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Personal stories submitted by Oxfam supporters like you.

Thao Nguyen - San Francisco, CA

Submitted by Bob Ferguson - Summit, NJ

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Big-Heart + Hugely Talented + Smart Activist = Inspiring Woman

I'm lucky enough to have four amazing nieces that I adore.  As I watch them grow up and see what their influences are, I worry that they may be lead astray by the crazy popular perceptions of what it takes to be a successful young woman (I'm looking at you Kim, Khloe, and the rest of the K's).  But my worrying subsides when I remember there are other options for girls to look toward for inspiration, like my musician friend Thao Nguyen. 

Thao is inspirational on so many levels, it's hard to describe them all without it sounding like I'm making up a cartoon superhero. She's insanely talented, having honed her craft at a young age as a singer/songwriter/guitarist while working at her single mom's laundromat in Virginia.  A Sociology and Women's Studies major at college, Thao is super smart and equally adept at chatting about African agriculture, gender theory, or 80's rap (I know because I've had these conversations with her. "Push It" by Salt N Pepa is one of her faves.).  She's an efficient and admired activist, working tirelessly on behalf of women prisoner's rights, youth literacy, and as an Oxfam Sister On The Planet, using her influence to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice, with a particular focus on empowering women worldwide.  And the quality of Thao's that I love the most is her gigantic heart.  The kindness she exudes inspires all who come in contact with her or her music to be more open-minded,more kind, and more helpful.  It's a quality I aspire to, and one that I wish upon my nieces, and the rest of the world too.

I know that there are plenty other Thao's out there, so by recognizing Thao Nguyen this International Woman's Day, I'm symbolically honoring all those smart, cool, big-hearted women who are helping to inspire us all to make the world a better place. But especially Thao.

This story was submitted as part of Oxam America's International Women's Day initiative to honor women working to right the wrongs of poverty and hunger. Honorees are selected independently by Oxfam supporters. Selection does not imply endorsement or other support from Oxfam America.

Honor a woman in your community

Do you know a woman who's making a difference in the fight against poverty, hunger, and injustice? Share her story with the Oxfam community as inspiration on International Women's Day!

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