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Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

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Quynh is a 13-year-old girl from the Dao ethnic minority group in Vietnam. With her parents and a younger sister, she lives in Ngan Son, a mountainous district of Bac Kan Province.

Due to the hilly terrain, rice is often planted on terraced paddy fields, and most families here are reliant on agricultural activities to generate household incomes.

Quynh’s parents are no exception. With just 700 square metres of land, they plant rice for food, and grow seasonal tobacco crops for income. When not working on their own fields, they generate additional earnings by working for their neighbours, or by undertaking construction work.

In a place where hills and mountains are predominant, it is not only difficult to develop sustainable livelihoods, but can be difficult to access education.

Quynh’s school is located about 5km from her house, but the steep paths along the hills and through the woods can make her daily journey to school seem much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Diep lives in a village in northern Vietnam. When she began school more than a decade ago, teachers relied on textbooks for sharing knowledge.

There were no computers in the classroom or ways to access the internet. Living in an isolated rural area, children like Diep rarely had the opportunity to travel to other areas of the country, let alone the opportunity to connect with the world outside Vietnam.

Ten years later, and life for Diep and other young people in her neighbourhood is very different, with ChildFund Vietnam now implementing a range of child-focused initiatives in her community.

ChildFund’s projects focus on child rights and child protection, education, health, and wellbeing for children. ChildFund Vietnam also prioritises building the resilience of young people, by giving them the opportunity to take part in sports, life skills learning, and supporting their participation in local decision-making processes.

Today, not only has Diep been given the opportunity to take part in organised sport for the first time, she has a new role as a Pass It Back rugby coach and can be found blowing her referee’s whistle while her all-girl team practise their skills on a local field.