Taiwanese Adoptive Parents and Zhi Shan Foundation Make Vietnamese Girl’s Dreams a Reality

Do Thi Hai Yen, a spirited Vietnamese girl residing in Huong Thuy town, Thua Thien Hue province, has triumphed over adversity through sheer determination and unwavering support from her adoptive Taiwanese parents and the Zhi Shan Foundation.


“Dear Mom and Dad,… For the past 14 years, I have lived in gratitude to you, always striving to be a decent person deserving of your help. You are the ones who gave me a lot of strength, encouraging me to live my best life in that tough situation. Sometimes I feel like God treats me unfairly, but now I thank God for letting me meet you, Mom and Dad, the angels in my life who saved my tearful life,” expressed Hai Yen in a letter to her Taiwanese adoptive parents.

Do Thi Hai Yen with her adoptive father (black shirt) and birth mother. (Photo: Zhi Shan Foundation)

Yen is from a low-income family. She is at a material and mental disadvantage when compared to her rural peers of the same age. When Yen was four years old, her father suffered from depression. As he was unable to pay for therapy, his illness worsened, occasionally damaging household items. Yen’s mother worked hard alone to raise her two children while also caring for her ill husband, her father-in-law, who suffered a stroke, and her elderly mother-in-law.

To make ends meet, in addition to making conical hats at home, Yen’s mother went out to work every day. Even though the mother had to do everything from work as a hired worker to farm for rent, her family’s finances were stagnant because her husband was unable to work and her two children were of school age.

Yen was in third grade when she was awarded a scholarship from the Zhi Shan Foundation, joining the Zhi Shan family, a strong support network for students in tough situations.

Hai Yen has studied hard to overcome difficulties with the support of her Taiwanese adoptive parents, the Zhi Shan Foundation, and her determination. (Photo: Zhi Shan Foundation)

With the affection of her adoptive parents and the Zhi Shan Foundation, and her determination to overcome obstacles, Yen maintained good academic performance throughout her 12 years of high school. “When my family was almost desperate, the presence and assistance of my adoptive parents was a great ray of hope to help me and my family overcome those difficulties and challenges,” shared Yen.

In 2020, Yen passed the entrance exam to Hue University of Economics to become a student majoring in Accounting. During her four years at the university, Yen worked hard to help her mother while aiming to get excellent academic grades. She never gave up, no matter how difficult things were. She continuously reminded herself that she needed to study hard in order to be the best version of herself, live a more beautiful life, and avoid disappointing her parents.

Throughout the years, Yen’s adoptive parents and the Zhi Shan Foundation have been tremendously supportive. Thanks to their support, she graduated in Accounting in April 2024 and is looking for a job that suits her qualifications.

Yen’s story is one of millions of pieces that together form a beautiful artwork painted by her adoptive parents. Adoptive parents and the Zhi Shan Organization have given essential encouragement to Vietnamese students as they pursue their dreams, alter their fate, and become responsible citizens.

The Zhi Shan Foundation is a non-governmental organization founded in 1995 by a group of dedicated individuals from inside and outside Taiwan (China). Since its establishment, Zhi Shan has been implementing project components to promote health and education for children in need in Taiwan (China), Vietnam, China, and Myanmar.

In 1995, the Vietnamese government granted the organization an operating license. On July 15, 2004, the Zhi Shan Foundation in Vietnam was officially established in Hue.

The Zhi Shan Foundation has been implementing many project components in six central provinces in Vietnam (Thua Thien Hue, Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, and Quang Ngai), including the project to sponsor wandering orphan children; scholarship project to overcome difficulties for poor students; preschool education support project; the project “Making friends with books,” supports the building of friendly libraries, books, and newspapers; and the free orthopedic surgery project for disabled children.

Phuong Nguyen