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After 16 Years, This Teen's Mother Made Her Dream Of Setting Up An Orphanage Come True

"My mom was very compassionate about these children who are considered illegal in Vietnam and really wanted a place for the nuns to run and be able to educate and support them," Truong Xe told BuzzFeed News.

Posted on June 22, 2017, at 3:49 a.m. ET

In 2000, Tracy Vu immigrated to the United States from Vietnam with her husband and three children. She came from a large, rural, and impoverished family and spoke no English.

Truong Xe

Now, 16 years later, she not only owns a successful nail salon in Capitola, Santa Cruz County, California, but has also made her long-term dream of building an orphanage back in Vietnam a reality.

Twitter: @truo0ong

A tweet by her 18-year-old son Truong Xe about his mom has gone viral, with more than 10,000 retweets.

"I was only able to complete school up until the fifth grade," Vu told BuzzFeed News. "So I knew that I wanted to give back to my home country in ways of educating the youth."

So, after she became financially stable, Vu would travel back to Vietnam every three years to connect with and help various nunneries and orphanages, Xe said.

Last May, she finally decided it was time to fulfill her dream to build an orphanage. She started collecting donations from the Santa Cruz community, her family and friends, and she set aside her own funds for the project.

Truong Xe

In November, she visited a rural area of Vietnam and began to set up the orphanage, which provides education and provisions for children who have no citizenship status because they were abandoned at birth by their parents and are being cared for by nuns, as well as for children who can't afford to go to school.

Twitter: @truo0ong

"My mom was very compassionate about these children who are considered illegal in Vietnam and really wanted a place for the nuns to run and be able to educate and support them," Xe said.

Xe said his mom is the only person financially supporting their family of six, and that she is one of the "most hardworking, compassionate, and dedicated people" that he knows.

Truong Xe

"Regardless of her success, my mom remains incredibly humble," Xe said, adding that she doesn't share the fact that she has visited several rural villages to provide food and supplies and commissions eye cataract surgery trips to Vietnam with her husband.

Truong Xe

The orphanage is still currently under construction, and is scheduled to be completed by December, when Vu and Xe will visit.

Tracy Vu

A sign has been put up to recognize the Santa Cruz community, "who have always been there to support my projects," Vu said.

Tracy Vu

Xe said he shared his mom's story on Twitter because "she's been able to achieve so much and just really deserves to know what a superwoman she is," although he did not expect it to go viral.

Truong Xe

People were incredibly touched.

They felt inspired.

And praised Vu's kindness.

Vu said that she was not aware that her son had shared her story online, but was "truly thankful" for all the uplifting messages she has received.

She added that she hopes to continue building orphanages and schools every three to five years.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.