Life can be very tough in Vietnam. Following the Global Financial Crisis, it got even tougher. And if you live on the outskirts of Hanoi and rely on intermittent labouring work, the chances of being able to give your children a good education can be very slim indeed.
As Hanoi expands, many small landowners sell their farms to developers. The money doesn’t last long, and soon they are relying on low paid, part-time work with few or no sickness or accident benefits should anything go wrong. The Vietnamese know that education offers a way out of the poverty trap, but even though education is officially free, there are still books, uniforms and other costs to pay for. So for some families, it is simply not possible to guarantee that their children get a good education.
This is where Toc H members have been helping. In 2006, the Toc H Viet Nam Training Partnership was established. This was designed to work in conjunction with existing aid organizations and help the poor develop the skills they will need to ensure a better quality of life. One of the projects we support is Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Vietnam’s Child Study Assistance Program. Toc H members and supporters provide YWAM with funds to ensure that children’s families can afford to send them to school for the whole year. This only costs $25 per child – less than most of us spend when we dine out!
In 2007, Toc H National Youth Development Officer Owen Nichols visited Yen Nghia commune on the outskirts of Hanoi with YWAM. There he met a number of students supported by the project, including Thuy, who lives with her single mother in a room provided by her uncle, whose family is also very poor. Mum, who is nearly blind, struggles to find part time work, but Thuy is able to study in Grade 4 thanks to the project’s support. YWAM provided her with further assistance when it was discovered that she had eyesight problems. The organization paid for her eye test and the glasses she required. This will greatly help her achieve good results in her schooling.
Toc H members started supporting YWAM’s Child Study Assistance Program in 2007. Since then, the level of interest has grown so much that Toc H members and supporters, with help from other organizations including the Rotary Club of Windsor (Qld) and the RSL Club of Victor Harbour (SA), now support more than 80 children! The student’s future is still largely in their own hands, but at least they are no longer at risk of dropping out of school, thanks to our kind members and supporters. And with an education, who knows what the future may hold?
If you would like to support this project, please contact your local Toc H branch.
(Thanks to YWAM Vietnam who provided some of the information in this article)