Ly and her adoptive mother and children at their home

Ly and her adoptive mother and children at their home

Ly is an incredibly talented artisan that has worked with the Lifestart Foundation since 2009. You can read our first blog about Ly’s story here. Ly lives with her extended family on Cam Kim Island, and comes into Hoi An to make and sell her products at the Lifestart Foundation Workshop. Ly’s story is one of sad beginnings, but things are looking up for this mother of two.

Ly was born into an unstable family, and her mother sadly abandoned her at a very young age. Fortunately, a family on the island adopted Ly and raised her as their own. As is common in most families in the Quang Nam province, poverty provided little opportunities for Ly and her family members. Ly lived with her adoptive parents and their four children. The cost of schooling for that many children was too high, and so Ly ended her education in year 5.

She went on to sell fish, and sew bags for low wages to gain a small income, but Ly’s heath has restricted her ability to work. Ly has chronic migraines and heart problems, and so the long hours of her previous work proved too difficult.

In 2009, the Lifestart Foundation visited Cam Kim Island to speak of the work being done by the organization, and the interest in finding individuals that could benefit from being a part of the Workshop. It was then that Phuong (Lifestart Foundation’s Assistant In-Country Manager) met with the local community leader, who recommended Ly. Four years later, Ly continues to brighten the workshop every day with her big beautiful smile!

Since Karen’s last blog about her, Ly has given birth to a daughter, Van. She is now a year and a half old, with big eyes and a beautiful smile too. Ly’s son, Vu, is now 8 years old, and has been receiving a Lifestart Foundation Educational Scholarship for the past two years. Vu is currently in year 2 at Ly Thuong Kiet School on Cam Kim Island. Vu enjoys going to school and playing football each day after school. He is currently enrolled in Literature and Math as extra classes, in combination with standard classes. He works very hard and tries to never miss a day. He dreams of one day becoming a Doctor!

Jessica & Vu

Jessica & Vu

Vu and his mother recently met his sponsor, Jessica, when she visited Hoi An not 3 weeks ago! It was a wonderful moment in the LSF Workshop, as both women showed their appreciation, while Jessica met with the child and family whose life she has changed for the better. Ly thanked the woman that has provided a life-changing opportunity for her son. Ly said she was extremely happy to meet the woman that has changed her son’s life. Jessica is a mother of 2 from Australia.

Jessica and her partner have been long-time supporters of LSF, and attended the LSF Christmas in July Dinner Dance in past years which ignited an interest in supporting additional projects. Jessica visits Hoi An each year, and had met Ly in the past, two years ago she answered a much needed call for the donation of an educational scholarship. Now, her generosity will allow Vu to attend classes, and take the high costs of school fees, school supplies, and the all important extra classes off of Ly’s shoulders.

The cost of kindergarten for young Van is 800,000 VND, a price which Ly can now pay because of Vu’s scholarship. Ly says that Van is very well behaved unless she has a cold or the flu – that’s when the tears come out. She thinks that her daughter will one day become a teacher, and hopes to help her son and daughter to achieve their dreams.


Phuong translates for Jessica

Ly continues to hold a positive outlook on life, she hopes to one day save enough money to move out of the home of her adoptive mother. The home, a small structure which was built with financial assistance from the government, does not provide a lot of space for Ly and her family. Ly hopes to have her own home, and a plot of land that will help to provide stability for her children.

Ly continues to create wonderful items which can be found in the Lifestart Foundation Workshop. Her items currently include Silk Eye Masks, Recycled Magazine Coasters , Note Cards, Good Fortune Journals, Traditional Ao Dai Bookmarks , and she is also a part of the Spotlight Stich In Time Project.

This update blog about Ly and her family was written by Alana, one of our current interns from Canada working with Lifestart Foundation in Hoi An.

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Lots of love from Karen

If you happen to be in Hoi An, Viet Nam, visit us at:

77 Phan Chau Trinh Street,
Hoi An Vietnam



  • Published: 5 years ago on October 16, 2013
  • By:
  • Last Modified: April 19, 2014 @ 1:15 pm
  • Filed Under: All, Families