Will to Succeed

Written by: 

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Translated by Pacific Links Foundation Team


October 19, 2012




During her escape from the monsters who trafficked and kept her captive, she suffered severe scratches throughout her whole body, a huge foot infection that did not want to heal, thirst and hunger to the point of complete exhaustion …Hugging the young, shy and little girl who burst into tears when recalling her ordeal, I felt in my arms a person of immense greatness.


Is She a Trafficking Survivor?

Written by: 

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, Translated by Pacific Links Foundation Team


October 12, 2012



Riding a motorbike slowly around the intersections near the border gate, a young woman caught my eyes. Many stories told to us by trafficking survivors kept churning in my head … Poor young women from the rural areas, led by their ill-fated job search, were deceived and trafficked across borders, where they were locked up, beaten, and forced to work in brothels for interminable time. I do not know who that young woman is or whether she had gone through the horrid scenarios of those who were trafficked. Hopefully this was just my imagination. But if she were a survivor, I hope that she could gather her courage, that of a survivor, to go home, to be a human being again. What is most needed is the understanding of and help from a community to let her heal and give her strength to find herself again.

Humanizing Experiences: A Mural Project on Home and Dreams

Written by: 

Patricia Nguyen


May 12, 2012


“What do you think of, when you think of home?”


“I think of our family, sitting and eating together. I think of my mom, my dad, my uncle, aunt, and brother. And I think of my brother’s laugh as we joke around during dinner.”


“What are your dreams?”


“I dream of seeing the ocean for the first time. I dream of being a really great student so I can find a job that is secure to help support my family.”


Each woman full with stories of their past, shared bittersweet memories of home and what it means for them to create a new life for themselves. It is important to see the humanity of the young women we work with. It is important to empower the young women to not be defined by the stigma of what happened to them, but to reclaim their past, their history, and their cultural roots to solidly pave a path for their future.


The mural project was created from just that desire, to humanize these young women. The project was developed from the belief that these women are more than just trafficked returnees, but are whole human beings who have a history, a culture, hopes, and dreams. I journeyed with the women living at Compassion House, our Reintegration Shelter in Lao Cai, for 10 days, sharing stories of home and drawing memories of the past and visions for the future.  Here is a photo journal of our process: