A day full of hope, happiness and humanity

It’s Friday morning and the last day of our IWitness trip. The air felt a little bit more comfortable this morning but probably because we have gotten more used to the heat. We started the trip at 6.30 a.m. and had a two hours’ ride in front of us. The rush hour traffic with all the scooters was already in full effect.

This morning we headed to Cu Chi district, and our first visit was to Nguyen Van Lich Primary School.

The lovely vice president of the school, Duong Thi Nhung, welcomed us with “dear friends from far away”. She informed us that a year ago they moved to the new school building. The school has 27 teachers and 663 students, 25% of whom are migrant children.

The children were waiting for us in the schoolyard. They beautifully sang a song translated as “The world is ours”. For the students and teachers, it is very important to take care and protect the new school by teamwork, taking care of each other, giving more love to everyone and creating a friendly atmosphere that is relaxed and promotes fun. To symbolise this, together with the students and teachers, we painted a tree with leaves made of our fingerprints, promising to take care of the environment.

“The world is ours” (Photo by Anna-Lena Aagesson)
“The world is ours” (Photo by Anna-Lena Aagesson)

It was so nice to see the teachers really meeting the students on their level, in a natural way. There was a lot of singing that we could participate in during our visit. Three different stations where organised, where the children could make paintings, play different schoolyard games and make different things from recycled materials, with sustainability in mind.

Children playing in the schoolyard. (Photo by Anna-Lena Aagesson)
Children playing in the schoolyard. (Photo by Anna-Lena Aagesson)

Music makes life more beautiful

This was on the sign we saw when we entered the second school on our visit to Cu Chi, in Tan An Hoi Secondary School. This is a school built in 2011, with 662 students split into 14 classes. Nguyen Van Hoang, the head principal of the school, proudly told us that the school was recognised last year as the national standard in structure and quality. He was eager to show us how the child-protection project had been implemented in their environment, enabling good relationships child to child, child to teacher, and teacher to parent and child. They work constantly with children’s rights, have urgent support for children who drop out of school, and have continuing education for teachers to work for a positive and friendly school.

Getting a chance to play together (photo Anna-Lena Aagesson)
Getting a chance to play together (photo Anna-Lena Aagesson)

As the sign showed, music seemed to be something they had adopted in the school. They performed a play, had a quiz about child rights and sang songs for us. There where so many happy faces, and it really felt that they are secure in every child’s right in the society and where to turn if they need help or support. This gave me such a warm feeling.

I am so happy that the IKEA Foundation, Soft Toys for Education campaign and Save the Children can make such a difference for the children. In the end, they wanted us to sing a song from Sweden, so we ended up by singing a Lucia song, “Natten går tunga fjät”.