“I’m thankful for being given a solid foundation that I can build on to reach into the sky from,” Nguyen Van Nam says with confidence shimmering in his eyes. Nam was abandoned at a seaside wharf when he was just a few months old. An elderly woman who workedas a porter in the local market took pity on him and looked after him until he was 10 years old. But unfortunately, she was too poor and eventually could no longer afford to raise him and Nam was again forced to fend for himself. He was sent to an orphanage in Hue, the ancient imperial capital 3 hours north of Hoi An.
Without a family to support and guide him, he stopped going to school in the 9th grade. While struggling to survive, Nam heard the inspiring story of an older girl from the orphanage who hadcompleted her training at a program called STREETS in Hoi An and now worked at a famous five-star international hotel. Her success story stunned him and led him to seek out other STREETS graduates to learn their stories. They could all speak perfect English and had good jobs with stable incomes.
For the first time in his life Nam had people to look up to. Nam did not speak any English at all when he came to STREETS. He also needed to adjust to the rigorous training schedule. “I did not want to feel embarrassed around other classmates, so I studied hard, especially grammar and pronunciation. Each day I tried to memorize 20-25 new words.” Such dedication allowed him to master the language in only 18 months.
With time, Nam learned more than just the languageand hospitality skills he needed for a career. He took to heart the importance of being flexible, patient and constantly thirsting for new knowledge. He says with a smile,“I feel calm now when searching for a solution whenever there is a challenge.” After graduating, Nam was hired as a Bartender at the five-star La Siesta Hoi An Resort & Spa.
His professional working attitude helped him receive a promotion to Team Captain. He then took a position as a Server at the renowned Four Seasons The Nam Hai Resort. In his free time, he mentors children in his former orphanage who want to join STREETS. “I am a lucky man who has received help from many people, especially at STREETS. I have a good job with a stable income, a vehicle and a home.
I continue to work hard to build towards my dream of working abroad and having my own business in the future,” Nam says. Indeed, a boy who entered the world without a reason to trust anyone has learned to trust in himself and serve as a dependable source of inspiration for those around him.