This is what I usually hear during my visits to schools where CWS works in one of the most difficult areas of Vietnam – its Northwest region.
It is very difficult to keep children in school in this mountainous area where many different ethnic minority groups live and where villages are atop steep hillsides. Communities are far from one another and far from the commune center (and services). Children, therefore, have to walk to school along deserted, dangerous trails. Sadly, when they reach the school, the buildings are usually in poor condition. This further erodes children’s – and their parents’ – interest in schooling.
To help create a safer and child-friendly learning environment, CWS has long partnered with schools in remote areas to improve essential conditions such as water access, bathrooms and kitchen sanitation and classroom and dormitory safety so children from distant villages can feel safe and comfortable boarding at school.
After one successful partnership with Ta Ba primary school, the head teacher said this to me, “We do not know how to thank CWS enough! You supported us to meet basic needs that the government still can’t; for example, our water supply. Before, teachers and students had to collect water from distant streams, which is very hard and time-consuming work!” Now there is more time for teachers to teach and students to learn.
A group of girls at Ka Lang lower secondary school added, “The project helped improved our dormitory. Now we have doors on our bedrooms, and we also have a toilet and a bathing room so we do not have to go to a far away stream or to the village water tank to bathe.”
It’s so touching to know that the project has helped fill some big gaps and address children’s essential needs and making their lives at school safer and easier so they have more time for study and feel more positive about school.
NQ Dung is the CWS Country Representative for Vietnam.