Nguyet was a young Vietnamese woman thrust into living day to day when she became a single mother. Proper food, clothing, and even a future education for her young daughter were simply a dream for her small family. Now 49 years old, Nguyet is running a thriving business and serves as a role model for her 18-year-old daughter. She is a shining example of the power to overcome the difficulties life can bring in a country where single women live on as little as $1.50 to $2.00 a day.
Up at 4 a.m. to begin her morning by preparing coffee and breakfast for her customers, Nguyet works 7 days a week, 365 days a year. “Nguyet’s Shop” serves coffee and homemade noodles to a steady stream of customers each day. With the help Children of Vietnam’s program funded by a grant from Rise Against Hunger, she has seen her customer base grow from a mere handful to serving as many as 40 people each day.
After receiving two years of training and a capital grant, Nguyet is now earning between $160 to $180 a month. She has learned the importance of money management and record-keeping to ensure her newly expanded business is both self-supporting and profit-making. “Before the project, my life was challenging, but now life has improved for me and my daughter,” says Nguyet as she proudly shows off her new refrigerator purchased with the proceeds of her coffee and noodle shop. Nguyet also shares how proud she is that the extra money earned from the business has allowed her daughter to continue her education. The shy, hard-working teenager is attending a vocational school to become a hairdresser so that she may model the confident, self-supporting businesswoman her mother has become. “I could not see a future for me and my daughter,” she says. “I want my daughter to not just survive as I did, but to enjoy life.”