In Seo village, a small rural village tucked in the lush green fields surrounding Cao Son commune, Da Bac district, Hoa Binh province, primary school student Giang bears many responsibilities beyond her young age.
Although from a farming background, Giang’s family don’t own a lot of land and without enough crops to earn a living, Giang’s mother works far from home in another province as a day labourer while Giang supports her father by taking care of the household chores and her younger sister.
Although Giang and her sister lack their mother’s care at home, they are obedient and study very hard in school. Typically, in Vietnamese schools, all children are obedient and in fact, raising their voices and expressing themselves can be a challenge for students. Up until recently, Giang was used to listening to her teachers talk and express their opinions but she rarely expressed hers. That was until she joined the Hoa Binh Education Club at school organised by Aide et Action and Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF).
“The first time, I was very confused because I didn’t know what to do or what to say about the content of Hoa Binh Education,” explains Giang who struggled to find her voice. Every month, Giang and her friends discuss the topics of children’s rights, preventing school violence, protecting the environment, helping friends, and more. “These were topics I had heard from teachers in my civics classes, but in the club’s activities I was actually able to share my ideas and what to do to create a friendly environment at school,” adds Giang, who after regular attendance, found the confidence to speak up.
The topic that Giang likes the most is environmental protection. Before learning about the topic in the club, Giang thought that protecting the environment referred to litter but she has since learned about the many other ways humans can protect the planet. “It’s about not cutting down trees, about how to save electricity and how to save water,” she says, excitedly.
Giang’s club also plays and paints pictures to promote children’s rights and prevent bullying at school. When asked about what she liked the most about joining the club, Giang summed it up as solidarity. “I’m happy to join the club and to help my classmates who are not good at studying, “ she says. “We learn how to help others, to love our family, and be more polite to people”.
Giang’s teacher, Ms Trinh Thi Thuy has commended Giang for her enthusiasm and commitment. “Although Giang is a quiet student, she is not only a hard-working student but also very enthusiastically participates in the school’s collective activities”, she says. “She has made a remarkable effort and is now more confident in group discussions and guiding her friends”. Giang seems to have a passion for helping others and has her heart set on becoming a doctor when she’s older. “I want to go to university and become a doctor to help the poor, she says.”
Due to the impact of the Covid epidemic, Giang’s club is not held regularly at the moment. Although the club supports the children to run and organise activities, for the moment, due to Covid, it’s been run by their teacher but Giang hopes that she and her friends will organize their activities better in the next school year.