2019 Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award
Founder, Children of Vietnam Benevolent Foundation
City: Calmar, Alberta
Country of origin: Vietnam
Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies is a physician, author, mother of three and an advocate for social justice through education. Born in Vietnam, the youngest of six children, she was only five when she and her family came to Canada in 1979 after eight months in a Malaysian refugee camp.
They landed in Edmonton, and life was tough, with cultural clashes, post-traumatic stresses and her mom having to work up to three jobs. “If we weren’t wearing second-hand clothes, we were wearing clothes our mom had sewn. In fact, I didn’t purchase my first pair of new jeans until medical school. I wasn’t in piano lessons or sports because we couldn’t afford it … but I had my books and my pencils.”
Education became her path to success. She completed a medical doctorate degree in 2002 from the University of Alberta. During her residency, she travelled to Gambia, Africa, where she worked as a volunteer at the local clinic and for the HIV/AIDS Peer Health Education Program.
Today, she’s a family doctor in Calmar, Alberta. But, with a desire to do more, she founded the Children of Vietnam Benevolent Foundation in 2013 to help give hope and opportunities to impoverished children in Vietnam through love, education and the provision of basic needs.
“By never forgetting where I come from — from war and poverty — I remain grounded and humble in all that I do. That is why I pay forward all the goodness that has touched my life.”
In 2016, she gathered friends to help sponsor and settle two Syrian refugee families. “Having myself been sponsored to Canada as a child refugee from the Vietnam War, I did not fully appreciate my sponsors until I stepped into their shoes,” she says.
Tran-Davies also loves to write children’s stories, with proceeds unsurprisingly going to charity.