Vietnamese culture show raises money to combat child trafficking

The Vietnamese Student Association hosted “The Heart of Vietnam,” its annual charity fashion show that celebrated both Vietnamese culture and clothing, on Oct. 24.

Proceeds from the event were donated to Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a charity that combats child trafficking in Vietnam by offering children a healthy living environment, psychological services and alternative employment opportunities.

Trinh Ly, president of the Vietnamese Student Association, hoped the event would help inform the public of the horrors of child trafficking and aid in the organization‘s publicity.

“The purpose of the show is to donate money to the charity, promote cultural awareness and unite the members of the club,” said Ly, a junior majoring in electrical engineering.

“The Heart of Vietnam” show opened up with a lion dance, where men ran around the stage in lion costumes to the beats of a drum and cymbal.

Trinh Ly and Tony Mai served as the masters of ceremonies for the night, introducing each act both in English and Vietnamese.

The first fashion act of the show was called, “First Date.” In this walk, men acted as escorts for women wearing business casual attire. Great chemistry was displayed between the partners, which lent a comical air to the show and allowed the models to have fun with what they were doing.

The show also featured traditional Vietnamese songs, dances and an influential shadow play, which is an ancient form of storytelling that uses puppet silhouettes. The play effectively showed the tragedy and hardships of child trafficking by portraying a couple arguing about money and deciding to sell their child to traffickers.

After the skit came to a close, the next fashion walk was dedicated to all the children who have been victims of trafficking. Models came down the runway in blue shirts with blue tape around their mouths displaying words such as: “warmth,” “smile,” “laughter” and “life.”

It is estimated that as many as 1.2 million children are trafficked every year for purposes of cheap labor or use in the sex industry, according to

The last walk of the evening was “Ao Dai,” the traditional Vietnamese long dress, with designs done by independent fashion designer Linh Pham.

Overall, the fashion show displayed outfits that exhibited a 21st century interpretation of traditional Vietnamese culture.

“The clothes resemble a little bit of culture with a modern twist,” said Mi Diem Truong, a freshman majoring in biomedical science.

Between fashion, music and dancing the “Heart of Vietnam” provided the ultimate entertainment for any crowd while displaying Vietnamese culture at its best and raising money for a great cause.