Turning sorrow into the gift of a smile

26 November 2019

From a young age, An Tran was taught about the importance of giving back – a lesson her parents gleaned from the violence and sorrow they experienced during the Vietnam War.

“My parents were some of the lucky few who made it to Australia to start a new life with their families,” Tran said.

“While I haven’t experienced even a fraction of their pain, my parents always encouraged me to work hard in order to give back to the Australian community and thank them for welcoming us with open arms.”

For Tran, this meant volunteering with organisations such as the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the Red Cross and Australian Health and Humanitarian Aid during high school.

“The volunteering experiences I was encouraged to pursue have helped me become a better healthcare student and, I believe, a better person. They showed me how lucky I am and inspired compassion and understanding for people of all backgrounds,” she said.

After graduating high school with outstanding marks, Tran chose to pursue a career in dentistry so that she could help others.

Through a donor funded scholarship, Tran received enough support to buy her dental equipment and was able to budget for purchasing textbooks each semester, while also easing the need to work so many hours while studying.