|To Mau Primary and Secondary School.
Dao ethnic Chu Van Minh has a very special family circumstance. When he was 2 years old, Minh’s mother left home after setting him on the roadside near his maternal grandmother’s house. His father had become dependent on alcohol.
With a dream of going to school like other children, every day Minh walks to class without shoes, pens, notebooks, schoolbag, or a specific schedule. Teacher Doan Thi Thao has adopted him.
“At first he was very stubborn and never came to school on time. Sometimes he came to school by himself because his father was out of town for several days. So I asked the school board to let me take care of him. In the morning, if he doesn’t arrive at school, I visit him or ask for help from sombebody who lives near his house. Whenever Minh’s father is gone, I take Minh home. I have received great support from my family members for helping Minh,” Thao recalled.
Teacher Doan Thi Thao helps her adopted pupil Chu Van Minh wear the red scraf properly.
Thanks to the love and care of school teachers like Thao, Minh has found it easier to integrate with classmates and make faster progress in his studies. Minh, a skinny, shy boy, will soon graduate to the second grade.
In similar circumstances to Minh, Nguyen Thi Thom had intended to drop out of secondary school this year. With encouragement and financial support from teacher Nong Thi Thuy Hang, Thom has decided to keep attending school.
During this academic year, To Mau has 33 educational staff and teachers and nearly 500 students, half of them poor or extremely disadvantaged. In addition to the government’s support, all 33 teachers have sponsored at least one disadvantaged student.
Cu Ngoc Tien, the school’s rector, said: “Thanks to this program the number of student absences has dramatically dropped. Student performance has improved annually. In particular, students who have been sponsored by a teacher have become more confident. This is a good model. We’ll continue to expand it in the coming academic years.”
Nguyen Thi Huong, Deputy Head of Luc Yen District’s Education and Training Division, said: “Sponsoring disadvantaged students in any form helps to ensure that they stay in school. The program is already being widely replicated.”