2007 Systemic Change Award - Vietnam
Brief History of the Project:
Father Marie Augustin Nguyen Huu Gia, Superior of the house of Kadeune, and the confreres of his Vincentian community work in collaboration with two communities of Daughters of Charity in the area in the service of the poorest of their mission. These are the mountain people, ethnic minorities of the Don-duong District, Province Lam-Dong, Vietnam.
These mountain people are extremely poor; many are illiterate and not very civilized. The population is about 25,000 inhabitants, of which 6,000 children and young people between the ages of 10 and 20 attend the elementary and secondary schools sponsored by the State. The educational level and the quality of education leave much to be desired: 30% of the students quit their studies in the middle; very few reach the final year of secondary school and most fail the university entrance exam.
The reasons for these scholastic failures are: The mountain students do not assimilate courses given in the Vietnamese language, because they speak another language. In addition, they do not have the means, nor the possibility of studying at home, because work in the fields and keeping watch over the cattle takes up all their time.
Project: To help and promote, as far as possible, the scholastic success of the children by the following means:
- paying the school expenses for the poorest, thanks to benefactors
- constructing a hostel in order to permit these children to do their homework, study and review their lessons. It will allow those who are 15 km away or who have transportation difficulties to spend the night there. Developing a scholastic library.
- finding teaching coaches to help the students who are weak in Vietnamese, mathematics, and modern languages.
- in the future, opening an apprenticeship center for trades: carpentry, masonry, sewing, information technology, etc.
Purpose of the project:
- To raise the standard of living of these ethnic minorities
- To allow the mountain children to be schooled until the final year of secondary school, if possible
- To give them a place to study and do their homework after class
- To do remedial schooling
- Human formation. Catechism classes, formation of catechists
This hostel could be, in the future, a breeding-ground of Vincentian vocations and a formation center for catechists.
Favorable conditions for carrying out this project:
We have a team of collaborators, land for constructing and the sum of 80 000 000 Vietnamese piastres (around 5,000 USD). Each of these projects concentrates on the most abandoned, empowering them to face the reality of their times. Each is clearly in line with the thought and charism of our beloved founder, Saint Vincent, who continues to challenge us when he says:
- The Little Company of the Mission dedicates itself to serve the poor, who are God’s “chosen ones.” Because of this love for the poor, we have reason to hope that God will love us. Therefore, let us go forth and work with renewed love in service of the poor. Let us seek out the poorest and most abandoned. Let us realize that the poor are our lords and masters and that we are unworthy to render them our small services (SV XI, 392-393).