Stories of Change

Top: the old dormitory, which is now a store. Middle: Tam and other students in their new dormitory space. Bottom: Phan Ba Dai uses the new handwashing station.

New dormitories and handwashing stations for a school in Vietnam

Giang Thi Tam and her family live in the mountains of northwest Vietnam. She is a fifth grade student, and her younger siblings are in first and third grade. The school in their remote community only serves the youngest children. By fifth grade, students need to go to the main school outside the community to continue their education.

Tam now goes to the primary school of Phuc Than commune. It’s more than four miles away from where her family lives. Tam’s parents work long hours in the fields near their village, so they don’t have the ability to commute with Tam every day to school. As a result, Tam is a boarding student at her school. Her parents come regularly to visit her or pick her up for a weekend at home, but she primarily lives at school.

Our team has partnered with Tam’s school to make sure that it has the facilities that students need to be comfortable and safe while studying. One project that we’ve worked on together is building new dormitories for the boarding students. The students live in large group rooms, and CWS helped them build five new rooms. Tam recently told our team about what it was like before the new rooms. She used to live in a room that housed 35 students. “It was very tight to live in, and too noisy to study in, with so many students in a room like that,” she recalled. “When it rained, we all couldn’t sleep because the sound of rain falling on the corrugated iron roof was very loud.”

“Since the school has five new boarding rooms, our rooms are more spacious and airy,” she told us. “My room only has 22 students, so it is less cramped. It is easier to clean, and it is also easier to study in the new room.”

The school no longer has to use the corrugated iron rooms as dormitories. In fact, they’ve turned that building into a store.

Phan Ba Dai has been the school’s principal for the last four years. He is very grateful for your help improving the living conditions for his students. He told us, “In addition to the five boarding rooms, a system of two handwashing troughs with nearly a dozen faucets that CWS has provided to the school is very useful. These faucets for students to have places to wash their hands, which were good in normal situations, are now even better in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. Since having these handwashing troughs, teachers have more facilities to regularly instruct students to wash their hands with soap, and they do follow this as a daily COVID-19 precaution practice.”