The Vietnam War is one of the most controversial events in American history that still haunts many today. For the Vietnamese tragedy continued for many years after the war ended in 1975. Those that were from south Vietnam were sent to 'reeducation camps' where conditions were life threatening and torturous. Farm lands, personal possessions, and private commerce were all eradicated and regulated under the communist regime. And after a century of foreign domination and decades at war, the country’s land and infrastructure was severely damaged and industries underdeveloped. Thus, people were unemployed, millions starved, neighbors looted, economic depression spread and the country was left in despair.

Despite the horrible living conditions, leaving Vietnam was considered an illegal act by the government. Not giving up hope, some Vietnamese began to form underground groups to organize escapes in makeshift boats that sailed into the treacherous seas. This generation of Vietnamese refugees are known as the "Boat People". They risked their lives so their children could have a chance at freedom and a future. Their stories are ones of loss, separation, survival and resiliency. 


The mass exodus of Vietnamese refugees started in 1975 thru to the early 1990s, with the peak between 1979-1985. There are no clear statistics on how many people attempted the escapes or exact figures on how many died along the journey. Estimates of deaths have ranged from 200,000 to 600,000, from pirate attacks, rape, torture, prosecution, drowning and starvation. The Vietnamese Boat People generation is an aging population with stories of courage and hope and refugee experiences that need to be preserved as part of the Vietnam War history.

OUR MISSION

PRESERVING THE PAST FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

The Vietnamese Boat People podcast project is to preserve and carry forward the stories of this generation so that younger Vietnamese-Americans can understand and be inspired by their heritage. And if these stories evoke others outside of this community to have more empathy towards the millions of refugees around the world today, then this project has accomplished more than we had hoped for.

ACTIVATING PAST REFUGEES TO PAY IT FORWARD

Our Vietnamese community could not have rebuilt our lives if it weren't for the generosity of others. We owe so much to those who helped us find safe refuge in another country and provided us with temporary shelter, clothing and food. Through partnerships with nonprofits and communities we hope to mobilize Vietnamese-Americans to pay-it-forward and join us in helping today's refugees transition into safer lives.

MY STORY

Hi, my name is Tracey Nguyen Mang, and I was a boat person.

 

I was born Nguyen Quan Truong-Anh, the youngest of seven children, in Nha Trang Vietnam in 1977. When I was only one, my father and oldest brother fled our country by boat. After that, my three older brothers made the same risky escape. And in 1981, my mother braved the journey with three girls under the age of 10.

We were one of the lucky ones that survived. Three separate escapes, three different refugee camps and three years later, reunited in America as one family. This statement oversimplifies the journey. But the story of how we got here, is anything but simple. 

Join me on the journey of preserving my family's story and the stories of hundreds of thousands of other Vietnamese Boat People.

Read my blog posts

OUR TEAM

We are a team of volunteers and contributors,  from students to young professionals, whom contribute our talents and free time to this mission. We are always looking for volunteers to join our growing family. If you are interested, email us at stories@vietnameseboatpeople.org

 
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Tracey Nguyen Mang

Founder & Chief Storyteller

My family calls me 'Bo' named after 'bo bo' a type of grain in Vietnam.
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Ashlee Newcomb

Communities & Partnerships

I am an avid Nittany Lions fan and has attended at least one home game at Beaver Stadium every year.

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Darlena Chiem

Video Production

I enjoy swimming, Muay Thai, and tending to my tiny plant collection.

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Matt Young

Live Episodes & Videos

I really like to snorkel, scuba dive, and film underwater. I've done dives in the Great Barrier reef and in Hawaii!
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Richard Luong

Growth & Development

I started my career as an attorney in environmental litigation representing groups affected by gas drilling.
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Steven Hoang

Data Analytics

I once drove non-stop from Virginia to California. 
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Anna Williams

Communities & Ambassadors

I consider myself a genuine foodie and I love trying soups in new places.

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Bella Nguyen

West Coast Communities

I survived living in two seperate homes that both got struck by lightning.
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Lani Mac

Blog Content

I grew up in a 7-Eleven, ask me about it when we meet. 
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Megan Do

Story Slams

I love reading! My goal is to read 40 books in a year.
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Saoli Nguyen

Social Content

I learned to swim in the waters of Cuba.
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Tricia Vuong

Stories & Concepts

I love tomatoes!
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Meet our first cohort of Ambassadors!
 

The VBP Ambassador program pilot is supported by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, an independent non-profit organization and state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This is a volunteer-based role to help VBP connect with local communities and shape the narrative of the Vietnamese diaspora.
For more information check out this testimonial or contact anna@vietnameseboatpeople.org.

Alex Su

I’ve traveled to 6 different European countries in 3 weeks to sing.

Eileen Nguyen

I had a pet squirrel for 3.5 hours.

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James Sanchez

I have a Russian middle name that no one in my family can pronounce.

John Hoang

I got to live in Oahu for 4 years during my time in the military.

Jackie Reed

I'm a fan of vegan baking, travelling, and playing the piano by ear.

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