Breaking the shackles of poverty through education in Vietnam
Thi Dien (not her real name) is from the northwestern mountainous province in Vietnam, one of the poorest areas in the country. Many of her schoolmates and friends have dropped out of school to work in the fields or other jobs, to support their parents.
Thi Dien too was facing the same possibility as her family was poor.
She lost her father when she was very young. Her mother left their village to work in Laos to support Thi Dien and her brother. The children who were studying were left on their own while their mother visited them once a month.
Struggling to manage schoolwork and taking care of her younger brother, Thi Dien was 15 when she received the good news that she was awarded The Asia Foundation Scholarship, the result of a partnership between the Asia Foundation and RYTHM Foundation.
“We are poor students, but despite our different circumstances, we all have the desire to go to school to continue writing our dreams. We want to have a stable job and get out of poverty in the future. There are so many hardships that we have to face,” she said.
“But thanks to the RYTHM Foundation, happiness has come to us. The scholarships that had been awarded to me and my fellow schoolmates are a great fortune,” she added.
Through the sponsorship, a total of 40 girls from vulnerable backgrounds are able to stay in school and continue their education up to grade 12 and complete secondary school. The scholarships cover the cost of tuition and other expenses such as uniforms, learning materials, bicycles for transportation to school (if needed) as well as other essential costs to support attendance in school.
Since the scholarships are performance-based, the students are required to maintain or improve their academic standing in order to continue receiving the scholarship until they finish school. In a way, this also encourages families to provide moral support to their daughters in exchange for the scholarship.
For disadvantaged Vietnamese girls, graduating from secondary school can mean a more promising future, whether through higher-paying jobs or opportunities for further education
“I have received more than just financial assistance. I also received the motivation to keep on learning and trying to surpass the obstacles I faced in life,” added Thi Dien who has just passed the university entrance examination this year and has successfully enrolled in a medical school in Hanoi.
This project is part of RYTHM Foundation’s broader effort to empower underprivileged young women through education.