The children were clearly delighted by the new kindergarten buildings and their new equipment, toys and facilities. The new kindergartens offer the children the chance to be in comfortable surroundings with their friends where they can develop their confidence and build on social skills.
Demand is high for kindergarten spaces and, according to NFVC, as much as 20 percent of the community’s children were previously without a place. Due to a lack of funding, the existing facilities were considered to be cramped, substandard and potentially hazardous.
The opening of this new three-classroom kindergarten means that a further 90 children are now being schooled, with the expectation that more will be offered places due to the high demand in the community.
Providing the children with a safe place to learn supports the whole family and benefits the wider community. The increase in kindergarten places means that a number of parents are now able to work full-time who couldn’t previously do so due to child-care commitments. Also, as the enrolment rate is expected to continue to increase over the forthcoming years, the hope is that the level of illiteracy in the community will fall accordingly.
The An Hiep community lies in the Dong Thap Province, an inland province in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam, 170 km from Ho Chi Minh City. Due to the terrain of the Mekong Delta River, many parts suffer destructive floods from August to November every year and the area is described by NFVC as one of the serious disaster areas of the rainy season. The floods cause great suffering for the local people and a loss of their livelihoods. 11 percent of the local population has been classified as destitute, according to NFVC.
People in this region earn a living primarily from agricultural activities - mainly from rice farming - but many families do not own land, working instead as hired labourers. Parents struggle to maintain a livelihood for their families. As a result, if formal childcare such as a kindergarten is unavailable, they are forced to leave younger children at home unattended or they have to rely on their older children to look after the younger ones. This poses huge risks to the younger children’s safety.
Over time, this brand new facility will help to increase the educational standard of the whole community. The project has already increased opportunities for the local officials by enhancing their project management skills, particularly in working with NGO-funded projects. Implementation of this project has also helped to create jobs for the local people involved in the construction, including the contractor and the suppliers.
With thanks to the Gulf for Good, CNCF Dubai, and our local partners, the National Fund of Vietnamese Children under the Provincial Department of Labour Invalid and Social Affairs.