Global Playground inaugurated its fifth project, Pa Nho Primary School near Khe Sanh in Central Vietnam on August 7. Several Global Playground Board members and volunteers were onsite to celebrate the inauguration. Global Playground worked with the Global Community Service Foundation to construct the school.
“It is exhilarating to know that here, in a place still littered with Agent Orange and landmines, we have given some of the poorest children in Vietnam an opportunity to learn, and connected them with their peers across the globe,” said Doug Bunch, Chairman of Global Playground.
Global Playground’s new primary school in Khe Sanh will serve over 125 students in the town and surrounding villages when classes begin in September. The building hosts four classrooms, a toilet, and 72 desks and chairs.
“The students, families and teachers very much appreciate Global Playground’s funding of the new primary school building. The teachers are committed to further the education of these children, and live up to the promise of the new school,” the school principal said.
Although Vietnam as a whole boasts literacy rates above 90%, the ethnic minorities in more isolated mountain areas suffer from widespread illiteracy.
Despite these challenges, the community’s commitment to education is undeterred. Although Global Playground and its generous supporters provided over $45,000 to build the school, the local community contributed land and materials to the project.
“The local community’s commitment to the school underscores the value they place on education and the hope they have for the future of their children,” said Edward Branagan, Global Playground’s Executive Director.
Khe Sanh is still recovering from the devastation and destruction that occurred there during the Vietnam War. The town was the site of an American base and a major, well-known battle. Unexploded landmines continue to put many villagers and children at risk. Annual floods in the town have also contributed to the destruction of homes and the closure of a prior school building. Global Playground recognized and responded to these challenges by building the primary school on higher ground that had been cleared of landmines.
Global Playground hopes that the new primary school will provide educational opportunities that will reverse the local cycle of poverty, provide safe places to learn and play, and add to Global Playground’s worldwide network of schools where onsite Teaching Fellows will continue to facilitate global cross-cultural dialogue.
This article was written by Pat Austria, Director of Communications.