There are many earth rights defenders in Vietnam who support others in the face of human rights violations and environmental issues. Some of them work in government agencies and some work in non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, high-level government officials do not care about their responsibility to protect their people from harm. The people working in NGOs make the greatest impact.
My director, Ms. Lam Thi Thu Suu, has a genuine enthusiasm for earth rights. Ms. Suu made me recognize that human rights and environmental protection are important to social development.
When I graduated from university in 2011 I did not care much about human rights and environmental issues. The first time I met Ms. Suu was when she accepted me as a volunteer in her organization. At the time, it was just a job. Four months later, I found that I really liked my work. Ms. Suu lit a fire under me through her boundless enthusiasm on human rights and environmental protection. She goes to the communities and talks to the women for hours on women’s rights, even when she is tired. After she goes to the communities, she continues to work with stakeholders at home and with foreign countries to call for support for the communities. Sometimes she does not have time for her husband or her two children.
Ms. Suu’s effort has been recognized by many people and organizations. Now, many people support the communities where she works.
I will do my best to help the communities get their rights. I will also get more knowledge about the environment to protect my community and environment from the impacts of development. Although there are many difficulties to achieving great success, if I make a sustained effort, I will succeed.
Our EarthRights School Mekong students were recently asked to write a short essay on an earth rights defender from their country. Two students - from Thailand and Vietnam - wrote very inspiring essays about strong women earth rights defenders. This piece is by an earth rights defender from Vietnam, Joy Tran.
Joy Tran is a student at the EarthRights Mekong School. She works for the Centre for Social Research and Development in Hue, Vietnam. She leads research projects on the environmental and social impacts of hydropower dams, and the human rights violations facing women in resettled communities. She also supports the Hue Students for Vietnam Rivers Network to promote youth leadership in protecting rivers and the environment.