The greatest reward

Last night was long. We spent it in the train going 400 kilometres from Hanoi to Lao Cai province, where some of Save the Children project schools are located. Lao Cai city met us with fog and tempting invitations to the Sapa resort. But our route was a different one.

We drove to the Bao Yen district. Breathtaking pits and no-less breathtaking views of real jungles accompanied us for the whole three-hour trip.

Vietnamese jungles can make any heart beating
Vietnamese jungles can make any heart beat faster

We arrived at the Kim Son 1 primary school and got really confused. All the residents of the nine nearby villages came to greet us. From the newly born to the quite senior, wearing colourful traditional clothes, they were a little shy but still curious and eager to communicate with us.

Shy, but curious pupils and inhabitants of nearby villages met the delegation from IKEA and Save the Children
Shy but curious pupils and residents of nearby villages met the delegation from IKEA and Save the Children

The school’s principal briefly told us about the school and the results they have achieved so far in the project. This is a primary school for 300 pupils, belonging to eight different minority groups. They study here from the first to the fifth grade. Twenty-two teachers work in this school, and all of them now use special methods of bilingual teaching.

With the project going on, more and more parents understand the value of education, keep an eye on their kids’ progress and start to participate in different school activities. The school has become a sort of cultural centre where people come to communicate with each other, watch their children’s performances, draw with them and teach them different types of handicraft.

Village women show their skills in making baskets.
Village women show their skills in making baskets.

It was a real pleasure for all members of our group to meet the children in this school. They sang songs for us, danced, participated in sporting contests. They were really open and smiled all the time. They all looked so cute and so nice. From time to time we cried a bit, but still we could not stop smiling. It was the greatest possible reward for the hard work we do in IKEA stores while preparing for and running the Soft Toys for Education campaign.

Ready for the class, ready for the better future
Ready for class, ready for a better future

After an abundant and quite exotic lunch with extremely hospitable hosts, we went to see one smaller satellite school. Here, children also show good progress in their education and start making plans for the future.

Phuong has already started speaking Vietnamese which was a second language for her. Now she dreams to become a teacher.
Phuong has already started speaking Vietnamese, which was a second language for her. Now she dreams of becoming a teacher.