A letter to Thang Long school’s IT class

Nhung was a long-term beneficiary of saigonchildren’s scholarship programme. She graduated from university in 2019, and was an incredibly hard-working student at school. Now, her drive continues to pushes her to seek opportunities for personal development, in order to create future opportunities for herself within her career. After learning about the free Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) class at our Thang Long school (Getting Ready for Work Programme), Nhung applied, and on successful completion became the highest scoring student with 750 points for MOS Excel, 871 points for MOS Word, and 979/1000 points for MOS PowerPoint.

Dear teachers and sponsors of Thang Long school,

Firstly I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and send my best wishes to you.

My name is Hàng Ngọc Phượng Nhung, and I was the fortunate receiver of saigonchildren’s scholarship through my school career. When I first heard about Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) course, and the full support that could be offered to me, I was inspired by the opportunity. Fully aware of how beneficial the course would be not only for my academics but also for future job prospects, I immediately applied at Thang Long school. I still remember how nervous I was at the office, but the lady who supervised me with my application was incredibly helpful, she asked me about my situation and gave me words of encouragement. It was a warming first impression.

Living in Thu Duc district, which is far from Thang Long school, coupled with my own health issues, meant accessing Thang Long for my classes was a challenge. However, on realising this, the staff supported me in creating a schedule that allowed me to thrive. That was my only difficulty, and it was overcome thanks to Thang Long’s impeccable support system. The course was straightforward and effective. The teacher was patient, and answered all of my questions, even giving me some IT tips for everyday use. At this point, I was already integrating what I learnt into my academic work and making good impressions on the teachers at my university.

However, midway into the course, I had an internship and the staff were kind enough to let me take a brief hiatus while I completed my internship. At the moment I can say that 50% of the goals I set for my experience of this course have been fulfilled, as I can apply the knowledge in my work. And the remaining 50% is the advantage this international certificate will bring when I apply for a job. I think this support, offered by saigonchildren is highly practical, as an IT certificate is always valued within the office environment. For a student like me, coming from a disadvantaged background, this will help me to close an inequality gap, gaining a competitive advantage in order to secure a better future for myself. Additionally, as university students, having a certification in Microsoft Office IT is a requirement for us to graduate. For people like me, obtaining all the three MOS certificates is not very financially viable, therefore many students bypass this issue this by undertaking a less valuable course from a traditional IT centre. With this in mind, I am blessed and incredibly grateful to have been offered this course, and supported with 100% of the examination fee.

After my internship, I completed the course and passed the three exams: 750/1000 points for MOS Excel, 871 for MOS Word, và 979 for MOS PowerPoint. I’m so thankful that all the effort from everyone who has contributed to my education has been worth it.

These days, Saigon reminds me of when I was still taking the course, as even on a rainy day, my teacher was already there waiting for me. That perseverance and reliability was a big motivator for me to study hard, in order to thank my teacher with my good results. Now with these certificates, I’m ready to conquer my future, eagerly awaiting what it has in store for me.



Do Huynh Bao Tram – Student of Child Development Scholarship Programmeand Getting Ready For Work Programme

I started studying English at Thang Long School in the 8th grade. At that time my mother knew about the School’s free English class for disadvantaged children and applied for me to study here. Then, my parents were separated and I was living with my mother at her parents’ place. Because my uncles and aunts had little income, they could not help my mother and me much. Hence, my mother had to take care of herself by working hard jobs such as selling ‘banh mi’, selling lottery tickets, cleaning houses, etc to support me. My mother had heart disease and arthritis and had to go to the hospital often. My father worked as an assistant driver travelling on long routes. Every 2 or 3 months, he came back to give me and my mother a few hundred thousand to help with my studies and with our daily expenses. I did not have the opportunity to study outside of school as much as my peers, hence I was very glad to know that there were free English classes being offered at Thang Long School. Indeed, Thang Long School allowed my dreams to flourish.

At Thang Long School, I not only studied English but also received help from teachers such as Ms. Oanh the headmistress, Ms. Cuc, etc. Throughout my time of study, the School supported me with 50,000 per month scholarship. On special occasions such as Tet and Mid – Autumn Festival, me and my friends were given cooking oil, rice, mooncake, etc. The teachers also organized social activities such as lantern carrying and singing which was really fun.

My English lessons at Thang Long School lasted from grade 8 to grade 11. During that period of time, the School gave me the opportunity to study more English at the British Council (grade 8) and ACET (grade 12). However, because I was studying hard at ACET and at high school, I stopped my English lessons at Thang Long School.

One thing that I really regretted after I stopped studying at Thang Long School was that I did not have as much opportunity as before to go to the school’s library to borrow books. The School has English books from elementary to intermediate level, which helped students a lot in practicing to read, getting accustomed to using words and learning new vocabulary.

Studying English at Thang Long School was an important turning – point for me. Before I knew about the School, I primarily studied English at my high school and only did exercises on grammar and vocabulary. Thanks to the School, I had more opportunities to speak English. Out of all the teachers that have taught me at Thang Long School, I found Ms. Thuy to be the most memorable and interesting. Ms. Thuy had a creative way of teaching by having her students perform plays, write prose and poems, hence creating more opportunities for students to practice their English and use different vocabulary. Thanks to Ms. Thuy’s instruction, I became more and more confident in speaking English. Moreover, studying at the British Council and at ACET also helped me improve my English. At these centers, I was able to study and speak English with native speakers, hence more opportunity to perfect my English skills.

When I graduated from high school and got accepted into university, it was Thang Long School that introduced me to Saigonchildren’s Child Development Program. Thanks to that program, I was offered a scholarship for all 4 years of university. Apart from tuition, I also got training in the necessary soft skills for studying, for working and opportunities to volunteer for Saigonchildren.

1 year after my graduation from university, I was offered a position to work at Saigonchildren and have been there until now. Currently, I am working for the Child Development Program. I am very glad that I am working in the field that I studied and am proud that I am collaborating with my colleagues at Saigonchildren and teachers at Thang Long School to help disadvantaged children like me before. With the English and the soft skills learned at Thang Long school along with my volunteering experience at Saigonchildren, my job now is relatively stable

I would like to thank the teachers at Thang Long School because they were the ones to place the first bricks for me to build my life on. I wish them good health and happiness so that other children will have the opportunitiy I did to be independent in life.



“Everyone, it’s Friday” – The familiar message in Thang Long School teachers’ chat group have us so excited every weekend, it is not because of the usual TGIF as others would but mainly because of the upcoming weekly training by foreign teachers to us.

It is not easy being a teacher, every teaching method has its own drawbacks. Each class needs its own managing style and each student has a different way of learning and comprehending; therefore finding the right balance as a teacher within the classroom is very important. “Friday” has become one of the important key to our success in teaching path – the opportunity for us to gain valuable experience through interesting sharing and effective teaching method.

The most helpful things we gain are tips on how to work with children in different cases and situations. Trainers – who are experienced teachers abroad – give us both the inspiration and the methods to apply to our jobs directly. We, especially appreciate lessons related to children’s psychology and how to adjust our manner to fix it.

To achieve such great success, all volunteers who are professors, lecturers, and teachers from professional teaching environment have devoted in a long time. We definitely share the same passion to work with children. Even Though many problems arose, trainers were there, always listening to us and suggesting practical solutions or pieces of advice. The weekend has become exciting and helpful for training and sharing sessions. On behalf of Thang Long School Teachers, I would love to express our deepest thanks to Ms. Jessica (ILA), Ms. Claire (British Council), Ms. Lauren (British Council), Mr. Nick (British Council), Mr. Joe (RMIT) and other enthusiastic trainers who keep supporting us.


We appreciate every moment being a teacher and working with passion to bring a brighter future to children.



                                                                                    Tran Thi Kim Huong – Thang Long School’s Alumni

“Coming from a small town, I knew no one here in Saigon. My parents couldn’t afford my school fees but luckily I was offered a place to study English and computering at Thang Long School, which sponsored by Saigonchildren. They even paid for my fees to obtain a Level A certificate in English and Computering. More than that, my teachers at Thang Long School also encouraged me to study at university, and helped me to find a job at HSBC, where I could work to support my studies. Today, I have a university degree and have become a prioritized customers’ relationship manager at UOB Bank. More importantly, I am able to support my two sisters to pursue their education goals.”













“From a young age, I showed skill in drawing but I didn’t have the opportunity to improve due to family difficulties. My parents divorced when I was small, so my mother and I moved to Saigon to live with my uncle. In ninth grade, I applied for Thang Long and began studying drawing and English.My drawing classes at Thang Long helped me get admitted to the University of Architecture in Saigon and are the foundation for my studies in graphic design. I’m currently a sophomore at the University. Thang Long’s support has reduced the pressures of my daily life; one day I want to return to the school and help other children.”


Tran Van Hau – Student of Child Development Scholarship Programme and Getting Ready For Work Programme

I studied at Thang Long School (*) from 2002 to 2010. During that period of time, I studied drawing, English, computer and participated in many activities organized by the School or Saigonchildren such as the Fun Run, cyclo race, etc.


My situation before receiving Saigonchildren’s support was very difficult. When I was in grade 6, my family encountered some difficulties such that I could not continue to go to school anymore. Afterwards, my mother and I were introduced to Thang Long School, with its free vocational training and English classes, by our neighbors. When I applied to study at Thang Long School, I was asked which subject would I like to study. I said that I would like to study drawing because that was my favorite subject. When I was in primary school, I was praised for being able to draw and sing nicely. In addition, I asked to study compuing Saturday afternoons. As well as my favorite classes, my friends and I studied English, a compulsory class at that time. During my time studying at Thang Long School, the teachers cared for and loved me like any other children. When the teachers knew I had to stop my education but still wanted to continue, they guided me to register for night classes at Chi Lang School.

In 2004, I started to study grade 6 again. In grade 10, I studied in the morning while working at night to help my family pay for my school fees. Along with that, I studied drawing every Saturday morning and compuingr in the afternoon at Thang Long School. During that time, I was introduced to Saigonchildren by teachers at the School so that I can obtain a scholarship. Thanks to the support of teachers from the School, as well as the scholarship granted by Saigonchildren, my family situation improved and I did not have to stress as much about my school fees anymore. After graduating from high school, I was accepted into the Art Pedagogy major of the University of Saigon and the Art Design of Theatrical Stage and Film Set major of Ho Chi Minh City University of Stage and Film. Given my passion for the arts, I decided to study at the University of Stage and Film., I studied while working as a waiter and helping as a stage designer. Currently, I work part – time designing stages or stage props for plays and dance groups. The programs that I work with occur in the summer or public holidays such as Tet. The rest of the time I spend at home helping my mother sell drinks and teaching my siblings. Although the wage is not very stable, I can take care of myself without having to ask for money from my parents anymore. In addition, I get to fulfill my passion for the stage and the arts.

I would like to thank teachers at Thang Long School, Saigonchildren and beneficiaries for having helped and encouraged me throughout my journey to become the person that I am today. I hope that the School and Saigonchildren will open more classes to help more disadvantaged children in continuing their education.
(*) Thang Long School is English and Vocational School operating under management of Saigon Children’s Charity CIO