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Change is in the air

What you have done

The past three months have been busy for the families of Hoang Su Phi, and a feeling of progress and new hope is in the air. With support for agriculture, animal husbandry, schools and community centres, change is happening every day.

"I still remember the day our village implemented the Family Development Fund," recalls Then Van Lam. "It was so interesting. Everybody gathered in the commune centre to receive building materials and cattle. I could see the smiles everywhere, even in the late afternoon after a hard working day. Cattle providers in the district carried cattle. Commune officers carried scales. Plan staff helped us to queue up to wait for our turn. Every body was happy."

Updates to schools and community centres not only provide the obvious educational benefit – they also serve as meeting places to engage families in community planning.

Adds Lam, "I also see a nice preschool and a community house newly built. In the past, I think only sons need to go to school. Now, I will send both of my children to school. Without knowledge, we cannot overcome poverty."

Who you have helped

Collecting tea leaves

Trang Van Thanh, his wife and their two children make a living as subsistence farmers, and supplement with whatever odd jobs might earn them some cash. Their difficult life meant that the only opportunity they had to connect with their community was at the market or at festivals.

All this has changed, though, within the past few months.

"My family received the $300 value fund including building materials, a pig and 2 goats," says Thanh. "I had chances to participate in training. I, therefore, had knowledge on how to maximize the fund efficiency and how to raise the cattle. I saved my cattle from the latest epidemic by using preventive medicines in advance. Now, I'm very confident of the future."

While this has had a direct impact on the family's ability to earn a living, Thanh has found that his growing connection to his community has inspired him even more.

"The trainings and workshops organised by Plan are what I love the most," he explains. "I had a chance to meet new friends from Plan. I had chances to share my ideas with the local authorities. And I understand the role of women and children in the family development plan."

With people like Thanh leading the community development plan, Hoang Su Phi is well on its way.

How you have helped

Mother and Daughters

The entire community has become mobilized to work together to improve things for all the children and families living there. Said one community member, "I am very happy that now in our village we have a nice constructed community house. We have a place to work together on development plans. Men, women, the old people and children join these activities. The village will become wealthier soon."

That community centre is one of 12 that have been repaired and updated to serve as important hubs for meetings, cultural exchanges and planning centres for further development. In addition to this, 16 classrooms in seven pre-schools have also been redeveloped so that 200 children between the ages of three and five will benefit from stimulating early education.

Plan has also helped build up six drinking water tanks that are being used by 80 households, and has repaired or upgraded 500m of irrigation channels to support better agriculture. Two new suspension bridges have also been built, serving 300 households.

We've also continued work to help community members become more self-sufficient in developing and running their own projects. We've provided four training courses on setting up and managing community-based organizations, and facilitated dozens of meetings to identify families who would benefit from participating in our programs.

What's next

Helping parents with field work

With some basic programs already in place, the families of Hoang Su Phi are well on their way. Daily life remains a struggle for most, however, and the road is long. But the challenges are matched by the dreams parents have for their children and their determination to make those dreams a reality.

"I hope to have funds to invest into planting and breeding," says one parent. "To no longer have to suffer from hunger, to afford warm clothes and schooling for my children."

Your support is vital to these families, and they are committed to working together as a community to make lasting improvements. In fact, they've already agreed to develop an education promotion fund to support poor students and to buy teaching tools for the village preschool.

 

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