Fear of failure could have held Hong Tang back, but her desire to make a lasting difference that would support generations to come was stronger than any personal reservation
Who Is Hong?
My name is Hong Tang. I was born in a beautiful coastal village in Vietnam. I grew up in a low-income household and during my childhood, I noticed that I was receiving different treatment from my brothers. While they were allowed out to play, I had to stay at home to help my mother with the housework and I was told that I should focus my life on finding a good husband. Later in life, I would understand that this was my first experience of gender inequality.
When I moved to the city, I found it very hard to integrate into city life and the education system. After entering the workforce, even as a woman who was well-educated in tourism and cultural studies, I was treated as if I was second-best compared to my male colleagues. After I fell pregnant outside of marriage, the discrimination only increased.
I felt I had to leave my job. After giving birth, I then had the label of being a single mother, a position that is heavily stigmatized and typically not supported in Vietnamese culture. Common beliefs would assume that I was in for a more difficult life. However, I was determined to continue to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. During my single motherhood journey, I began to hear and empathize with the stories of other single mothers. I became frustrated with the stigma that I and other talented women were facing. I decided to build something that would present a new perspective and develop a new story, one in which disenfranchised women and their children were empowered to thrive and succeed.
Establishing Coins For Change Vietnam
After assessing many different possibilities, I launched Coins For Change Vietnam, a social enterprise that supports disenfranchised women, and works to shift common gender-based discriminatory attitudes so women can participate equally in society. It is my belief that women and all the people of Vietnam deserve this equal society, where every person has access to education and is encouraged to use their skills to support the development of the country. It’s a big goal, but Coins For Change Vietnam has already achieved some incredible things, and the organization is going from strength to strength.
Although it can be stressful and difficult at times, my two daughters inspire me to keep striving towards the organization’s vision. I'm very thankful for the people and volunteers I have met over the last four years. And I can’t wait to meet the volunteers who will support the organization and make a positive impact in crafting a more equal future!