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That’s why giving back is an integral part of our business model
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela
When you invest in your health with our programs, you are not only helping yourself, but you are also helping support women and girls in Vietnam.
Ten percent of all proceeds generated through this website will go towards the Catalyst Foundation, to support their work to educate and feed children, and to end human trafficking.
To learn more about why Being the Catalyst for HOPE is so important to me, continue reading below:
In August 2012 I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine: to go back to my homeland on an Aid Expedition.
It had been 21 years ago when my family and I left Vietnam as refugees. My parents left their native homeland to come to the United States where they did not even speak the language and hardly knew anyone in order to give my brother and I the chance at a better life. My uncle was one of the boat people who escaped from Vietnam in 1975. While my parents had many opportunities to escape Vietnam as one of the boat people as well, they refused because it would mean that our family might be separated. They wanted to keep our family together, regardless of what happened. My dad fought in the South Vietnamese air force during the war and was sent to 7 years in re-education camp when the war ended. As a result, in 1991 as part of the Humanitarian Operation program (HO), our family was allowed to come to the US as refugees because we had suffered persecution by the communist regime after 1975.
Growing up I always knew that I was so fortunate to be given the opportunity for a better life. I also knew, deep down in my heart, that I wanted to go back to Vietnam one day to use what I had learned to help my extended family who still lives there and people less fortunate than I. I also had grand dreams of helping people by finding the cure for AIDS, but I realized that it would require many hours of research and laboratory work and I am a people person.
My maternal grandmother had hopes that one of her children would be able to go to college and become a pharmacist, but our family was poor and although my mom was able to attend college for two years, she was never able to finish her degree because our family did not have money and she had to return home to help take care of the family when my grandmother died. In high school I wanted to become a pediatrician, and we had a day where we could do a job shadow. I wrote that I wanted to shadow a pediatrician, and my mom suggested I write down a pharmacist as well. I said OK, agreeing with her that it is a good profession for females and is in the health care field, which is what I wanted. I ended up shadowing a pharmacist, and I absolutely LOVED it. So, I decided to go to pharmacy school and get my doctorate degree in pharmacy, not knowing that I would be fulfilling my grandmother’s dream.
When we arrived in the US, we lived in a small town in New Jersey where I was the only Asian student in school, so I grew up very Americanized. When I went to college, I wanted to get back to my Vietnamese roots and celebrate my Vietnamese culture, which is how I got involved with the Catalyst Foundation. I started volunteering during the summer as a camp counselor for Catalyst’s Vietnam Culture Camp, to teach Vietnamese adopted children about the culture, songs, language, and traditions of their native land. It was through volunteering with the Catalyst Foundation that I found out about their mission to fight poverty and end human trafficking by building communities and educating children.
In August 2012 I was able to participate in Catalyst Foundation’s Aid Expedition as part of the medical team. This year, the Aid Expedition team’s goal was to raise money to build a cafeteria so that the children in Rach Gia can have at least one hot meal a day. Because these people are so poor, they live, eat, work, give birth in and die at a garbage dump. So poor, that children, starting at 3 years old, are obligated to work so there is food to survive until the next day. So poor that some of the kids would go days without eating. With the new cafeteria and the support of the children through Project Backpack, they can now at least have one hot meal a day.
The kids’ reaction after the ribbon cutting and reveal of the new cafeteria:
This trip was a life-changing experience for me. I realized, without a doubt, how lucky I was to have been able to come to the US and make a life for myself, and I know that The Catalyst Foundation will now and forever be a part of my life.
My passion is teaching people how to achieve optimal health through nutrition and that is why I vow that 10% of the income generated with this website will go towards providing one hot meal a day for every child who attends our school. Thank you for your support!
To donate to the Catalyst Foundation directly or learn more about their programs, CLICK HERE.