HOF092: Ly Vang

Ly Vang was born in a small mountainous Laos village. When she was 12 years old, she found herself caught in the middle of the Vietnam war. Ly and her eleven family members managed to escape by foot to Thailand, trekking through bullet ridden fields, treacherous forests and raging waters. There, she and her family lived in the refugee camp for five long years, waiting for the opportunity to go to another country to start a new life.

In 1980, Ly’s family was finally accepted by the Canadian government to move to Canada. They had become very poor in the refugee camp, using up all their lifesavings and resources. When they arrived in Canada they worked hard. Both parents worked two jobs. During the day, her father went to a poultry factory and her mother worked as a home cleaner. Then at night, they would go and pick worms until 4 in the morning.

That hard-working mentality was passed on to Ly. She juggled motherhood with school and jobs. She worked as a machine operator and auditor at a plastic manufacturing company, an interpreter, an assistant manager as well as a client research analyst at a bank. She also volunteers much of her time leading groups at her church and helping those in need. She has been married for 37 years and has five children and 5 grandchildren. She is one of the first members at First Hmong Mennonite Church in Kitchener, Ontario. In her free time, she enjoys gardening and cooking.