To escape from war, Dr Emilie Tran’s grandparents fled from China to Cambodia where her parents were born. However, soon after her birth, war also broke out in Cambodia.

Many people died of starvation, medicine shortages or overwork; and among them was her father.

When the war ended, Emilie and her family moved to Thailand. With assistance from the Red Cross, they migrated to France. Despite the local government’s generous support for refugees, they endured a lot of hardships. “Bringing my younger brother and me up on her own, my mom, who didn’t know French at all, had to take up two jobs to make a living.” 

Although life was tough, both Emilie and her younger brother studied extremely hard. With distinguished academic performance, they were awarded scholarships for further studies. Upon graduation, Emilie went to Switzerland to study international relations. Later she got another scholarship and returned to France to pursue a PhD. Subsequently she worked in France, Shanghai, Macao and Hong Kong.

Looking back, Emilie expresses her gratitude, “With these experiences, I’ve been able to come up with my own values and have come to understand life’s priorities. We couldn’t have led a valuable life without someone else’s help, so indeed we must also help others.” Apart from being a volunteer for Médecins Sans Frontières, Emilie gives blood regularly and is a registered organ and bone marrow donor. She says, “When I was working in Macao, I learnt from social media that a boy was in urgent need of a bone marrow transplant. Without a second thought, I registered as a bone marrow donor. If one day I’m found to be a close bone marrow match for a patient, I’ll certainly offer help. As for organ donation, it’s well accepted and supported by my family. In fact, donating organs and bone marrow is not as complicated as people think. A simple act can save the life of another person, so why not do it?”

Completely devoted to teaching, Emilie is imparting knowledge to as well as sharing her experience with youngsters in the hope of cultivating in them a thankful heart. At the same time, she also values family happiness and cherishes family time. Sharing her thoughts, she says, “Life enables you to find happiness and give meaning to it. God gave me life, so I enjoy it and live it to the fullest!”