Thuan, Huong Hoa (December 17, 2021) – With support from the Embassy of Ireland, the RENEW team on Friday delivered practical gifts to ethnic minority schoolchildren that included school supplies, new handwashing facilities, sanitation gels and other hygienic improvements. The students, Van Kieu ethnic minority children, are in Huong Hoa District’s Thuan Commune, which borders Savannakhet Province of Laos. They will benefit from better study conditions and safer personal health care in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These gifts were made available thanks to the contributions from the running community, Vietnamese alumni in Ireland, Only Rice Is Not Enough Ireland through the Emerald Virtual Run — a running event that was organized from 1 to 30 November 2021 under the auspice of Irish Embassy in Vietnam.
Built over 20 years ago, the Village One Sub-school’s facilities are now in degradation. It has three rooms that accommodate five primary classes in two morning and afternoon shifts. Situated on an area much lower than the surface of inter-commune road, the school is often flooded if it rains. Notably, the historic flood in late 2020 had badly damaged the school’s semi-septic toilet which is no longer serviceable for 68 students and five teachers.
As children of disadvantaged Van Kieu families in Thuan Commune who earn their living on slash-and-burn cultivation across the Vietnam-Lao border area, many of them have to share textbooks with their peers. The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions in the last two years have also exacerbated their parents’ work to earn daily income.
Based on a needs assessment in November, RENEW team worked with Thuan School Administrators to come up with a plan of support following the agreement from the organizers of Emerald Virtual Run 2021. At the ceremony on Friday morning, 90 sets of new textbooks, 112 student uniforms, a hand-washing basin, and sanitation gels were delivered to the students — the gifts help them improve their study conditions and personal health care in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These meaningful gifts from the friends of Ireland help motivate the schoolchildren in their studies for a better future,” said Headmaster Truong Cong Hieu. “We are grateful for this year-end support from Vietnamese alumni in Ireland and Project RENEW team.”
Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war”. RENEW is the only comprehensive mine action organization in Vietnam that integrates survey and clearance, risk education, and victim assistance into a coordinated program of action.