Nominated Asian Girl Ambassador 2013: Hoai Chu Thi Thu (Finalist)

Thu Hoai

Name: Hoai Chu Thi Thu

Organization: Vietnam’s Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender – Family – Women and Adolescents (CSAGA)

Awards/Achievements: 1) Survivor of domestic violence; 2) Advocate/volunteering to help disadvantaged people; 3) Model student at school with good grades

Introduction

When I was 13 years old, my mother was beaten to death by my father and his family members. The court had to review the case many times, but finally, with the support of voluntary lawyers and CSAGA reporters, all the people who caused the death of my mother were put into prison for seven to more than ten years. The CSAGA supported me and my brother financially until we were 18, and I now aspire to be a lawyer who protects the rights of vulnerable and marginalized people. To help me achieve that goal, I’m taking the University Entrance Exam for the Trade University’s Law Department. (Update: Hoai has passed her University exams with flying colors and will begin her studies in law when the semester begins.) I’m also volunteering as a social worker to serve disadvantaged people.

Violence against girls, including sexual abuse, is one of the most serious issues in my country. In 2011, the Vietnamese police discovered an adolescent prostitute network in Ha Giang Province and found that the leader of the network was a high school headmaster. This teacher forced many girls from grades 10 to 12 to have sex with him and then forced them to become prostitutes. In addition, domestic violence against women/girls is very common in Vietnam. According to national research on domestic violence in 2010, up to 58% of Vietnamese women have suffered from physical, psychological or economic violence.

I have given talks in school to share my story and encourage others to say no to violence. Why do I want to join the Ambassador program? Because I want to tell my story of violence to many people in Asia and encourage them to break the cycle of violence.

Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women, and Adolescent (CSAGA)

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Founded in 2001, the Center for Studies and Applied Sciences in Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents (CSAGA) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) working for rights and developments on women and children. CSAGA hopes to become a pioneer among Vietnamese NGOs in using an art- and culture-based approach in preventing domestic violence, human trafficking, and corporal and psychological punishment of children.

Mission:

Increasing the capacity of women and children who are victims (or who are at high risk of being victims) of domestic violence, corporal and psychological punishment, and/or human trafficking

Enhancing awareness and developing responsibilities of communities, local authorities, social organisations, and governmental organisations to support gender equality and the rights of children and women

Advocating actively to create a favourable legal framework to ensure the rights of women and children

Acknowledging culture and rights as two important factors for intervention and objectives of all activities. 

Principles:

Approaching humanity from the cultural angle is a basic principle that CSAGA leans on to solve social problems. CSAGA prioritises the use of art and creativity to orient individuals and community to learn together and change actively. The organisation also seeks to effect change through the improvement of knowledge and skill on self-protection and community helping of women and children. Forms of arts CSAGA has used include role play, short stories, body play, puppet play, body games, etc. These approaches have been integrated into activities such as:

– Counselling

– Training

– Research

– Communication

– Designing and managing programmes

– Mass media intersections 

Activities:

One theme running through many of these efforts is the centrality of child/youth participation. For example, as part of “Improving informal education system for child laborers”, CSAGA emphasised communication, volunteer training for youth, and teaching and guiding activities for children. Communication groups were implemented through two major channels: the Voice of Vietnam (VoV) and cassette tapes. As part of the 8 months of VoV broadcasts, child labourers and youth volunteers took part as much as possible in helping improve the awareness of the whole civil society regarding child labour issues and the importance of educating children for staving off child labour. They assisted with the reportage of status and consequences of child labour, quoting studies on child labour, reporting (often live), broadcasting stories, conducting interviews, and receiving questions and feedback through air-mail (to VOV), email, and phone calls to CSAGA. Also, children’s groups and youth volunteer groups participated in compiling and selecting contents and style for 2 cassette tapes featuring details from the radio programmes.

More info (vietnamese):

http://www.csaga.org.vn/trang-chu.htm

English:

http://www.comminit.com/content/center-studies-and-applied-sciences-gender-family-women-and-adolescents-csaga