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Thuy Nguyen

My family lives in Hanoi. When I was in primary school, my father brought home the fabrics to make ao dai as a gift to my mother after his business trip. The fabric has a youthful mint color that I really love. Because it was tucked away too carefully, my mother somehow forgot about it and hadn’t made an Ao Dai out of it. Many years later, when I finished 12th grade and prepared for my trip to study abroad in the U.S. my mother gave me a fabric and asked if I wanted to use it to make an Ao Dai and bring the traditional costume to America.

In the end, I used the fabric that my father bought for my mother, went to a local market with my mother to select some lace to create my own Ao Dai. After the tailor finished the costume, I brought it home and carefully embroidered the Ao Dai with beads and decorations to make the dress more brilliant.

This Ao Dai is both a gift from my father to my mother and a gift from my parents to me, for my journey around the world. I wore this shirt during a fashion show for Vietnamese students' traditional costumes aboard The World Odyssey when our group consisted of more than 500 students from more than 30 countries around the world traveling, studying and experiencing in nearly 10 countries around the world.

Returning to my university in the US, I continue to bring Vietnamese culture and beauty to American friends through fashion shows with this outfit.

Up to this point, after leaving university and working for many years, I still choose the mint green Ao Dai on special occasions to take commemorative photos and celebrate important occasions with my family.

From the first day I came to the US, to the time I traveled around the world and returned to the US, the Ao Dai given to me by my parents has always been with me, as a proof of the love of my parents and my homeland for me, always accompanying me in every step on the road of thousands of miles to new horizons.

If this story resonates deeply with your heart, please join us in extending a helping hand to the vulnerable orphans and disabled children in Vietnam through the donation link here .

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