HopeBox

OUR STORY

Who we are

HopeBox was established in 2018 as the first social enterprise in Vietnam to respond to the lack of comprehensive psychology and economic recovery services for gender based violence (GBV) survivors in Vietnam post rescue.

Why we exist

HopeBox came from the simple idea and mission of helping rural Vietnamese women who have experienced domestic violence obtain a fresh start. Research showed:

– 34% of married Vietnamese women have experienced domestic violence

– 87% did not seek to report the abuse at the time.

Our Solution

HopeBox  hires women who have been victims of gender-based violence and provides accommodation, paid job and skills training so they can be financially independent in the future.

Therapeutic baking with a paid salary and accommodation supports the women and their children. Our training takes the women on a journey to employability and entrepreneurship, equipping them with transferrable skills for the working world.

Our Vision

We aim to be a pioneer social enterprise in Vietnam that leaves no women or children behind because of gender based violence.

Our Vision

We want to empower our sistersby giving them a safe place to live, to enable them to earn money and to receive an education. By doing so, we are making it possible for them to live free from sexual abuse and violence and providing them the means to raise their chidrenin a non-violent environment.

Message from our Founder

“Born into a rural farming family where the annual income came from harvesting a few paddy fields, life was not easy. My father passed away when I was very young, leaving my mother to look after three young children. At the age of thirteen, I travelled to Hanoi and worked as a babysitter, earning $7/month so I could help my mother with an income and ensure that my sister and brother were able to stay in school. 

 

 I still dreamed of an education and enrolled myself in night classes, however, my host-family would not allow it and threw me onto the street. I lived under the staircase and woke up every morning at 2am to cook sticky rice and sold it on the street, working hard until midnight to earn a living, managing a 2 hours sleep each night but it never ceased my desire to learn. Life was somewhat grey, unhopeful and difficult until I found out about KOTO – a social enterprise that helps street kids and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. My life began when I got accepted to a holistic training program in hospitality, English, and life skills at KOTO. From a vulnerable street kid, I transformed to be an independent young woman, with skills, knowledge, and a heart full of hope to start my professional journey in the hotel industry. In 2012, I was offered a scholarship by KOTO and Box Hill Institute to study an Associate Degree in Commerce in Melbourne followed by a Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Swinburne University, it opened a whole new world to me.  Although I landed a great job as a Business Analyst in an IT company in Melbourne, I always wanted to go back to Vietnam and work for KOTO. 

 

Growing up, I always looked up to my single mother who is my role model and inspiration. I however was struck by the plight of the women in my village who faced numerous challenges in domestic violence, those who believed that was their destiny and there was no way out of such a situation. One day, I could not breathe learning that my sister was one of them. I decided to do something to help the women like my sister.

 

HopeBox was founded in 2018, inspired by the Australia-Vietnam Leadership Dialogue where I took part in as a delegate. By all means, HopeBox is to empower the women that we have the privilege to support, to give them the tools to earn a living and change their circumstances, using work-based therapy models to help them heal from the psychological traumas. From a small project with only two women and we did a crowd-fundraising campaign to get the seed funding, HopeBox became the first social enterprise in Vietnam that works towards lessening gender-based violence. It’s incredible to see the changes that our women have made, from vulnerable and low self-esteem to empowered and independent women ready to embrace the next step in their lives. 

Thank you to all those who have been involved in making positive impacts in the lives of HopeBox women.

_Huong Dang – Founder and CEO of HopeBox Vietnam