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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Leadership program for LGBTQ youth, HIV/AIDS-affected youth begins in Vietnam
From a press release
2017-07-25

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Hanoi, 19 July 2017 — Amazin LeThi Foundation today, announced the launch of the Leadership Sports and Education Program, co-implemented by the Community-based Care and Support Center for Health and HIV & AIDS Hai Phong ( HHCSC ), which will take place in Hai Phong and Hanoi, Vietnam, from July 24 to July 30, 2017. The program, the first of its kind to launch in Vietnam, will focus on integrating two marginalized groups — Asian LGBTQ youth in Vietnam and children living and/or affected with HIV & AIDS.

The aim of the program is to empower and inspire its participants through sports and education to create future leaders and mentors, transform lives, and help build stronger communities within these marginalized groups and for society as a whole. Over the course of seven days, 30 participants including children and youth aged 8 to 20 from the two groups will be encouraged to have fun while learning lifelong core values in leadership, wellness, mentoring and team work. The older youth will work with a curriculum strategically designed to give them sustainable skills and confidence to benefit them on a personal and professional level, and have the opportunity to apply these skills in a community environment with the younger youth, while the younger youth will learn what it means to be a good, responsible citizen, work with other groups and become fully integrated into their society.

Ms. Amazin LeThi, Founder, Amazin LeThi Foundation, said: "I suffered a tremendous amount of discrimination and bullying as a child and into my teenage years, I've experienced homelessness, poverty and depression that lead to contemplating suicide. I understand what it feels like to be marginalized and what many of these youth from the Leadership Sports and Education Program are going through because I have experienced many of their hardships throughout my own life. I don't want any youth to experience what I've gone through and via the Amazin LeThi Foundation, I want to inspire and help as many Vietnamese youth as I can so they can achieve their full potential in life".

"As someone who has been living with HIV for the past 16 years, I have firsthand experience of the difficulties that the youth living with and/or affected with HIV & AIDS are facing. I strongly believe in activities that can help these young people find their voice, and equip them with skills to gain confidence, leadership, mentorship and teamwork. This is a main reason why I'm very happy to be part of the Leadership Sports and Education Program by Amazin LeThi Foundation", said Ms. Pham Thi Hue, representing HHCSC.

The program activities will be divided into two parts. The first will focus on facilitating and educating the Asian LGBTQ youth in Vietnam the following components — Wellness, Leadership, Mentoring, Teamwork, Work Skills and Good Citizenship, to be achieved through a series of activities including sports, activities, workshops, lectures, forums, discussions, on and off-site commitment from companies, and motivational talks from business and thought leaders. The second will introduce the Asian LGBTQ youth in Vietnam and children living and/or affected with HIV & AIDS together, with the goal to have the older youth lead and mentor the younger youth through similar skills that they have learned, but focus more on wellness, teamwork, and good citizenship.

The program has received tremendous support and active participation from various governmental organizations including American Embassy in Hanoi, Dutch Embassy in Hanoi, as well as the business communities who have also lent a hand to organize activities during the program such as Dragon Capital as title corporate partner, SSESTEEL, KPMG, Baker McKenzie Vietnam, Usher's New Look, Israeli Gay Youth, Animals Asia. The program has also received in-kind support from Nike Vietnam, UP Coworking Space and Jolen Consulting.

The Netherlands stated "The Netherlands commits itself to defend equal rights for LGBTQ people and to counter discrimination, both in our own country and abroad. We firmly believe it's everybody's right to be who you are, and to choose who you love. The Embassy of the Netherlands in Vietnam is therefore happy to join hands with this varied group of partners to empower these youths. By raising awareness for non-discrimination against both LGBTQ people and people living with HIV/AIDS in Vietnam, we hope to contribute to better individual opportunities and stronger communities."

Dragon Capital stated "At Dragon Capital, we believe that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity diminishes employee morale and productivity and those employers who prohibit discrimination have a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining the best talent. Consistent with that principle, we are pleased to be a part of the launch of Amazin LeThi Foundation's flagship program and embrace the positive impact of greater equality and inclusion of LGBTQ people in the workforce."

"At KPMG, we believe that integrating different perspectives and promoting inclusion has the potential to create substantial business impact. Inclusion and Diversity is an increasingly important part of the conversation on how companies can improve business performance and cultivate an organisational culture where employees can bring their whole selves to work, each and every day.

KPMG is proud to not only be engaged in this conversation, but to also join forces with fantastic organisations such as the Amazin LeThi Foundation to drive change on important issues such as LGBTQ equality and inclusion", said Warrick Cleine, Chairman & CEO, KPMG in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Baker McKenzie Vietnam stated "We are excited to partner with the Amazin LeThi Foundation with the launch of their flagship program as our firm believes everyone should feel comfortable in the workplace, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We are committed to creating and maintaining an open and supportive working environment. This includes equal opportunity for advancement and development within the firm regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and the equal provision of benefits to same and opposite sex partners or spouses".

Usher's New Look stated "Usher's New Look ( UNL ) is excited to partner with Amazin LeThi Foundation by using innovation to bring together students of diverse backgrounds. Thanks to the power of technology, our students from Atlanta and students from Vietnam will be able to share their stories and unite their perspectives to ignite positive change".

IGY ( Israeli Gay Youth ) stated "IGY, the Israeli LGBTQ + youth, is proud to be partner with Amazin LeThi Foundation. Both of our organizations work for making lives of children and young people better by empowering them for action and creating safe spaces for diverse youth from Israel and all around the world. We are more than exciting for the meeting between our youth from Israel and the youth from Vietnam. How great it is to overcome the long distance and to succeed to meet each other".

For more information, please contact: Ms. Nong Hanh Amazin LeThi Foundation Email: team@amazin LeThifoundation.org .


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