Huong Dang Thi, International Partnerships and Engagement Manager - KOTO
Huong was born in 1986 in a farming family. Her father passed away when she was very young. Her mother had to work very hard just to make a living. The yearly income for the family only came from harvesting a few paddy fields. When Huong was 12 years old, her mother became very sick. Huong decided to drop out of school and gave up her dream of becoming a literature teacher. At 13, Huong arrived in Hanoi by herself, hoping that she could earn some money to support her mother and for her siblings to remain at school. Huong had a lot of hard work, which was too much for a young child. She babysat and woke up at 2am to cook sticky rice and banana cakes to sell. Her life was full of challenges and dangers. There were many drug dealers where she lived and she slept on a small bed under the stairs.
Despite all these difficulties her passion for study never stopped. Huong decided to register for a night class at a Continuing Education Centre. Then, a friend introduced Huong to KOTO and in 2006; she became an official trainee at KOTO. In 2007, Huong was offered a waitress position at the Intercontinental Hanoi Hotel Westlake.
Fast forward to 2012, Huong commenced a Diploma of Business Management in Melbourne. In 2013, Box Hill Institute offered Huong a scholarship to study an Associate Degree in Commerce, and Huong was honored as Victoria’s International Student of the Year – Higher Education and the Premier’s Award- International Student of the Year with a $20,000 scholarship.
Huong has completed her Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne, Australia). Huong has been awarded numerous awards. In 2017, Huong was selected to be a Young Leader representing Vietnam at the Australia Vietnam Young Leader Dialogue.
Because of her passion and the support from KOTO, Box Hill Institute, and the community, Huong’s life and her family's have changed completely. Huong is an excellent example for KOTO trainees to follow and realize: All your dreams can come true if you dare to hope and rise to the challenge.