Van was enrolled to ChildFund Child Sponsorship Program (CSP) since she was 4. Since then, Van has been regularly monitored of her progress and well-being through Progress Reports. Small gifts like school supplies, warm jackets and T-shirts coming to her once in a year also add some joyful moments to the little girl’s childhood. More than that, the program has brought her a pen pal, a far-away friend to whom she has gradually built a habit of writing, learning how to express herself and to show her care, learning about a whole new culture and a bigger world to hers through letters with her sponsor.
As growing up, Van has participated in various project activities that ChildFund conducted in her area. She joined a filmmaking team for a project called “Connecting and Creating Leadership”. As part of the project, she learned to make films with her teammates to produce two short films, one reflecting the state of environmental pollution and the other about the real dream of her peers. She also joined the core team in a project to help children raise their voice on child safety issues that they perceive as unsafe or violent and bring such issues to local leaders’ attention and necessary actions.
Van is also among those kids who are fortunate enough to be able to engage in sports, which breaks the previous norm that sports is only for boys and girls should only do housework. Since her father participated in a ChildFund project of rugby name PIB- Pass it back as a coach, he got to know more about gender equality and changed his mind. He encouraged Van to participate in more activities and become a rugby player. “Being a rugby player is so great to me because not only I can play a sport I like, but through sports I also learn a lot about life skills like self-protect, health, leadership and teamwork.”, she said. “Whenever there is new recruitment round, I often invite my friends to register to attend.”, she added.
Khanh Van with her father – a Pass It Back coach
At the age of 14, Van was invited as one of the young speakers at United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) side event “Child & Youth Experiences and Activism for Achieving the SDGs and Promoting a Fairer and Greener COVID-19 Recovery for All” in early July 2021. The event received the presence of Ms. Henrietta H. Fore – UNICEF Executive Director, Ms. Ione Belarra – Minister of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda, Government of Spain and six other youth advocates from across the globe. The event was a unique opportunity for children and youth from diverse regions and backgrounds to share their experiences, ideas, and actions in their communities to recover stronger, achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and get their voices heard by key decision makers. Watching Van’s confidently answering questions addressed to her by the moderator, her father could not feel more proud and thankful for how his little girl has grown up. He told us that this was a great opportunity for Van to broaden her horizon and wished there would be more opportunities like this for children like Van.
ChildFund’s various age-appropriate activities and community development programs have enabled Van and many children like her to reach their full potential, grow up healthy, educated and safe.
Van proudly received a certificate for her participation in the United Nations HLPF side event