Thursday, July 23, 2020

Reflections on working with ethnic students in Phuoc Son ~ Guest blog by CEF's Thuy Dinh

Working with ethnic minority girls to help them with their education is really challenging for us. At first, communication is always difficult because they have their own language and have to learn Vietnamese at school when they are young children but this does not mean they can understand all of the Vietnamese vocabulary, so we have to use basic words to talk with them and exchange information. Sadly in some cases we are unable to help them because we cannot communicate with them sufficiently or because they are hesitant to talk with us.

Secondly, helping them with careers advice is also another challenge because there are not many job opportunities for them after high school graduation to match their abilities. To be honest, I have become more patient since I started working with them. I learned not to always expect too much from them or for them to have good school results. Over the two years that I have been working on this project, I can see the progress they have made, although it’s sometimes slow. I smile to myself as it makes me happy to see this progress.

Previously, the majority of the young ethnic generation dropped out of school before completing high school due to poverty, pregnancy, or child marriage, then did farming like their parents. This kept the poverty cycle going, but now it is gradually changing. So far this year, most CEF scholarship students want to take a vocational training course to be a tailor, a hairdresser, a baker, a bartender, a waitress or work in a factory to earn money and support their family. I think at least they have started to change their mind about what is possible and dream of a brighter future.

(Staff photos)

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