Quick facts about Huong Su Phi
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Geography: Hoang Su Phi is a remote district in the mountainous province of Ha Giang in North Vietnam
Population: 58,000 people
Climate: Temperature ranges from 35-28°C in the summer to 6-8°C in winter
Ethnicity: 11 ethnic minority groups make up over 75% of the population – the primary ones are the H’mong, the Tay, the Dao and the Nung
Water: Open or drilled wells without filter systems
Transportation: Primarily walking
Education in the communities is divided into three areas: preschool, primary school, and secondary school. Most of the preschools located in the villages are in poor condition. With few toys and learning material, enrollment rates are very low. Of the 40 preschool classrooms in use, only 19 are in adequate condition.
There is a primary school located in most communities, as well as some satellite schools and informal pre-schools in the villages. The majority of teachers in these schools have a college degree, but they have limited knowledge in quality teaching methods and require refresher training courses. Very few of the schools have adequate hygienic sanitation facilities and/or a safe water supply.
The secondary schools in the region are in slightly better condition. The main challenge is the lack of boarding facilities for students who live in more remote areas and cannot attend school because of the distance and safety concerns.
Absenteeism is common and the dropout rate is pervasive throughout the education system. The language of instruction is Vietnamese; however, ethnic minority families speak little Vietnamese at home, putting younger children at a disadvantage when it comes to formal education.
Most communities have a health clinic, but because of the isolated living conditions, many families in Hoang Su Phi cannot access medical services.
Equipment is outdated, medical supplies are inadequate, and the centres are in serious need of repair. Last year, only 16% of births took place in a health clinic, the rest were delivered at home. Malnutrition among children is widespread and only 60% of children have been fully vaccinated.
Although surface water supply is available year-round, untreated and contaminated water remains a concern. Only half of all households have a water tank and just one-quarter have a household latrine. As a result, intestinal diseases are common, especially among children.
The majority of the 58,000 people living in Hoang Su Phi make their living from crop farming and livestock. As cultivation is highly dependant on rain water, in periods of drought, locally produced food is insufficient to meet basic needs. Average household income is extremely low at $0.50 USD per day.
Since water is untreated, contamination remains a concern. Only half of all households have a water tank and just one-quarter have a household latrine. As a result, intestinal diseases are common, especially among children.