Grantee Spotlight: Trang Le
Photos from Trang's Photo Blog
The purpose of Trang’s project, Making the Voices of Young Key Female Populations Heard, was to highlight the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs of ethnic minority girls and young women from Vietnam’s northern area and lesbians and transgender women in the capital city of Hanoi – groups of people that are often disenfranchised – in order to increase awareness of the realities these groups face when accessing contraception.
“The project empowered not only the beneficiaries but me as well. I learnt a lot for myself during the journey and I grew to be a more enthusiastic activist.”
— Trang Le
To meet her project goal, Trang trained 25 ethnic minority girls and young women in SRHR. Before the two-day training, only 32% of participants knew the definition of reproductive health. By the end, 96% knew the correct definition. The participants also received information on various contraceptive methods, including male and female condoms, oral contraceptives, the implant, and intrauterine devices (IUD).
During the training Trang taught participants how to use PhotoVoice, which is a research method that promotes the ethical use of photography for positive social change. Equipped with new skills, the participants returned to their villages to collect photos and stories documenting others’ experiences related to SRHR. Using the photos and stories collected, Trang created an e-book featuring 120 stories. Published in both English and Vietnamese, it is the first e-book of its kind in Vietnam and is a useful advocacy tool that amplifies the voices and experiences of girls and young women.
“Through the project, I acquired a lot of new knowledge related to sexual and reproductive health and I felt stronger. I am no longer shy or embarrassed when mentioning to this issue anymore. Now I also know that I have such rights named SRHR and women’s human rights, which I have never imagined before.”
— Sừn Thị Phúc, 20, Project Beneficiary
Trang also created a blog that shared the stories of 11 lesbian and transgender girls and young women living in Hanoi. The blog focused on the group’s SRHR needs, as well as their experiences trying to access information and services, including contraception. The blog has been viewed by 1,000 unique viewers.
Through her project, Trang encouraged these vulnerable populations to share their stories and increased public awareness of the challenges that these populations face when accessing contraception and other health services.