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Meet the children

Young boy smiling Young boy smiling

Trang Thi Hap

Trang Thi Hap is 13-years-old and a grade-7 student at the Ban Luoc secondary school.

"I love going to school," says Hap. "My favorite subjects are music and literature. I hope I can continue my studies and become a teacher one day."

Staying in school isn't easy for children like Hap, but thanks to you, it's getting easier. By working with poor families to improve their incomes, we're making it possible for them to keep their children in school. And by investing in the local school systems we're ensuring that local children who are in school get a decent education. It's a virtuous cycle that is getting results with improved enrolment across the board.

"Since Plan has come to the village,"says Hap, "there is a lot more for school kids in our community. My cousin goes to the preschool that has been renovated by Plan. He has a lot of toys to play with. He is able to have lunch and take a noon nap there. When I was young, we didn't have any of that."

Trang Van Thang help with farm work

Trang Van Thang

Trang Van Thang is a 15-year-old grade-8 student at San Sa Ho secondary school. Since Plan arrived in his community, Thang has seen many changes.

"I see that the younger children now have chairs, desks and toys at the preschool," says Thang. "We also have a new community centre, and just this year we rebuilt the community's main bridge."

Because children are at the heart of our work, they are actively involved in our community-based planning and have a voice in everything we do. For Thang, learning about child rights and getting involved in his community's development have inspired a new sense of what's possible, and a new ambition in life. "I want to further my education and become a government officer working for my community," says Thang.

Asked what he would do to further improve his community, Thang doesn't skip a beat: "I want to have a playground for children like me to play, especially during summer time," says Thang, who, along with his friends, will be bringing that idea to upcoming community meetings this fall as we plan for the next phase of development.

Leng thi lai smile and help tend to crops

Leng Thi Lai

For the children of local farming families, the days are long and busy. We asked Leng Thi Lai, a 14-year-old grade-8 student, to describe a typical day when she's in school.

"I wake up at 6AM and have breakfast," says Lai, "then I walk 4km to reach school at 6:45AM. In the afternoon, I come back home for lunch, then I help my parents with the house work, cut grass to feed the cattle and collect firewood. From 5:30PM to 7PM, I cook and have dinner with my parents. In the evening, I take some time to study then go to bed at 9PM."

While on summer holidays now, Lai will be going back to school in the fall to start grade 9. "I love to study Music and History," say Lai. "When I grow up, I want to become a teacher to bring knowledge to the children in my village."

Lai says she has seen many positive changes in her community since Plan arrived, including tangible improvements in the life of her own family. "We have more cattle and a better place to keep them," says Lai, gesturing with pride at her family's new barn.

lu van mang reads

Lu Van Mang

Of the many improvements he has witnessed since Plan arrived, 15-year-old Lu Van Mang says he has been most impressed by the advances in agricultural practices among local farming families like his. For this grade-8 student who loves math, the introduction of more modern farming methods has left a big mark – not just on the local quality of life, but on his imagination.

"When I grow up, I want to be an agricultural engineer so that I can help my family and fellow villagers have better crops and breeding with high productivity," says Mang.

An enthusiastic student, Mang says he can't wait to go back to school this fall and would love to see the addition of a library to his community so that he can get access to even more books and opportunities to learn.

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