Work-based therapy to foster sustainable reintegration of Vietnamese gender-based violence (GBV) survivors.

Ensure survivors of gender-based violences (including domestic violence, human trafficking and others) can gain relevant employment skills

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Written by


  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Huong Dang, CEO & Founder of HopeBox

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Vietnam

Where are you making a difference?


Website or social media url(s)

Instagram: hopeboxvn Facebook: Website: Twitter: HopeBox13

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $250k - $500k

Organisation Type

  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Growing up in a small village, all I witnessed was the inequality of opportunity for women. Hearing my own sister's horrific abuse with her husband over eight years truly broke me. She has escaped many times, but unsuccessfully. I decided to develop a project for my sister that synergises employability skills with work-based therapy which stemmed from my experiences working with GBV survivors in Vietnam. Whilst working with HopeBox, within a few months my sister had a steady income and secure housing, the need to return to her husband was minimal. She was no longer financially controlled. With this economic and therapeutic empowerment, she felt stronger and happier. She was now in charge of where her life could go.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Women who flee GBV quite often do not have the skills nor connections to advance and major cities such as Hanoi or HCMC will be the only alternative to finding work. Once here, their options are limited by a severe lack of money & education. They are at risk of falling into the wrong hands. With no work & lack of funds, they are not able to support themselves or their children and the chances of returning to a GBV situation increases.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The HopeBox solution is economic empowerment through the ability for women to earn a fair wage, live in secure accommodation, learn English, develop financial skills and ultimately live a life free of abuse. By using their ability to cook and deliver lunch boxes Mon-Fri and create a variety of edible products, they prosper in a safe environment which facilitates their growth. Furthermore, they are not forced to hard labour in order to make a living. HopeBox women are able to control their future and support their families and see their loved ones. The result of this directly mitigates the effects of domestic violence and significantly lessens the chance of women returning to violent situations thus removing the coercive control of the abuser. Women who learn about HopeBox know that they will have a place if they need to escape a violent situation. By economically empowering them and developing their financial & professional capabilities, we ensure survivors of gender-based violences (including domestic violence, human trafficking and other forms of abuses) can gain relevant employment skills while restoring social and psychological functionings.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

We have developed an innovative project that synergises employability skills with work-based therapy. My experiences with GBV survivors suggest that the lack of a transitional employment model that is trauma-sensitive greatly impedes GBV survivors’ sustainable reintegration. Current agencies providing vocational and job placement services for GBV survivors do not have the capacity to address these issues. HopeBox is a safe place which directly addresses these issues. For our women, it is a transition model that provides employability skills but also fosters an environment where they are safe to be themselves. Therapeutic cooking/ baking of their choice results in a paid salary & accommodation to support themselves and their children.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

Whilst the Vietnamese economy is rapidly expanding, there are those (such as rural GBV victims) who will get left behind with limited education, no access to affordable English or technical skills. To address these gaps, our project provides a transition model that provides employability skills (including hospitality skills training, career development skills, leadership training), business engagement opportunities and work-based therapy (psychosocial education, relaxation techniques and outsourced trauma counselling services) for GBV survivors. The synergy model will enhance their sense of safety and self-esteem, interpersonal and vocational skills, social capital and psychological functioning within 06 months. Once these core skills have been developed, women have the chance to enter into more management positions at HopeBox or move to a different role they feel they can grow in.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

Economic abuse diminishes a woman's ability for financial independence in any sense. With no access to funds, it is a coercive type of control and common form of abuse that women will face. HopeBox fosters the ability for GBV victims economic participation. This fosters greater economic security for women and their families for their current situation and their future. With a secure salary and professional development, they are able to obtain financial capability. They can support their children through school and build their savings.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Advocating for change and data is a long-term, albeit necessary plan, but with limited instant impact. Hagar International and Blue Dragon address the direct removal of women from domestic violence and advocate at the top level. HopeBox reinstates the economic independence of women who have fled from violent situations by addressing the aftermath and focusing on developing core skills, female leadership and capital. HopeBox directly impacts survivors of gender-based violences (including domestic violence, human trafficking and other forms of abuses) can gain relevant employment skills.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Since we are in the early stages, we don't have the metrics in place to correctly quantify the impact HopeBox has. Our qualitative methodology will involve our ability to evaluate in five years where the women who started with us were when they joined and where they are now. Have they been promoted at HopeBox into management positions? Have they returned to their husbands? 77% of reconciliation cases result in continued abuse. At this point, we have a 100% no return rate to abusive situations which will remain our goal. HopeBox will measure its impact by the progression of the core skills and professional development of our employees and also their children. We aim for 100% of children of victims to stay in school and continue their education to a Grade 12 minimum. Thus, our impact will be measured by the opportunities directly created from economically empowering a HopeBox woman.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Our initial funding was an injection of funds from AVYLD which is how we initially bought our supplies. With low costs in Vietnam, HopeBox has already been breaking even with its business model. In addition, bespoke gifts and an array of edible treats that cater to large international holidays have proven to be exceptionally popular. With the desire to buy conscious products and eco-friendly, HopeBox's products have a higher price tag but maintain low costs and therefore prices do not deter consumers. To expand, we need a new kitchen, professional development activities for our women, English lessons and other things that can't be relied on through donations and volunteering. We need the capital to invest in our team.

10. Team

Management (Full-time) Huong Dang: CEO & Founder of HopeBox. KOTO Alumni: Masters of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at University of Swinburne (Full-time) Eleanor Sander O’Hearn: Managing Director, Bachelor of Business, Advanced Diploma in International Hotel & Resort Management Board Members Joanna Wood: Education & Science Counselor for Vietnam & Thailand: The Australian Embassy Duong Quy Do: PhD Researcher & Teaching Assistant at the National University of Singapore

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Socioeconomic class
  • Status as a migrant

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

Growing up in a small village, all I witnessed growing up was the inequality of opportunity given to women. Where I'm from, a woman's destiny is at the control of her husband. A woman's worth is judged on her ability to cook and care for her family. If she's lucky, truly lucky, she'll have a husband that doesn't beat her. Or if he does, it's a rare occurrence. Continuing education and developing a career will not be an option for a rural Vietnamese woman. We are not just another statistic.

How did you hear about this challenge?

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