Under the multi-year school construction program funded by the Nippon Foundation and the Asia Education and Friendship Association (AEFA - Japan) that began last year, HealthEd has completed four new elementary schools for children in remote mountainous districts in Quang Nam, Phu Tho, Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh Provinces of Vietnam. HealthEd is working with the Central Government agency (the People's Aid Coordinating Committee -- PACCOM) and local education departments to implement this important program.
Each school has either four or six classrooms, a teacher's room and sanitary facilities, and can accommodate 50 to 100 children. A majority of the children are from the ethnic minorities of Bru Van Kieu, Ruc, H'mong, Muong and Dao. In the past, many of these children had to walk several hours to attend school. Completed in February, the new four-room school in Thuong Hoa Village -- near the Laos border in Quang Binh Province -- will provide much-needed education to more than 100 children mostly from the Ruc tribal community.
HealthEd and AEFA worked with local authorities and PACCOM, a government agency coordinating international NGO programs in Vietnam, to set up a consortium of volunteers from Japan, as well as from the local community, teachers and parents, to support this special program. The local community contributed labor and materials for the construction of these schools.
During this current school year (2006-2007), the project plans to build eight more schools in several rural provinces including Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Quang Nam, Lang Son, Tuyen Quang, Thanh Hoa and Thua Thien.
HealthEd and AEFA also set up an exchange program between these new schools and schools in Japan to encourage communication and promote cultural exchange and support among teachers and students of schools in both countries.