is honest about his past but has never allowed it to be an excuse for his future.

He was a great student, eager to learn and eager to help others. He had been trying so hard to become a good coder,” Tung Nguyen, his coding teacher commented.

Hai is now working for an IT company as a coder. The company is young and dynamic and this environment urges Hai to be competitive and rise to new challenges. He now sees his future with a brighter perspective.

No more doing basic labour, no more fear, no more hopelessness,” he said. “Just a few beautiful, vivid templates to create.”

REACH offers quality education and job placement to 16 – 30 years old youth from underprivileged backgrounds who struggle to access official training and employment opportunities due to financial constraints, social stigma and discrimination. Discover more about REACH’s partnership with Trafigura Foundation here.

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