In December 2008, ChildFund Australia launched an appeal to improve the health, safety and education of young children at Hop Thinh pre-school in rural Vietnam.
Back then, the pre-school was a dangerous place for young children. It had no toilets so the children, aged three to five, were forced to squat in a field to relieve themselves and there was nowhere for them to wash their hands. Boys, girls and teachers were all forced to share this unsafe and unhygienic area.
The pre-school also provided a poor learning environment. An inadequate number of classrooms meant children of all ages were crammed into one room. With no seats they had to sit on the floor.
The kitchen where the children’s meals were prepared was a dark, dirty, concrete box with an unsafe open fire and no running water. Outside, their playground was a dangerously uneven patch of dirt and grass. Parents and teachers could only dream of having somewhere safe for their children to play.
Five-year-old Thuy is one little girl who suffered in these poor conditions. With her father, a labourer, working away from the community and her mother working in the fields every day to provide for the family, Thuy’s parents had no choice but to send her to the pre-school.
“Thuy’s pre-school is too small,” mother Lan said at the time. “The toilet is so terrible that I have no words to talk about it. The kitchen is just a little better. I am not the only person but the entire Hop Thinh commune is thinking and dreaming about a spacious and well-equipped pre-school for our children.”
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, ChildFund Australia raised $75,723 to turn the community’s dream into a reality. The funds have been used to rebuild the Hop Thinh pre-school and provide the following new facilities:
- A hygienic school kitchen with clean, running water and a chimney for ventilation.
- Sanitary toilets with hand-wash basins and a water supply system.
- Four new classrooms with chairs for the children to sit on and improved teaching conditions.
- A teacher’s room for lesson preparation, weekly teacher meetings and parent-teacher meetings.
The teachers and children of Hop Thinh pre-school are thrilled with their new learning environment. Tinh, a teacher, says: “The teaching conditions are greatly improved such as classrooms are large, clean and airy in the summer but warm in the winter; teaching aids are well-maintained. Now we can provide the students with more informative and colourful lessons as students no longer have to share curriculum with children of different ages.”
Nguyet, a five-year-old student at the pre-school, told us: “My school is beautiful. It has clean playground with many flower pots; and my friends and I like playing in the playground so much.”
Enrolments have also increased as parents are happy to send their children to the new pre-school, which will provide a healthy, safe and stimulating learning environment for generations to come.