Business Start-up | Heart Surgery | Education | Houses
Infrastructure | Clean Water | Special Projects | Food

Education

December 2016/March 2017

University Scholarships

Thy and Hung, our two current students, came by over Tet holiday to visit us and let us know how they were doing.

Cao Thi Mai Thy
Cao Thi Mai Thy

Cao Thi Mai Thy

Thy has decided to get one more year of teaching experience before going back to school for her Masters degree in English.

She is now teaching level one adults in addition to children and says she enjoys it. She is also taking classes to prepare for an international teaching certification.


Phan Huu Hung
Phan Huu Hung

Phan Huu Hung

Huu Hung, is in is his second year studying tourism at Can Tho University. His GPA for the first semester was 3.59, bringing his overall GPA up to 3.49.


In mid-February, after the Tet celebration had slowed down, the vice principal of our local high school brought over two grade 12 students, a boy and a girl, along with their moms and school records. He was recommending them for university scholarships, and we agreed to both. The girl, Nguyen Thi Phuong Linh, will be a star. She is a top of the class student with a clear goal. She wants to study food processing. This is an expanding industry and there are good job prospects in this field. The boy, Nguyen Van Nghia, is a bit of a risk, but we agreed because of his good high school record and extremely difficult family circumstances. He is an above average student who wants to study automotive technology. We were clear that our commitment is for one year at a time and they must maintain GPA of 8.0 out of 10 for us to continue. Subject to passing university entrance exams, they will start school in fall 2017.

Nguyen Thi Phuong Linh and her mom
Nguyen Thi Phuong Linh and her mom
Nguyen Van Nghia and his mom
Nguyen Van Nghia and his mom

Exercise Books

Video | Distributing the exercise books

As usual, exercise books were the top request from school principals, and the kids are always happy to get them. They use them every day in school and for homework as well. The little kids use them to practice writing, and the older kids use them for lesson notes.

This year we bought 13,820 exercise books and distributed them in sets of 10 to 1382 students in 16 schools. One of the most enjoyable parts of our work is going to each school and handing them to each student, one at a time, especially to the youngest ones.

Some of this year's kids

Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids
Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids
Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids
Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids
Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids
Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids Some of this year's kids

December 2015/March 2016

University Scholarships

We have had excellent results with this program. In 2015 three of our students graduated and have found work. They showed up over the Tet holiday to bring us up to date.

Phan Huu Hung

Huu Hung, our newest scholarship recipient, has completed his first year at Can Tho University. He is studying to be a tourist guide. His GPA for the first semester was 3.19, for the second semester it was 3.5.

Hung, Phuong, and Thy
Hung, Phuong, and Thy

Cao Thi Mai Thy

It has been a pleasure to watch Thy change from a nervous teenager when we first met her to a confident young woman who has made the most of her four years of university. Here are her major accomplishments. She speaks English fluently She passed the C1 exam on her first try. The C1 exam is a requirement for teaching English and has only a 10% pass rate.

She has a job at an English language center in Can Tho, teaching English and doing office work, and earns enough to support herself and help her grandmother.

She has clearly thought out plans for the future. In Fall of 2017 she will start a two year Masters program. Because much of this program involves teaching methodology, she wants to have a year teaching experience before going back to school. The entrance exam has four parts – English, French, teaching methodology and linguistics. And, the two languages each have four parts – speaking, listening, reading and writing. When she starts school she will stop the office work part of her job (regular daytime hours) and continue teaching English (flexible hours). The sponsor for Thy’s undergraduate education has offered to continue to support her for the Masters degree. Stay tuned for updates next year.

Nguyen Thi Kim Hang

Hang brings Phuong up to date
Hang now has a Bachelor of Arts degree in nursing. She found work shortly after graduating and has a job at the Ben Tre Provincial Hospital. Her first assignment is working in the surgery recovery room. She is very happy to have this work and is looking forward to a full career in nursing and being able to help support her mom.


Nguyen Thi Hoai An

Hoai An has found work as a receptionist at a restaurant in Saigon. It is a good paying job and she is able to support herself and to help her mom. She still would prefer to work for government, and has applied for jobs at the local district government and the Ben Tre provincial government.

Exercise Books

Video | Distributing the exercise books

As usual, exercise books were the top request from school principals, and the kids are always happy to get them. They use them every day in school and for homework as well. The little kids use them to practice writing, and the older kids use them for lesson notes.

We get lists of students whose families are officially classified as poor (income under $19/month/family member) and prepare gift wrapped sets of 10 exercise books and hand them to each student individually at a ceremony at each school. This year we bought 11,800 exercise books and distributed them to 1180 students in 15 schools.

Our average cost for a set of ten for one student was $2.05, a bit less than last year.


School Clothes

We bought sets of school clothes, blue pants and a white shirt or blouse, for 90 students in three elementary schools. The kids are always really happy to get new clothes. Our cost: $6.68 per set.

More of this year's kids

more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids
more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids
more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids
more of this year's kids more of this year's kids more of this year's kids  

November 2014/February 2015

University Scholarships

We now have four students under full university scholarship, and one lined up to start in Fall, 2015.  Three of the four will graduate this year.  All of them showed up over the Tet holidays to give us progress reports and to let us know how things were going for them.

Phan Huu Hung at home with his mom.
Phan Huu Hung at home with his mom.

First, a little about our new student for next year, Phan Huu Hung, a 17 year old high school senior.  Hung was introduced to us by Co Lan, one of our most reliable referral sources. She was his grade 1 teacher, and has kept track of him and been his mentor since then. He has been an excellent student every year. His mom is 45 years old; her husband died when she was seven months pregnant. She earns about $3.00/day doing yard and garden work in the neighborhood.  Their house is similar to the ones we build, but not as nice - dirt floor, sparsely furnished.  The only thing in the main room other than some very basic furniture was a big stack of books. He is planning to study law, with the intention of "helping to protect the rights of the people." It’s just Hung and his mom and life is a struggle.  This scholarship will enable Hung to give his mom a much better life.


Cao Thi Mai Thy

Kim Chi, Hoai An, Hang and Thy
Kim Chi, Hoai An, Hang and Thy

Thy is in her fourth year of studying to be an English teacher.  When she came by to visit we talked for almost an hour, all in English. She is doing well. Her GPA for the last semester was 3.53/4. She will spend part of next semester, her last, practice teaching at a high school. The assignment includes preparing a curriculum and lesson plans. One of her graduation requirements is to attain a B level in a second language, and she has done so in French. She said that she found French difficult and during the oral exam she sometimes used an English word instead of the French word.

A requirement for getting a teaching job is to pass the C1 exam. It includes multiple choice questions, short answer questions, essay questions and oral exam which includes debate with the professor. She is very nervous about this as the pass rate is only 10%. If she does not pass, she will look for tutoring jobs and study for re-exam.

Update:  We have just heard that Thy has obtained a job teaching English at a private English Language Center.  Her goal is still to teach English at a high school in Can Tho.  We’re waiting for the results of the C1 exam.  Stay tuned.

Nguyen Thi Kim Hang

Hang, now in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, is doing well. She spends mornings getting practical experience in Can Tho General Hospital and afternoons in classroom.  She plans to apply for work at the hospital where she is training and feels confident she will get a job. The first year she will get salary of about $130/month working up to about $235 after four years and about $470 after eight years. It's a public hospital and the government sets the salary scale. This is excellent work here and Hang is very happy to have the opportunity to apply for it.

Nguyen Thi Hoai An

Hoai An is in her last year of studying for a sociology degree.  Her goal is still the same – a job in government so she can help support her mom, who is a widow and has difficulty making ends meet.  Hoai An has applied for work with the local district  government and with the Ben Tre provincial government.

Le Thi Kim Chi

Kim Chi is in her second year of studying hotel management.  She was a top student throughout high school but got off to a slow start in university.   After her first semester we charged her with increasing her grade point level to 8.0/10.  She didn’t quite make it, getting up to a 7.8/10, but she had significant improvement so we committed to another year.


Exercise Books

As usual, exercise books were the top request from school principals, and the kids are always happy to get them.  They use them every day in school and for homework as well.  The little kids use them to practice writing, and the older kids use them for lesson notes.

We get lists of students whose families are officially classified as poor (income under $19/month/family member) and prepare gift wrapped sets of 10 exercise books and hand them to each student individually at a ceremony at each school. 

This year we bought 15,360 exercise books and distributed them to 309 students in four junior high schools and 1,127 students in 14 elementary schools.  1,000 went to the nun who runs the orphanage at Phat Minh Pagoda.   She will distribute them to the kids as they need them.

The books for the elementary school students have more lines (to help with writing practice) than those for the secondary students, and cost a bit more.  Our average cost for a set of ten for one student was $2.18.

exercise books Exercise books Exercise books Exercise books

School Clothes

We only had a request from two schools this year and bought sets of school clothes, blue pants and a white shirt or blouse, for 30 students.  Our cost: $6.08 per set.








More of this year's kids

More of this year's kids More of this year's kids More of this year's kids
More of this year's kids More of this year's kids More of this year's kids
More of this year's kids More of this year's kids More of this year's kids
More of this year's kids More of this year's kids More of this year's kids
More of this year's kids More of this year's kids More of this year's kids

November 2013/February 2014

University Scholarships

We now have four students under full scholarship and one that we are helping with money for food. A $1000 per year scholarship pays most of the expenses for school fees, books, school supplies, room rental and food. We have individual sponsors for three of the kids and we pay for a fourth from our general funds. Most of the kids came by to visit us over the Tet holiday and let us know how they are doing. Here are the updates.

Nguyen Minh Tu

Minh Tu is in his third year studying accounting. We had a most interesting and inspiring meeting with him this year. Our first get-together was the usual – catching up with how he had been doing since we last saw him and getting a list of classes and grades. He has a part time job at a small company that designs and makes shirts/jackets/uniforms for groups and businesses. He takes orders and does the books, and plans to continue working there after he graduates. His GPA has increased to 7.8/10.

He called us back the next day to say he would like to meet again. When we got together he said he had been thinking a lot about the help he has received from us, told us how much it meant to him, and then he really surprised us. He said that he was now making enough income to pay his own expenses and he would like the scholarship money to go to someone who needed it more than he did. We explained that we did not have another recipient lined up, but he still declined the money. We plan to get together with him next year to see how he is doing.

Mai Thy, Board member Phuong and Minh Tu
Mai Thy, Board member Phuong and Minh Tu

Cao Thi Mai Thy

Thy is in her third year of studying to be an English teacher. She is a serious student and has increased her GPA to 3.85/4 (Can Tho University uses the American grading system). Her English has improved markedly over the last year. Her pronunciation is excellent and she is confident in conversation. After she graduates she plans to look for work as a high school English teacher in Can Tho, the Mekong Delta’s biggest city, where she now goes to school. She thinks there will be better opportunity there than in the countryside. She has work as an English tutor for a grade six student and earns $38 a month.


Kim Hang
Kim Hang





Nguyen Thi Kim Hang

Hang is now in year three of a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She is taking a heavy class load and her GPA is 7.59/10. She studies in classroom in the afternoons and at Can Tho General Hospital in the mornings. After graduating she would like to get work at this hospital.


Hoai An with her mom
Hoai An with her mom





Nguyen Thi Hoai An

Hoai An has had a difficult year, with her GPA dropping to 6.88/10. She still has the goal of working in local government so she can help her mom. We advised her that there is much competition for these jobs and she promised to work harder in school.

Vo Thi Kim Ngan

Ngan did not come home for the Tet holiday and we did not have the opportunity to meet with her this year.

Thuy An

An’s family has barely been able to raise enough money to keep her in school. When she was referred to us three years ago she was only eating one meal a day. We gave her $237 (five million Vietnam Dong), to be distributed monthly by one of our local volunteers, to help with food.


Exercise books

Getting new exercise books
Getting new exercise books
Doing homework
Doing homework

Exercise books are always the top request from school principals, who provide lists of students for us based on need. The kids use them for school and home work, usually one per subject. This year we purchased a different type than we have in the past, and reduced our cost by 25% for the ones the elementary school students use (now 21 cents each) and 30% for the ones the level 2 and level 3 kids use (now 17 cents each).

We bought 5,610. The first 500 were given to a nun – Su Co Ngo Mai - who runs an orphanage at a pagoda, and she distributed them to the kids. The rest were gift wrapped in sets of 10 and given to 511 students – 240 at four elementary schools, 219 at three junior high schools, and 52 at one high school.


November 2012/February 2013

University Scholarships

We have added one student this year and now have five students under full scholarship and one that we are helping with money for food. A $1000 per year scholarship pays for school fees, books, school supplies, room rental and food. We met with our new recipient and our four continuing recipients over the Tet holidays. Here are the updates.

Minh Tu
Minh Tu

Nguyen Minh Tu

Minh Tu is our newest recipient. He is in his second year studying accounting with a special interest in auditing. His grades at the end of his first year were a low 6.5 out of 10. He says that this is because he had to work so much last year to pay his school expenses that he was not able to spend enough time on his studies. He said that he so much appreciates our help because now he is able to concentrate on school. He is a very confidant young man, and answers questions directly and with a smile.


Kim Ngan
Kim Ngan

Vo Thi Kim Ngan

Ngan, now 21, is in her third year studying sociology, with the goal of getting a job in local government – the town Peoples Committee. Her grade average last year was 7.55/10. She has the same part time job as last year, putting labels on wine bottles. Work is available when the company has product, and when they do she works one or two days a week with income of just under $5.00 per day. She is a friendly and outgoing young woman who sends thanks and wishes for good health and prosperity in the new year to her sponsor and to Vietnam Project.


Mai Thy
Mai Thy

Cao Thi Mai Thy

Thy is in her second year of studying to be an English teacher. Her English is much improved from last year and she now has a job tutoring a twelve year old girl in English three times a week, and is paid $24 per month. She is an excellent student and is devoted to her studies. Phuong asked her if she has a boyfriend yet and she said no, studies first, boyfriend later. Can Tho University uses the American grading system and her grade average is 3.5 out of 4. She was much more relaxed with us than when we first met last year, very outgoing and her nose wrinkles when she smiles.


Kim Hang chats with Board member Phuong
Kim Hang chats with Board member Phuong

Nguyen Thi Kim Hang

Hang is now in year two of a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She reports that she is an average student with a grade average of 8.2 out of 10. She expects to start some hospital training in addition to her classwork in March. She says that she is so happy to be in university. She never thought she would be able to attend university because of money, but Mr.Hao, the high school principal who introduced her to us, encouraged her to continue to study. She sends thanks to her sponsor and to Vietnam Project.


Hoai An and her mom drop by to give us an update
Hoai An and her mom drop by to give us an update

Nguyen Thi Hoai An

Hoai An and her mom came over to our house to meet us, and like last year she was quite reserved. She still seems a little nervous around us. It was clear from her mom's expression during the chat that her mom is very proud of her and so happy to have her daughter in university. Hoai An is an average student, with a grade average of 7.47 out of 10. She said that she originally started the sociology program because her uncle recommended it, and that now that she is a year and a half into it she really likes the subject. Her goal is still to get a job in local government, so that she can help her mom and help her society. It is a common theme here. Many thanks and wishes of good health from Hoai An and her mom to her sponsor and to Vietnam Project.


Kim Thuy An
Thuy An

Thuy An

An’s family has barely been able to raise enough money to keep her in school. When she was referred to us last year she was only eating one meal a day. We gave her $240 (five million Vietnam Dong), to be distributed monthly by one of our local volunteers, to help with food.


Exercise books

New books
New books

Exercise books are always the top request from school principals and teachers. Each book has 96 pages lined with grids and the kids use them for class work as well as home work. We bought 7,930 and distributed them in gift wrapped sets of 10 to 793 students in seven elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school.

Our cost: $2.69 per student

The high school is one of two high schools in Phuoc My Trung, the main town in Mo Cay Bac district, and is attended by students throughout the district.. The students in this school are all in danger of dropping out, sometimes because they can’t afford school, sometimes because they just aren’t interested. They are referred by the regular high school and in addition to class work they get regular counseling and encouragement about how finishing high school will help them and their families and how they can become productive members of their society. We helped six of the neediest, very poor and wanting to stay in school, with gifts of $9.60 (200,000 Vietnam Dong).

Checking out the new bikes
Checking out the new bikes

Bicycles

Close questioning of principals at several schools about how we could help revealed that there were some students whose distance from school interfered with their studies. We found that we could buy used bicycles in good condition at reasonable price and bought bicycles for eleven of them.

Our cost: $29 per bicycle


School clothes

Checking out the new clothes
Checking out the new clothes

Kids from poor families often have only one set of school clothes – dark blue pants, white top. Some don’t have any and wear regular clothes to school, and a set of school clothes is much appreciated by students and parents. We bought school clothes for 202 kids in three elementary schools.

Our cost: $4.80 per student


Tutoring

Grade 12 students often like to get some tutoring to prepare for college entrance exams. Children from poor families can’t afford it and are at a disadvantage. We paid for tutoring in four subjects for seven months for two students, one boy and one girl, recommended by the high school principal. High school girls wear the ao dai, the traditional long dress. Cam Tien’s was a little raggedy so we had a new one made for her ($24).

Our cost: $293

This year's kids

 

December 2011/February 2012

University Scholarships

Thanks to the generous additional contributions of four of our contributors, we have provided full university scholarships to four students who would not be able to go to school without our help. These scholarships will make it possible for each of these students to find work that can help get an entire family out of poverty. Here’s some information about each of them.

Kim Ngan
Kim Ngan

Vo Thi Kim Ngan

Ngan, 20 years old, is in her second year of university. Last year she was able to get enough money together to start university. She completed the year, but was unable to make full payment and would not have been allowed back this year without our scholarship. We first met Ngan in 2006 when she was 14 years old when we helped her grandmother with some building supplies to improve their house. For more of her story click Project Reports, then Special Projects. Scroll down to 2006 and see the paragraph about Vo Thi Phuong, who is Ngan’s grandmother. Ngan is studying sociology at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, part of the Vietnam National University, and her wish after graduation is to get a job with local government – the town Peoples Committee – and to help her grandmother. Ngan has a part time job, 10 to 14 days a month as needed, putting labels on wine bottles, for which she gets a little less than $4 a day.


Phuong gives Mai Thy a new computer
Phuong gives Mai Thy a new computer.


Cao Thi Mai Thy

Thy was referred to us by Miss Lan, a retired elementary school teacher and one of our regular volunteer helpers. Lan has been helping and encouraging Thy since Thy was in second grade. Because Thy is from a very poor family she probably would have dropped out of school without Lan’s constant encouragement and help. Thy’s mom left her in the care of her grandmother, who has raised her. She is attending the School of Education at Can Tho University in Can Tho, the Mekong Delta’s biggest city, and plans to return to her home town and become an English Teacher. With an extra contribution from Thy’s sponsor, we bought her a computer.


Kim Hang on the path to her house
Kim Hang on the path to her house.


Nguyen Thi Kim Hang

Hang was referred to us by the high school principal, and is from another family that we have helped before. We first met her at the high school at a celebration for the four scholarship recipients, and then went to her house to check out her living conditions. It turns out that we built the house for her family In 2008. Hang is enrolled in a four year program at the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy to get a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Next year she will begin training in hospital as well as taking classes at school.


Hoai An at home
Hoai An at home


Nguyen Thi Hoai An

An was also referred to us by the high school principal. Her dad is deceased and her mom supports the family by doing housework. She is studying sociology at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, a member university of the Vietnam National University. Her goal after graduation is to get a job in local government – the town Peoples Committee – and she expressed an interest in the legal affairs department.


Thuy An

An was referred to us by Miss Hong, our bookseller and helper. She is in her second year of university studying to be an accountant. Her family was able to raise enough money to get her into university, but not enough for food, and An has been eating one meal a day. We gave her $238 (five million Vietnam dong) to help her buy food for the rest of the school year.

Our cost for a full university scholarship for one year including school fees, books, school supplies, room rental and food: $1000.

Exercise books

Girl talk
Girl talk
New books
New books

Exercise books are always the top request from school principals and teachers. Each book has 96 pages lined with grids and the kids use one for each subject. The books for elementary school students have more grid lines than the ones for middle and high school to help the kids learn to write. We gave sets of 10 exercise books to 1,351 students in13 schools in 11 towns – nine elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school. The students are recommended by the teachers and principals, and our bookseller gift wraps each set at no cost to us.

All the recipients are poor, but we know that many of them can afford to buy these exercise books. Getting them from us not only frees up a little money for other essentials, but we have found that the families are more likely to keep their kids – especially the girls - in school because of the encouragement they feel from our interest and help.

Our cost: $3,654, about $2.70 per student.


November 2010/February 2011

Scholarships

We've fired up our scholarship program again. Eight grade 12 students who are living in very difficult circumstances were introduced to us by school social workers. Our recent appeal for sponsors for university scholarships for one of these students was met with heartwarming results, and it looks like we will be able to send several of them to university this fall. In the meanwhile, we are giving each of them about $10 a month from January to June to help them get through their last year of high school, and we bought a bicycle for one of them who was walking a long distance to school. Miss Hong, our bookseller, shared the cost of the bicycle with us.

Educational assistance 2011
Happy with new books

Educational assistance 2011
These kids are too cute

Phuong met each of these students and we received detailed information about them from the school principal. Here are the principal's comments about three of them.

For each of these kids that we can send to university, we can bring an entire family out of poverty.

Exercise books

Exercise books are always the number one request from school principals. Each book has 96 lined pages and the kids use one for each subject. We gave sets of 10 exercise books to 1,793 students in 21 schools in 11 towns. The students are recommended by the teachers and principals, and our bookseller gift wraps each set at no cost to us. It's always fun to hand these to the kids, especially the little ones.

Our cost: $3,816, about $2.13 per student

School clothes

We've taken a new approach to school clothes. Instead of getting lists from the schools, Phuong and our three regular helpers look at how the kids are dressed when we give them exercise books and pick the kids that need clothes the most. We gave a set of school clothes – white shirt or blouse, dark blue pants – to 312 students.

Our cost: $1,172, about $3.75 per student


November/December 2009

Student

Exercise books were again the top request from school principals. The exercise books are used for daily classroom work and for homework. 

We bought 11,565 exercise books at about 19 cents each and distributed them to 1,259 students in thirteen schools in six towns – nine elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school.

As usual, each student was personally handed a gift wrapped set of books by us or one of our helpers.

Our total cost: $2,174






January/February 2009

Exercise books and school clothes were again the top requests from school principals.  The exercise books are used for daily classroom work and for homework.  In our last Dispatch from Vietnam we addressed the subject of human trafficking.  We believe that the root cause is poverty, and that education offers the best chance for a better life.  Our gifts help keep kids in school and improve their study environment.


Receiving new clothes.
School supplies We purchased and distributed sets of 10 exercise books to 516 students in four schools – three elementary schools and one middle school.  Our cost: $2.01 per child.

School clothes

We gave a set of school clothing to 229 students in three schools – two elementary schools and one middle school.  Our cost:  $3.73 per child.

The children are all recommended to us by the school principals, and we and our helpers personally hand each child a gift wrapped set of exercise books or clothes at a ceremony held at each school.






August/September 2008

Because we were in Vietnam around the beginning of the school year, we had planned to buy a lot of text books. However, we were surprised to find that all the school principals said they had enough textbooks because of a new government program. All of them said that their most important need was for exercise books and for school clothes. We were able to accommodate almost all requests, but still have a few pending for the next trip.

Nursery school

The director of the nursery school in Vinh Hoa again asked us to help the students in her school. Vinh Hoa is one of the poorer towns in the area where we do most of our work, and when there is no family member to take care of young children – 18 months to five years old – the parents depend on the nursery school so both of them can work. We bought a small school bag, modeling clay, colored pencils and two sets of school clothes for each child. Our cost: $4.60 per child.

School supplies

We purchased and distributed sets of 10 exercise books to 2,564 students in 23 schools – 12 elementary schools, 10 middle schools and 1 high school. These notebooks are used for daily classroom work and for homework. Although they only cost 21 cents each, some families can’t afford them, or give up something else to buy school supplies. The parents of the youngest children often show up to carry the books home for their children. Our cost: $2.11 per child.







School clothes

We gave a set of school clothing to 1,040 students in 10 schools – seven elementary schools and 3 middle schools. Most of these kids also received exercise books. At some of the schools the kids change into their new clothes as soon as they get them, and it’s always fun to watch them come out after they change – the girls all neat and well fitted and the boys all smiles but many of them needing to trade sizes. Our cost: $3.92 per child.


December 2007/January 2008


Luan receiving his exercise books

Nursery school

The director and one of the teachers at the nursery school in Vinh Hoa asked us to help them buy supplies for the 43 children in their care.  Nursery schools are an important part of rural Vietnamese society, allowing both parents to work when there is no family member to care for young children.  We bought colored markers and modeling clay for each child.  Our cost: $32.00.

School supplies

We purchased and distributed sets of 10 exercise books to 2,117 students in 22 schools – 14 elementary schools, 7 middle schools and 1 high school.  As usual, these students were recommended to us by their teachers and principals, and each was personally handed a gift wrapped package of exercise books.


Happy with new clothes




School clothes

We are often asked to buy school clothes – white top, blue pants or skirt – for these children.  Some have one set of school clothes, many of them wear whatever they have.  Because we were very well funded on this trip, we were able to buy school clothes for 943 children in 15 schools.   The kids appreciated getting the exercise books, but the clothes got a lot more smiles.







March/April 2007


Janie distributes notebooks to elementary school students.

As we were in Vietnam late in the 2006-2007 school year, we did not purchase any textbooks this time.  We purchased and distributed sets of 10 exercise books to each of 582 students,  all identified by the teachers and principals of their schools as not having enough basic school supplies. 

186 students in Phuoc My Trung Elementary School

160 students in Phuoc My Trung Middle School

186 students in Ba Vat High School

100 students in Hung Khanh Trung B Elementary School




July/August 2006


Dreams of the future

We purchased and distributed 335 sets of textbooks and 7,940 exercise books to 1,010 students in fifteen schools in nine towns.  Of the 335 sets of textbooks,  155 were for grade 5 students as their curriculum changed this year.  As usual, each set of exercise or text books was gift wrapped (free by our book supplier) and presented to each student individually.  At several of the elementary schools, students made speeches thanking us for helping them with their education.


Got my books, waiting for my teeth!











We also provided scholarships of about $12.50 each to twenty exceptional students in Nha Trang.





January/February 2006

We helped students in sixteen schools on this trip, including one  new elementary school and one new middle school.  We are now helping poor students in eighteen schools in nine towns..  Because it was  mid school year, we purchased enough exercise books and pens to get the kids through to the end of the school year.  Next summer we plan to purchase textbooks for the new school year for as many schools as our budget allows.  In all cases except for the two high schools we purchased and individually distributed 10 exercise books and five pens to each student.  For the high schools we purchased 20 exercise books.  The exercise books cost about twelve cents each and the pens about six cents each.


Celebrating our gift of exercise books
Phuoc My Trung Elementary School - 122 children.

Phuoc My Trung Middle School - 82 children. 

Phuoc My Trung High School Ban Cong - 100 children. 

Phuoc My Trung High School Ba Vat - 71 children.

Hung Khanh Trung Elementary School A - 23 children.

Hung Khanh Trung Elementary School B - 78 children. 

Hung Khanh Trung Elementary School C - 57 children.  This is one of our new schools.

Thanh An Elementary School - 80 children.


This is exciting!

Thanh An Middle School - 57 children. 

Vinh Hoa Elementary School - 78 children. 

Tan Phu Tay Elementary School - 101 children. 

Tan Phu Tay Middle School - 59 children. 

Tan Binh Elementary School - 116 children.

Tan Binh Middle School - 39 children.

Khanh Thanh Tan Elementary School - 80 children.

Long Thoi Elementary School - 57 children.  This is our other new school.


July/August 2005

We provided assistance to students in ten schools on this trip, including two new elementary schools, one new middle school and one new high school.  We have now helped students in sixteen schools in eight towns in Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta.  As usual, students were recommended solely on need by the principal of each school, and the textbooks and exercise books were handed to each student individually.  The families of these students can’t afford to buy textbooks or enough exercise books for the students to write in, and our help makes it possible for some of these students to remain in school, for some of them to return to school after dropping out, and it improves the learning environment for all of them.  Along with the list of students, each principal gives us a request for their most urgent needs, and we try to match these requests with our budget.

Fourth graders at Phuoc My Trung Elementary School with their new textbooks
Additionally, we provided gifts of $200,000 Vietnam Dong ($12.61 US) to each of 20 students in Nha Trang for the purchase of school supplies.  These are poor students who are performing well in school, and the gifts are presented to them by the school principals as an award for their achievements and an encouragement to continue to do well.

Phuoc My Trung Elementary School

134 children.  Five exercise books for each student.  The grade 4 curriculum changed this year so we also purchased new textbooks for 22 grade four students.  One set of grade 4 textbooks for the year costs $6.37.

Phuoc My Trung Middle School.

59 children.  The grade 9 curriculum changed this year so we purchased new textbooks for 59 grade 9 students.  One set of grade 9 textbooks for the year costs $9.14.


A fourth grader shows his new textbooks to his mother
Phuoc My Trung High School Ban Cong

21 children.  Ten exercise books for each student.

Phuoc My Trung High School Ba Vat

66 children.  Ten exercise books for each student.and textbooks for students in grades 11 and 12.  Grade 11 textbooks are $3.40 per set and grade 12 are $3.78.  The high school students use fewer textbooks than the elementary and middle school students.

Hung Khanh Trung Elementary School A

31 children.  Fifteen exercise books for each student.

Hung Khanh Trung Elementary School B

22 children.  Textbooks for 22 grade 4 students.

Hung Khanh Trung Middle School

47 children.  Textbooks for 47 grade 9 students.


Thanh An Elementary School
Thanh An Elementary School

77 children.  Ten exercise books for each student.

Thanh An Middle School

89 children.  Fifteen exercise books for each student.

Vinh Hoa Elementary School

94 children.  Fifteen exercise books for each student. 

Dien Lac Elementary School, Nha Trang

10 children.  $12.61 per student.



Nguyen Du Middle School, Nha Trang

10 children.  $12.61 per student.


January/February 2005

We added two new schools on this trip and are now helping poor students in eleven schools (six elementary, four middle, one high school) in six towns in Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta.  Students are recommended to us, based solely on need, by the principal of each school. We then buy exercise books, pens and textbooks and give them to each student individually at a ceremony at the school.  Without our help some of these students would drop out of school simply because they can’t afford to buy pen and paper.  Our plan is to purchase pen and paper first.  On following trips, and as our budget allows, we will purchase textbooks, many of which can be reused, and keep the kids on maintenance with pen and paper.

Tan Phu Tay Elementary School

58 children.  Purchased ten exercise books and five pens for each child.  This is one of our new schools.

Tan Phu Tay Middle School.

52 children.  Purchased ten exercise books and five pens for each child.  This is our other new school.

Tan Binh Elementary School

110 children.  Purchased five exercise books and a complete set of textbooks for each child.  Depending on grade, the textbooks cost $3.80 to $4.95 per set.

Tan Binh Middle School

98 children.  Purchased five exercise books and a complete set of textbooks for each child.  Depending on grade, the textbooks cost $6.28 to $9.19 per set.

Khanh Thanh Tan 2 Elementary School

86 children.  Purchased ten exercise books and five pens for each child.  We purchased textbooks for this school last year.

Nhuan Phu Tan 1 Elementary School

106 children.  Purchased five exercise books and a complete set of textbooks for each child.  The textbooks are standardized throughout the country so the cost was the same as for Tan Binh Elementary School.


June/July 2004

We added two new schools this trip and helped students in eight schools in four towns, As before, all books and school supplies were purchased by us and given directly to each student.

Phuoc My Trung Elementary School

Purchased exercise books for 186 students and textbooks for 26 students in grade 3. We purchased textbooks for the other grades last year but waited until this year for grade 3 as the curriculum was changing. Textbooks will be recycled as long as possible.

Hung Khanh Trung Elementary School

Purchased exercise books for 79 students and textbooks for 16 students in grade 3.

Khanh Thanh Tan 2 Elementary School

Purchased textbooks for 11 students in grade 3

Tan Binh Elementary School

Purchased exercise books for 110 students.

Phuoc My Trung Middle School

Purchased exercise books for 180 students, textbooks for 10 students in grade 7, 57 students in grade 8 and 38 students in grade 9.

Hung Khanh Trung Middle School

Purchased exercise books for 166 students, textbooks for 18 students in grade 6, 61 students in grade 7, 42 students in grade 8 and 8 students in grade 9.

Tan Binh Middle School

Purchased exercise books for 99 students.

Phuoc My Trung High School

Purchased exercise books for 27 students

Dick Wagner digital solutions