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New Go Thau preschool opens in Vietnam

Last year, 18 passionate Australians embarked on a physical and fundraising challenge to support the construction of a much-needed new preschool in the remote village of Go Thau, Vietnam. In Go Thau, the community’s youngest children were attending preschool in the only space available – an old buffalo shed with a leaky roof, no running water or toilets and very limited teaching materials or toys.

ChildFund Australia’s Vietnam Trek for Toddlers invited participants to raise $6000 each (including travel costs and a donation towards the new preschool) and enjoy an incredible 12-day adventure in Vietnam – exploring the city of Hanoi, trekking in the beautiful Sapa mountains and even having the opportunity to visit Go Thau village to meet the kids and learn more about ChildFund’s development work.

Now the dream has become a reality. Less than a year after the Vietnam trekkers’ journey to Go Thau, the new preschool has opened and has been so well received by the community, enrolments have already doubled.

The new school is a five-classroom preschool with a fully functioning kitchen and toilet block. Outside there is a colourful playground and a fence all the way around that keeps the children protected and safe. All the teachers have been given early childhood development training and there are some new teachers in training to cope with the influx of enrolments.

“Just in a very short time, our school became a big school,” says four-year-old Quyen. “I really like to go to school and play toys with my friends.”

Previously, Quyen had to sit on the concrete floor during her lessons. She had little protection from the wind and cold as the walls of the buffalo shed were low and there were no doors or windows. Now she has a desk and chair, and can enjoy a safe and clean classroom that keeps her warm when it is cold outside and dry when it’s wet and rainy.

“The new big school gives children better conditions to study and develop, as well as helps us to improve the local situation,” says Mr Tung, head of the district’s education department.

ChildFund Australia CEO Nigel Spence says: “To all of our Vietnam trekkers and everyone who donated to their fundraising initiatives, I cannot thank you enough for your support of the Go Thau community, especially the toddlers who are already benefiting from this fantastic new preschool. I am so impressed with the quality of the school and so pleased to hear that the children are enjoying the new facilities.

“Early childhood education is one of the most important factors in a child’s development and a crucial part of ChildFund’s work. Studies show children who attend preschool are better prepared for school and more likely to stay in school.”

See the before and after photos of Go Thau preschool here.

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