Mikayla's story: how my Pharmacy job led to a trip to Vietnam that changed my life

30 Nov 1999
They say inspiration is a steady burn of passion, a flame that makes you feel empowered and comes deep from within your core. The word literally means to be in spirit and when you’re in tune to that spirit and desire, amazing things can happen- not always obvious to begin with, but always leading to some form of fulfillment.
Mikayla is one of our amazing One Girl Ambassadors, and we asked her to share her story of how she became inspired to make a difference, and what led her to get involved with One Girl.
At the age of 18, Mikayla’s inspiration to make a change to the lives of those living 7,000 km’s away in the orphanages and homes of Vietnam- a very different scene from her beach front home in Perth- came to her through a chance meeting with a regular customer, whilst working her part-time job at a Pharmacy. Out of all of our regular customers for me, one stood out the most. A middle aged Vietnamese lady named Thi. My boss would always be overly insistent that she would have to serve her. At first I assumed it was because she didn’t speak English very well but, it seemed to be something more than that, which made me extremely curious to find out why this was the case. That’s when I started to notice that each time Nga, my boss, would serve Thi she would hand her an unmarked envelope along with her medications. Thinking the worst (drug money!) Mikayla was curious to approach Nga to find out what was really going on and whether or not she was playing witness to some underground criminal movement. What she heard next changed her perspective on life, and on her own life in particular. Thi and her family had come over to Australia by boat and made a living working hard as she considered herself a very lucky woman. She had a young son who was studying at University and both her and her husband had a secure income. What was different about her story is how she has dedicated her life to helping others in need. On a regular basis, Thi would go around to all of her friends and family in Perth and ask them to spare any money they could so she could distribute the money to different charitable organizations in Vietnam. This revealed the story behind the white envelope, but also forced Mikayla to question what she was doing to help others. I was just going to work, studying and partying with mates. I decided I wanted to help Thi, so I developed what I branded as ‘Sexy Charity Parties.’ Over the period of a year, I hosted four parties and raised a total of $12,000. I took all the money I raised and gave it to Thi. She said she wanted me to experience Vietnam and distribute the money for her. Fast-forward to January 2011, Mikayla and four friends headed to Vietnam armed with suitcases full of medication and donated clothes. They visited orphanages for children with disabilities and houses for the blind, where Mikayla witnessed what was just a glimpse of the suffering many people living in poverty in developing countries go through. Mikayla Ambassador I have honestly never cried as much as I did on this trip than in my whole life. I was torn; it was impossible to gauge how to feel because I was so empowered; yet overwhelmingly disempowered at the same time.
I only saw the slightest percentage of where the world needed aid and it seemed endless.
Up until my trip to Vietnam, it seemed I had never been confronted with such unfamiliar extremes of anger and disappointment with humanity, and prior to this experience I really had no understanding of what it meant to suffer. To be fair, I still don’t. I was allowed to glimpse the tip of an iceberg, and although my efforts to assist at the time seemed futile, I was transformed by the newness of my desire to act. Having my eyes forcibly opened in my adolescence is something I am truly grateful for, as I now have the rest of my adult life to make the change I want to see. These experiences ignited a flame inside me to change the world, but I didn’t know how! I searched for a long time and then I came across One Girl! Since becoming a One Girl Ambassador earlier this year Mikayla, has helped to inspire others through sharing her passion, harnessing her creativity and making connections with her friends and family, colleagues and even strangers, about why she cares so deeply about girls education. Mikayla Ambassador Mikayla threw herself into Do It In A Dress mode and has absolutely smashed her fundraising, amazingly raising over $3000, enough to give 10 girls access to education! She’s truly embraced the fun and tongue-in-cheek nature of Do It In A Dress and used her comms-know how (she works in marketing and communications) to make some hilarious, super entertaining and quality nuggets of dress-wearing gold (including an epic Board Breaking video and an amazing Dance Video) that never fail to have the One Girl team laughing out loud (literally). You have to check out her Do It In A Dress blog: Mikayla Ambassador We love how infectious Mikayla’s passion is and we are SO inspired by her story, thanks for letting us share it, Mik!

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