As cases of COVID-19 increase in Vietnam, Aide et Action is responding through education – bringing soap and dry sanitiser to remote and rural areas and teaching children and communities how to use them effectively. Now, more than ever before, is the time to work together to prevent the spread of the virus, in line with Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s call for unity, solidarity and cooperation.
New project launched
On Friday, 27 March 2020, Aide et Action, supported with funding from Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF) brought soap and sanitiser to children in Cao Son commune, Hoa Binh province. In advance of the distribution of these essential supplies, we worked closely with the local teachers, commune leaders, village leaders, and other community members to ensure the safety of beneficiaries was put first.
The supplies were distributed to small groups in villages with each beneficiary asked not to stand too close to each other, in order to adhere to social distancing best practices. To avoid close contact, all participants were also required to wear masks and wash their hands with alcohol gel at distribution centres.
Friday’s project launch saw 750 bars of soap distributed to 750 children (331 preschool children and 419 primary school children). Additionally, 55 bottles of dry hand sanitisers are being delivered to preschool and primary school units of Cao Son commune this week.
Education on prevention
In the communities, our field staff are not only giving children soap but teaching them how to use it, following WHO guidelines on hand-washing and social distancing. Leaflets with guidelines were distributed along with the soap to ensure access to quality information. During this critical time, we believe that quality education has the potential to save lives and change the world.
Through utilising our existing relationships with local authorities, schools and community members, we have been able to respond quickly to the crisis to bring essential supplies to areas in need. Thanks to partnerships with organisations such as TFCF, we are demonstrating that solidarity is key and we must all work together and pool our resources to offer effective solutions in minimising the spread of COVID-19.
The future of learning
As all schools country-wide remain closed until further notice, we are in regular contact with school managements to support them in providing guidance to children and families to promote learning at home. The Vietnamese government recently introduced a distance learning by TV initiative in all provinces with lessons available for grade 9 and 12 on specific TV channels. However, in some of the areas where Aide et Action is working, not all families have TVs or access to the specific channels. Therefore, teachers are sharing lesson plans with children and regularly checking in through phone calls and social networks.
According to UNESCO, the number of students affected by school and university closures in 138 countries has reached 1.37 billion, representing more than 3 out of 4 children and youth worldwide. In addition, nearly 60.2 million teachers are no longer in the classroom. While the emergency measures are impacting education and livelihoods, we believe that the groundwork we have done over the years with students, teachers, and caregivers will benefit impacted communities. In addition to our immediate action, we are also developing projects to help children return to education, post-pandemic.