Ditching the Veil for a Uniform

Stories from the Field      3 min read

Xa is only 14 years old, but for years, she knew what her future holds: early marriage.


Where she lives in Vietnam, arranged marriages are prevalent and most girls are married as teenagers. Both of Xa’s grandmothers married at 15. Her mother married at 17. Her sister married at 19.


In her culture, women are the breadwinners of the family. Once, Xa’s mother had to go to the forest to chop down a tree even though she was heavily pregnant.


Xa grew up watching her mother take care of her father. His routine most days is to work in the morning, then spend hours drinking with other men in the afternoon.

“Coming home after, he would beat my mother and me. I was so scared that I would fall into the same destiny as my mother: get married at a young age and find myself a drunk and abusive husband.

It seemed inevitable that Xa would have to drop out of school, get married, have children and work to support her family.



But Xa had dreams. She wanted to go to school and learn, so she walked 10 kilometers each way every day to make it happen. Then one day, her mother broke her leg and couldn’t work. Xa became worried that her worst fears would become her reality, and it didn’t take long for it to happen.


After having nothing to eat for several days, her father told her that she needed to drop out of school to support the family. “I felt miserable every day. I missed going to school. I cried to my sister over the phone.” Her sister suggested that she reach out to World Vision for help.



World Vision visited Xa’s father and convinced him to let her return to school. With support from her child sponsor, Xa received help with daily essentials and school supplies, while her father received livelihood training (breeding chickens) to improve their household income.


Xa has set her sights on becoming a policewoman to protect children from harm. “I heard from somewhere that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ but to me, it is more like ‘it takes a village to protect a girl.’”



When you sponsor a girl, you’ll protect girls like Xa from child marriage and child labour so that they can achieve their dreams and break generational poverty. Join the movement to sponsor 1,000 girls by International Day of the Girl on 11 October.

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