This is the sharing from our Leadership Development Officer (LDO), Hoang Thu Trang, during her work trip to the U.S. Her primary responsibility is to guide Fellows to become effective teachers – leaders during 2-year Fellowship. Reaching our vision that by 2050, all children in Vietnam, regardless of their backgrounds, will attain an excellent education will require us to have an exceptional staff team.

“Today marked half of month milestone into my Professional fellowship program with University of Montana. I just realized how fast time flied and how far I myself have gone on this amazing learning process (which I truly believe other 15 fellows will share the same feelings in multiple ways).

Getting to know Missoula, Montana as a beautiful city, I am even more amazed to feel passionate hearts of the local citizens for community. There are many wonderful ways of how the local social organizations plant philanthropic seeds so that everyone across the city has a role to play towards community betterment, not to mention how hard the non-profit sectors are working to ensure they have resources needed to fulfill their missions, and are strategically connected with one another and with partners in business and government. This is also one of the contributing reasons why Montana is ranked as the 7th highest state in the US with the number of NGOs per capita.

Having the privilege of working directly with The Flagship program exposes me to the concept of “resourcefulness”, specifically on how the program with limited human resources can stretch themselves and connect with various stakeholder in the community to provide a healthy and safe environment after school to promote the learning and development of a child in the past 10 years. Also this morning, I got to know the working model of Missoula Food Bank (MFB) in the efforts of ending hunger and providing nutrition for community in need. The opportunity of visiting their new building and hearing the stories was an incredible journey of remembering the millions of tiny steps so many people have taken together to get the organization to the current place. Together the community is “moving the needle further”

The story still goes on and my eyes will stay open…

Importantly, this meaningful journey in the US cannot happen without me taking time for reflection about my own country situation. Seeing the collective efforts of Missoula people reminds me of the original motivation why I am pursuing the social field. It was that feeling when I visited a low-income school in the border and rural areas of Vietnam, it made me really angry but paradoxically inspired. I felt angry when I see students studying in harsh conditions, available resources not being leveraged to their best use, and innocent dreams of children getting crumbled each day. Yet these are the same sorts of things that will inspire me to put my foot down, roll up my sleeves and say, “enough is enough, I have to take a stand. These kids deserve a much better education and I will join the movement of giving them a brighter future”. While I realize how far we are from our collective dream of reaching all children’s potential, my hope is strongly fueled with so many stories I collected here day by day so that I know when I come back, I can pass on this inspiration to our Teach For Vietnam teachers who worked tough hours each day and night to plan lessons and activities for our children, teaching them great characters and values. We are “moving the needle further”.

In Missoula, Montana October 2017”

Hoàng Thu Trang_Leadership Development Officer