I normally think of the first half of the year as a time of daffodils emerging at home in England, leaves appearing on trees and generally a time of renewal and, who knows, maybe even some sunshine in early summer too!! Of course, euphemistically that doesn’t change, but having spent two weeks in the snow-covered wastes of England in March this year and then flying back into the 32°of Vietnam I haven’t actually seen much of the natural Spring time this year!
But – you’ll see from the newsletter that there is plenty of renewal and plenty of green shoots appearing too – new schools, new scholarship students and new training courses too.
A new vocational traning course: Electrical and Appliance Repairs
A new vocational training course: Automobile Repair
We continue at SCC to be going though an important phase of change. Mainly because Vietnam has changed so much and so fast but also because, as we get to know the children and their families needs better and better, we understand how we need to change to help.
Some key changes we are developing here include a move away from scholarship “hand-outs” to one of scholarship “lift-ups” where we support the children and the families to better support themselves. This requires more time with the children but we are already seeing this pay dividend as “drop out” rates slowly fall.
Other changes will see us put more focus on keeping children in school while they are there as we find that these “drop out” rates are still way too high. As there is no compunction to stay in school beyond primary level and with a working age of only 15 - it is still far too easy for a child to simply stop going to school. No-one would question it either as many still have to walk for an hour or more (in the baking heat or pouring rain!) to get there and to get back each day. So – having SCC walking alongside them when they go to school and sitting beside them while they study is important - it means that they all have someone else to go to when things are tough.
Every time I make a visit to a youngster I come away amazed about how they manage to get to school at all – it is truly inspiring. There is a new video on our website which shows some of the work of SCC through my eyes which was shot for a TV channel here – if you get a moment please do have a look here.
We are also spending more time on supporting the young people as they move from school into work (via college and university or vocational training) and this is where I expect to see more and more work done. Ensuring that the education that you, our superb supporters, are helping to provide really does turn into a change of opportunities and options for every one of the children and gives them and their families real hope for their future.
We will be writing to many of you soon with information about how your child or children have fared in the last year. We will also be asking some of you to help a little more as your child moves into higher grades or goes on to High School or even College or University. These will require a little more support from you and I hope that you are able to respond positively as you do so often.