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Constructing a library at Nguyen Truong To Primary School

Project Location: Hung Yen, Vietnam

In the small Hung Yen province of northern Vietnam’s beautiful Red River Delta region, many families in the area rely heavily on farming and agriculture as their primary source of income. However, a range of environmental and social challenges make finances tight, meaning for many families financially supporting their school-aged children and ensuring they receive quality education can be challenging.

Students at Nguyen Truong To Primary School, in the Vinh Diocese in Hung Yen, crave education, with all members of the school community petitioning the Diocese for funds to establish a library. ‘The principal, professors, staff, and students of this school have truly needed and wanted to build a library for many years. They couldn’t afford to construct it,’ says Father Bernard Tran Xuan Thuy. ‘They asked for help from the Government and Department of Education, but their request has received nothing so far.’

According to Father Bernard, important resources are currently inaccessible to staff and students. ‘All school supplies, including books, documents, medicine, milk and other things, are put in a tiny disorganised room – students have to read books and newspapers outdoors.’

The library would provide a safe and secure room to store resources, plus offer a comfortable study space for students spend time fulfilling their desire to learn.

With no outside funding this long-awaited project will not be completed. Father Bernard commends the passion of students and staff who, although coming from families of economic hardship, are offering to contribute what they can in order to get this project off the ground.

‘Parents of these children are poor farmers,’ says Father Bernard. ‘The average family has four children. Their income depends almost solely on farming, but due to unstable, harsh weather and unfertile land, many families have to take loans in order to manage life.’

Putting into perspective the farming and financial challenges families in the region face, each hectare of land is shared between 13 people, compared to Australia where the ratio is two people to one hectare. Adding to the lack of arable land available, farmers in Vietnam obtain a significantly lower income, receiving just under $54,000 less than the average Australian farmer.

The support of Catholic Mission through the Society of the Holy Childhood allows families like those in Hung Yen the opportunity to flourish through learning and fulfil their passion for educating children in the community.

*Catholic Mission works all over the globe. The image pictured was taken at a similar project in Africa which is working to provide education and support to youth.