Global Playground has launched fundraising efforts for the latest project in Vietnam. With the help of Global Community Service Foundation, Global Playground plans to build a four-room primary school in the central mountain village Khe Sanh in Quang Tri province, Vietnam.
The school will provide a safe learning environment for 140 students in grades 1 through 5 with a total of eight teachers, but the school is expected to grow. Currently, the students who will benefit from the new school study in two shifts in a day on a flood-prone area at the edge of an erosive riverbank with crumbling walls and broken furniture.
“They have to study in a flood-vulnerable down-graded 2-room school,” Central Vietnam Representative for Global Community Service Foundation Tam Xuan Nguyen said. “They are studying in an unstable mood as the school is quite weak now and the yard is muddy from the flood. Some kids have dropped school for a while because of these factors.”
Nguyen, currently stationed in Dong Ha, Vietnam, works for GCSF. GCSF is an NGO incorporated in both the United States and Vietnam that works to alleviate poverty in Southeast Asia by establishing sustainable, community-based projects “focusing on improving access to health care, education, and income-generation activities,” according to their mission statement. Tam sees the benefits this school can provide for the community every day.
“The new school will help to decrease illiteracy rate for the local children in ethnic minority areas by encouraging more young children to attend school. Their parents will feel comfortable sending their children to a better school like that,” Nguyen said. “The school will be a pride for the local people.”
While Vietnam does have a literacy rate of 90 percent among boys and girls, the ethnic minority groups that live in more isolated parts of the country suffer from educational inequality. The main problems these ethnic groups face include annual flooding that causes the schools to close, widespread poverty, unexploded landmines from the Vientam War, and the remnants of Agent Orange which causes a host of health problems.
This school aims to help the Pako and Van Kieu ethnic groups.
“It will help decrease the rate of school dropout among students. More children will complete the primary education and have better chance to enter into middle school education and high school education,” Nguyen said. “This will bring a brighter future for the little village because the younger generation will have higher education than their parents.”
The new school will consist of four classrooms, a toilet, 72 desks and chairs at a total cost of $46,368. The community plans to contribute materials and land for the construction of the school, but fundraising in the United States will be a major component to the success of the project.
“We chose this school to help because it includes all of the factors such as ethnic minority, education, life quality, rural areas, and disaster vulnerability,” Nguyen said. “The school will not only bring better schooling conditions to the ethnic minority children but also provide safer place for education and cultural nurturing, and equality in sex and education opportunity.”
Fundraising for the project is currently underway. Global Playground will hold a fundraising and awareness event at the College of William and Mary on November 7.
“This will be the fifth project in Global Playground’s five-year history, and it will extend the network of Global Playground to another needy part of the world,” Global Playground Executive Director Edward Branagan said. “This project will present another opportunity for a future Fellow to engage the students in Vietnam in cross-cultural dialogue with other children in the world.”