Sa Pa Elementary School, Lao Cai Province, Vietnam
The SaPa Primary School is located among the cascading rice paddies and misty mountains, of Lao Cai Province in Vietnam, where 85 per cent of the Mong people live below the poverty line. The quality of education is poor and malnutrition is high. Access to adequate water and sanitation, to health services, and to education are some of the major issues confronting this community. In 2014 the Ministry of Education and Training started bilingual education in 15 schools across three provinces (in the north, center, and south of the country), with the hope of expanding the model further. One Million Words is working closely with our contacts in Lao Cai Province to see this project come to fruition.
Most of the students in the SaPa School have no shoes, many have limited clothing and they certainly have next to no school resources. Going to school in winter for these children is still extremely difficult. Close your eyes and imagine for a moment what it must be like for these children to firstly walk up to 6 km bare foot over rice fields to school each morning when the temperature in winter is often minus 5 degrees Celsius. The children sit in cold cement class rooms with no heating while the wind whistles through the broken windows and doors, as they sit there without a single book to refer too or read.
Since the beginning of 2015, we have been in negotiations with the Laotian side of the provincial government, and we can now make a token donation of 1000 books, which will greatly increase our chances of continuing further negotiations.