Our next group of IWitnesses is travelling to Vietnam to visit Save the Children projects funded through our Soft Toys for Education campaign. Save the Children Project Manager Nguyen Le Quang is here today to tell us more about the dangers children face in Vietnam and how Save the Children is helping them have a better future.
Urbanisation has displaced a significant number of families in Vietnam, leaving vulnerable children to live in even more complicated socioeconomic situations. A large number of these children, especially those from migrating families, face a high risk of being exploited, abused, neglected or violated, and their basic needs—such as food, healthcare and education—are not well met. Children are often exposed to physical and psychological damage in school and at home from corporal punishment, which many adults believe to be an effective educational method.
In response to mounting issues of discrimination, violence, corporal punishment and the lack of high-quality, child-friendly education in public schools in Vietnam, Save the Children started a project in Ho Chi Minh City in 2013 with funding from the IKEA Foundation. The project will run until February 2016.
Run in partnership with the People’s Committee of Go Vap District and Cu Chi District, and Ho Chi Minh City Buddhism Association, the project is delivering training in positive discipline for 250 teachers and in child protection and children’s right for 320 children in 16 schools. Together, these trainings are significantly reducing physical and humiliating punishment in the classroom and leading to higher levels of trust and communication between children, school staff and parents. The trainings, alongside advocacy campaigns and awareness-raising initiatives, have resulted in a better child protection mechanisms. Moreover, 1,264 children (126% of target) received support or services to address violence, abuse and exploitation, and 270 vulnerable children gained great confidence and showed positive change through a series of life-skills trainings.
The project has significantly changed teaching practices, reducing physical and humiliating punishment and providing children at risk of dropping out—such as migrant children—the opportunity to get an education. With support from the IKEA Foundation, the dream to make every school day a happy day for vulnerable Vietnamese children is no longer far from reality.