Câu chuyện dự án

Single father supported to keep his children out of child labour and in school

Single parent family among 340 disadvantaged households supported at inner city school with free lunch and learning support through ILO Viet Nam Project.

Project documentation | 19 May 2020
Trinh, a single dad, and his two sons on the way to school
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (ILO News)- Thien An Primary School, located in Ho Chi Minh City’s (HCMC) Binh Tan District, was founded by the local church in the year 2000 and currently accommodates 340 students from disadvantaged families.

Binh Tan is a densely populated industrial district and a hub for internal migrants; most of the students at the school are from such households and many work as street vendors to support their families.

To help protect these children, the ILO is collaborating with Thien An School through the US Department of Labour funded Project, Enhancing National Capacity to Prevent and Reduce Child Labour in Viet Nam (ENHANCE).

With ILO support, Thien An School provides students with learning tools, health insurance cards, extra-curricular activities and library facilities. Most notably, the Project provides all students with lunch to encourage families to keep their children in school for longer.

Prior to the provision of lunch, many students left school early to sell lottery tickets. Now, thanks to the lunch scheme, students remain at the school until 3.30 p.m.

In exchange for this support, the students’ caregivers make a formal commitment to keep their children enrolled. The teachers and staff work hard to convince families of the long-term benefits of investing in their children’s education.

Le Van Huynh, an 8-year-old student, is Trinh's first son.
For 8-year-old student, Le Van Huynh, gathering in the busy hall to share a meal with his friends is his favourite part of the day. In the past, Huynh and his younger brother sold lottery tickets on the streets.

The boys’ father, Trinh, explains that after moving to HCMC his wife left unexpectedly, leaving the construction worker struggling to provide for his sons.

Eventually, Trinh sought assistance from the school. To facilitate the boys’ enrollment, the ENHANCE Project agreed to extend the provision of lunch and learning support to an additional two students.

Thao, who helps to run the school, recounts that when the children first arrived, they had no shoes or clean clothes and they both had severe vision problems. Through the school, the boys were provided with sandals, clothes and glasses.

The brothers have now been studying at Thien An School for over a year and the change in them has been dramatic. “When they started at the school, a huge transformation occurred- it was as though their brains started working,” Thao stresses.

8-year-old Huynh, who is now in first grade learning literacy and arithmetic, no longer has to sell lottery tickets, though he still works hard to help with household chores and cooks dinner for the family. When asked if he might have a future as a chef, Huynh nods with a coy smile.

For Trinh, his sons’ enrollment at Thien An marked a new beginning for the family. “The children were so happy after their first day of school that they cried,” he says.

Now, the single father looks to the future with hope. “When they’re grown, I want my boys to be able to choose a life for themselves and to have a stable income so that they can be independent,” says the construction worker. “Learning is very important for their future,” he stresses.

Enhancing the quality and accessibility of education is a critical component of child labour prevention. ILO will continue to support Viet Nam in this area as the country forges ahead in developing its upcoming National Plan of Action to eliminate child labour in line with Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.