Aide et Action is working in isolated areas of Vietnam, delivering early childhood care and education (ECCE) projects to vulnerable groups to promote access to quality education to those who need it most.
In a remote village in Vietnam’s north west province of Lai Chau, twenty-four-year-old Lu Tai May, tells us that she’s so happy to know that there’s an organization out there that not only cares about her village but is visiting regularly to teach her community new things. Like the majority of inhabitants in this area of Vietnam, Lu is of Mong ethnicity, one of Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups.
A mother of two, Lu joined Aide et Action’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) project one year ago. Her reasons for joining, she explains, were “to become a better parent and learn about nutrition and food safety”. Lu attends monthly classes that are teaching the community a variety of lessons on parenting, nutrition and other topics relating to building and maintaining a safe and clean environment at home.
Simple lessons are making all the difference
During the last year, Lu says the top three things she learned were: how to take better care of her children; food safety; and how to use a wardrobe. Sometimes it’s the seemingly simple things, like how to build and use a wardrobe, that can major difference in everyday life. Before the project, Lu used to keep clothes on the floor and they would get dusty and dirty, especially as she also kept livestock at home. Now, she keeps her clothes in a wardrobe, where they stay clean and have led her to feel better about herself.
She has also moved her livestock outside and into enclosed pens so they no longer wander through her home which has led her to create a cleaner and safer environment for her children. Lu is not the only one in her family who has enjoyed learning new lessons. Her husband has also been attending the monthly classes and is not only taking better care of their children but has also become a better husband according to Lu. One of the topics covered in the classes is gender equality and encouraging men to play more active roles as parents in sharing the workload at home.
Dreaming of the future
Lu studied to grade 9 and today, hopes her children will take their education further and at least finish grade 12. “My dreams in life are for my children to study well and be successful in their lives,” she says. “I also wish that my husband and I will be happy together forever” she adds, smiling.
“The kids love going to school every day. If I don’t take them, they cry.”
Lu’s children, aged six and four years old are enrolled in primary school and pre-school respectively. Pre-school is a relatively new concept in her village and Aide et Action has been working to train teachers and build awareness among the community about the importance of early childhood care and education.
“The kids love going to school every day. If I don’t take them, they cry,” Lu says. Both Lu and her husband regularly visit the primary school and pre-school to check on the kids and make sure they’re behaving for their teachers. Lu hopes that the quality of teaching will continue to improve in her village and that our project will continue to teach parents new and important lessons. “I want to learn more” she exclaims.
Speaking of her own personal goals, Lu aspires to become a professional tailor. But first, she needs to enroll in a vocational training course, something she says she will do in the future when the children are older. While she is proud of the skills her grandmother and mother taught her, she would like to build on her knowledge and set up a small business from her home, making traditional Mong clothing. She wishes to be able to provide more for her children and ensure they receive a quality education.