“When I grow up, I want to move to Ho Chi Minh City and study at the university.” That’s what Quoc Huy, a student at Phouc Thanh Secondary School, told us when we asked him what he wants to be when he grows up. He was really confident and wanted to practise his English by talking to us, so he guided us around the school area.
Phouc Thanh Secondary School is more in the countryside, where the nature is greener and I felt that the pace is calmer. Of all the 16 schools that Save the Children Vietnam works with on children’s rights and protection, this is the poorest. In the morning we visited a very rundown school building. The ceiling had holes in it and the paint was peeling off the walls. The school had difficulties with the standards of physical environment because of money. So the first impression was rough, but when we met the children, it melted my heart. All the smiling faces and waves… they looked so happy!
The teachers were young for Vietnamese standards, on average 35 years old. It looked to me like they had a really good relationship with their students. They had fun together! It was a relaxed feeling in this atmosphere.
Save the Children had organised a competition for all the students called “ring the bell” that’s all about children’s rights and protection. And in the middle of the competition, we were asked to be in a game. Our task was to help the children who got eliminated get back into the competition.
To do that, we had to compete against the teachers. The children gathered around
us and started cheering. There was so much joy in the air! Perhaps this game was symbolic of the help that the children receive from the teachers, Save the Children and the IKEA Foundation?
The students also organised a food fair. They cooked many different foods, everything from spring rolls to desserts with jelly. The food was sold to fund a scholarship for children at risk of dropping out of school and for poor families. It was so beautiful to see the children have so much fun while at the same time helping their friends to stay in school. They showed that together they are committed to conquering poverty.
When we were leaving, we were told by the Save the Children staff that a decision had just been made to rebuild the school within a year! It makes me truly happy for them! During the process of evaluating the grounds for the new school, they found a landmine from the Vietnam War! They have now removed it and soon will be ready to start building a new fresh school! I am so happy for them, and I left that school with a really good feeling.
In the afternoon we went to visit Phuoc Thanh primary school. My first impression was that it was a very relaxed atmosphere. When we arrived, we saw the children playing in the schoolyard. There was a small playground were the children could enjoy swings and slides. They looked so happy!
We also had the opportynity to participate in an English class and see how it really is on an ordinary day. I thought that they had a fun way of learning thorough games. You could see all the children had a great time learning together.
The feeling I had from both of the schools was that the students and teachers had a good relationship with each other. What a good feeling!