The Definition of Happiness – Pham’s Story

What is your definition of happiness?

This question, if put to a thousand people would receive a thousand different answers.

In this blog, you will hear from Pham Thi Le- a mother, wife and labourer from Vietnam, that is being supported by Habitat for Humanity, volunteers and the government to move into a new decent home.


My definition of happiness

We want to see our children complete their education. Our only dream is that, even though we are poor, that we try and live so that our children can go to school.

“I want nothing but for my children to grow and be successful. One day entering this world, they can contribute to the society. Other than that, we don’t really dream of anything extraordinary.” – Pham

We have four children. Three girls and one boy.  Our youngest is only in 3rd grade, our second youngest is in 10th grade, and our second eldest is in 12th grade. As for our eldest, she already finished school for three years but couldn’t find a job. She is now a construction worker in Binh Duong.

I work and my husband also works… We live as labour hire workers. We farm, harvest chillies, remove weeds, grow rice, farm chillies. If anyone hires us, we work for them. Anything for the children.

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The days he goes to work I would stay home and walk our youngest to school since he’s only in third grade. The days I work, we would switch roles and he would stay home.

Pham's son

If we retire, our children won’t be able to go to school. We must strive our hardest… We need to strive hard so our kids can go to school.

We are always happy. Happy. Truly happy.


Pham’s Old House

This canvas is our roof right here. When the house was removed, I only bought these canvasses and hung them around because the water came in. That’s how we live. When this road hadn’t been built there were floods for many years. Years ago, all of this place was flooded. The water came as high as above our knees.

For our eldest daughter, we had to cut down banana trees and build a raft. If we needed to go anywhere, even to the market, we would let her sit on the raft – tie a rope and pull [her] along.

At night, when we sleep, the water comes in a lot. When he [our son] studies, he has to cover his head with a hat. That’s how he studies… [Seeing our son study like that] makes us extremely proud. Especially when we are able to come home on time,

Growing up, we never received the education that they do now… With our ability, we can’t handle everything but today with support, we are truly grateful.

Pham’s old home was made from scrap metal and wood, and the amenities within the home were very basic. If there had been a storm, the entire structure would have fallen down. The cooking area was also on the floor and very basic.

Pham cooking area Vietnam


Pham’s New Home

With the support of volunteers, organisations and the government, Pham now lives in a newly constructed house with her husband and children.

The new home has a safe roof that no longer leaks and sturdy walls that will be resilient to the weather.

Pham and her husband are incredibly happy that their children can now study in dry conditions without having to worry about their home affecting their children’s health and development.

Pham's son 2 - vietnam

“My husband and I can only say thank you so much, our volunteers, the government, Habitat for Humanity for helping our family. It’s such an honour. We are so blessed.”



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