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Child-friendly space for ethnic minority in Vietnam

July 30, 2012

“I would love to sing for friends. I’m very happy when everyone listens to me and gives me big applause” said, Tuyen, 5 year-old Van Kieu ethnic minority who lives in Ruong, a small village of Quang Tri. Every two weeks, Tuyen and his little brother, Tien, are taken to the ‘Child playing and reading group’, set up in the community by Plan.

Tuyen and Tien enjoy participating in the group even though they were very shy at the beginning. Since joining, their behaviors have changed positively. “Tien and Tuyen once held my hands very tight. They were hiding behind my back when I was trying hard to push them forward. Now, they are more opened and actively play with other children of their age. They always ask me when the next session will be”, Ho Thi Dai, their mother, recalled.

Since there are positive statistics highlighting the fact that ethnic minority children are vulnerable and are facing several difficulties such as lack of education, language barriers and cultural differences, “Child playing and reading group” is initiated as part of Plan’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program, implemented in mountainous areas.

Through all ECCD programs, Plan supports child friendly educative environment in the ethnic minority community so that they can grow up healthily, enjoy, and embrace their learning ability. The child playing and reading group is designed for children under 11 years old with the aims of enhancing child participation and – at the same time - creating playground for them.

Plan also provides children an access to a quality basic education, improves the quality and accessibility of water supplies and sanitation, improves parents’ knowledge in health including teaching hygiene practices, and emphasizes children and parent participation in school governance.

Parents with good practices

Apart from the “Child playing and reading group”, Plan provides parents with knowledge and know-how about health and education through “Parenting Education Groups”. The group members learn various topics of educational and healthy behaviors in a friendly atmosphere through discussions, role play, team work, and games facilitated by Plan ECCD promoter.

Chang Seo Cuong, age 26, is one of the group leaders and community volunteers of Plan. Every time before starting the new session, Cuong recaps the previous session by giving out introductory quiz purposely to check if issues, practices, and behaviors are understood and adopted by the parents. This approach works very well and has positive feedback from participants.

Now across 8 provinces in Vietnam, over 3,000 members of Parenting Education Groups have been provided with health and education knowledge. As for children in the Child playing and reading group, more than 3,100 enjoy activities in satellite schools that help developing their language skills and learning capacities.

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