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Tu Success Story 1

Ngoc Tu Nguyen - Founder of Basketball for Hearing Impaired Kids

Year 13 IB Student Tu is giving back to her community by running a basketball academy for hearing impaired children.

Tu joined BIS HCMC at the start of Sixth Form as she began studying for the IB Diploma, attending a Vietnamese and a billingual school before joining us.  The way Tu gives back to her community is truly exemplary of the character development we encourage and admire in our students.  Read below to hear in her own words the journey she has taken to get to this point.

Tell us a bit about how you discovered the sport of basketball?


I was first invited by friends to play when I was 8, but then I took a break whilst studying at a Vietnamese school so I could focus on my academics. However when coming to BIS I was exposed to a lot more activities outside of academics, and so I picked up basketball again and became more involved in the sport here as my passion was reignited, representing the schools Under 19 Girls team.

Tell us about your amazing project ‘Basketball for Hearing Impaired Kids’ (BHIKs)? How did this come about and what inspired you to set it up?


Actually it was unintentional. As I mentioned I played for the school team, but I wanted to improve my skills a bit more for the team, so after school I would practice on the court near my home. It was on this court where I met one of my neighbours, who is hearing impaired. I found her inspirational, the way she observed the game and picked things up. Because she was hearing impaired others were reluctant to play with her or help her because they thought she might get hurt, however I could see she had a huge passion and desire to improve. So I started off by coaching her, and also a handful of her friends who were also hearing impaired. Seeing the way they all improved motivated me to establish my basketball academy and look for sponsorship.

Now we have sponsorship from Saigon Heat and SSA, which has involved use of their indoor court and facilities for a weekly session, as well as a visit to watch a professional live game.

  • Tu Success Story 2
As the founder of the BHIKs organisation what are some of your roles?

I think perhaps my most important role is coordinating and collaborating with all the members of my project. I have tried to understand all my team members skill sets and have looked to explore that and brainstorm how they can best contribute to what we are doing. Whether it’s HR, PR or coaching volunteers.

How has studying at BIS HCMC prepared you for running your own organisation?


I got to take part in the ‘Saigon Enterprise’, where I had the opportunity discuss my ideas with other members of my team, and get real world experience of contacting suppliers and negotiating prices. This experience helped me tremendously when preparing my sponsorship proposal for BHIKs. The student body here at BIS is so dynamic, so exchanging ideas with them really helped me see things from different perspectives, and ultimately this helped me solve problems within my organisation in a logical way.

What are you currently studying at IBDP? What would be your favourite subjects if you had to choose?

I study Business Management, Biology, Maths, Vietnamese Literature, English and Psychology. I think Business Management and Vietnamese Literature would be my favourites. The skills I have learned from Business Management have been so helpful in many situations, with the interactive teaching aspect helping me expand my horizons in ways of thinking and working. The Vietnamese Literature course taught here allows me to see the breadth, the depth and the beauty in literature works . My teacher delivers the content in such a unique way, so that we can see ideas from several aspects and not be limited in our ways of thinking.

I received rejections from sponsorship proposals, but I stayed motivated and kept persevering to achieve that goal. Ngoc Tu Nguyen
What CCAs and CAS have you taken at BIS HCMC that might have helped you prepare for BHIKs?

As I mentioned before I have been involved in the basketball CCA, but as well as this I have participated in community service projects such as Club Cure and ACT (Act for Change Together). This was actually my first exposure to community service, and participating in these projects helped me become a more responsible citizen. For example, when circling back to the ‘Saigon Enterprise’ the focus wasn’t only on increasing our profit, but also donating that profit to a local orphanage. These kinds of activities showed me the value of giving back to the community.

What are your goals for the future of BHIKs?

We would like to get the children developed enough in their basketball skills so that in approximately 18 months they can play with other children of a similar age that aren’t hearing impaired. We would like them to feel confident enough so that they can step outside of their comfort zone and reach out to a wider community so they can gain more life experience.

I am looking to study abroad once I graduate from BIS HCMC, so I am currently searching for someone who can take over my current position whilst I am overseas. I am really looking to make a lasting impact for the hearing impaired community, so I would really like to see this project continue, with the aim of one day seeing the hearing impaired community more integrated within the rest of our local community.

What do you want to do after you graduate this year?

I would like to study at an overseas University, and I’m thinking about studying Management, although I haven’t made my final decision on where I want to study yet. Studying Business Management here at BIS has shown me the value in management and has shown me how I can use this to positively impact my community.

Setting up BHIKs has really changed my thoughts for my future career goals. I originally thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur to make money, but now I want to be a social entrepreneur so I can make money but give back to the community.

Tu Success Story 3
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running BHIKs?

To be persistent and to give people equal opportunities no matter their background or perceived limitations. I received rejections from sponsorship proposals, but I stayed motivated and kept persevering to achieve that goal.

What does it mean to you to give back to your community?

It means a lot. I am very happy I have been privileged enough to  give others the opportunity to develop, and to see them share that happiness means everything. Some of my friends who have participated in this project have actually discovered their passion in life that they now want to go on and pursue as a career. The parents of some of the children have reached out to me and told me how much of a change they have seen in their kids, with so many of them finding a new confidence, not just on the court but in all aspects of their life. So the project has had an impact on not just their physical health but their mental health too.

To find out more about the Basketball for Hearing Impaired Kids project visit their fan page on Facebook.

Tu Success Story 4