Supporting education and related programs for the empowerment
of children, youth and their communities in the Asia Pacific

Lasalle Junior High School Dakmil, Vietnam

A rubbish pile bigger than a sports field. This is your world. This is your home. This is your playground. This pile provides you with the food and essentials you need to survive. Your home built from whatever could be found in this pile. Each day searching to beat hunger; searching for anything to sell or reuse; searching for hope.  

The youngest of eight daughters, Anh* was born into poverty. Her parents are farmers with a small plot of land next to the rubbish pile. A nearby small creek provides water and the occasional fish. Anh’s days were spent at the rubbish pile scrounging for scraps of food and anything that could be otherwise useful to her or her family. Always being able to see the brighter side of things, Anh’s days were spent with her friends, together searching for the bare necessities. 

Unlike her friends and sisters, Anh was born without hands and no right foot. This meant that the rubbish pile was her hope. Anh would not be lucky enough to work the 12-hour days in the agricultural fields like her older sisters. She would not have the opportunity for much beyond the rubbish pile.

With only $86, you can transform the lives of children like Anh for generations to come.

That was until the day Sister Sang saw Anh and her friends scratching around the rubbish pile for useful things, and noticed Anh scattering the rubbish with her arms in her search. Sister Sang watched as Anh found a small mandarin and a monkey mask, which she put on right away with great joy. Accompanied by her friends, Anh rushed to the creek to wash the tiny mandarin and then ate it.   Sister Sang asked Anh if she went to school. She answered, “No”. Anh explained that she really did want to go to school, just like the other children but she was worried about being teased by the other children because of her missing hands and foot. Later Sister Sang asked Anh’s parents if they would allow their daughter to stay at the sister’s hostel so that she could attend school. They agreed. Once starting school, the Sisters discovered Anh had beautiful handwriting. 

That was some years ago.  Today Anh is 14 years of age and studying in Year 8. Her language, writing and other studies are above average for her age and she enjoys art subjects especially drawing and painting. Her dream is to become an art teacher.The Sisters organised for Anh to be fitted with an artificial foot, which needs to be replaced and refitted as Anh grows each year. Although she is without both hands, Anh is fiercely independent and more than capable of looking after herself - washing, dressing, feeding and other daily tasks.

This life-altering opportunity would not exist without the tireless efforts of the Sisters and Brothers working together to create an environment that not only educates, but is safe and free from discrimination, a place where all are welcome to learn and are supported to realise their true potential.  You can be part of this important work and help create more places of learning open to all, particularly those children who are most disadvantaged and marginalised, like Anh.While the Vietnamese people believe in the importance of a good education and respect their teachers as wise, many children miss the opportunity to receive an education as their families cannot afford schooling, or it is simply difficult to get to and from school. The inequity of access to education is more acutely felt by those in rural areas, and particularly for those children with special needs.
The Brothers have started to build Lasalle Junior High School, a new secondary school in Dakmil to support children like Anh and her friends. Phase one of the development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2018. This is why your help is needed. The De La Salle Brothers used to run some of the leading schools in Vietnam but all schools were nationalised in 1976. This will be the first time the De La Salle Brothers have built and run a secondary school in Vietnam since that time.

This is only the first phase of a larger 5-year project. After this junior high school for 480 students is completed, the Brothers aim to build a higher secondary school to further support these children to finish their high school education. 

Will you contribute towards improving the life of a child like Anh by helping raise $86,000 for the first 480 students to be educated at Lasalle Dakmil?Almost a quarter of the new Dakmil school population will be students from the minority mountain tribes, and the curriculum will include emphasis on their specific challenges and requirements, particularly language. Due to discrimination and learning difficulties, many minority children struggle to stay in school. Government schools do not provide any assistance or support for these children so the majority drop out of school when it becomes too difficult. This leaves them stuck in the cycle of poverty.
Lasalle Junior High School hopes to create higher retention rates in pupils from minority backgrounds, and provide safe, clean accommodation meaning fewer local students will need to leave their homes and community to seek better education options. Or worse, simply not attend school at all, which is extremely common. 

Approximately 60% of the school population will be girls, as gender equality is one of the school’s priorities. Without an education, the only option for many girls is to marry young and have several children to help earn money to support their extended family. Many are forced into low-skilled, low-paid work, which sometimes leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. The simple act of completing high school will give these girls different options for a brighter future.

Your support will go a long way to ensuring that another child, like Anh will have a better future. Your generosity will change the world through reaching out to the last, the lost and the least through education.

*Child’s name changed for privacy reasons