Over the summer I was contacted by a Civil Affairs officer from the 84th Civil Affairs Battalion who had recently returned from Vietnam. While there, she met an ex-patriot, J.T., who was working with the US Embassy to address the vulnerabilities youth are facing in the country.
Many poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese children drop out of school before they get to the sixth grade. One of the greatest challenges, even for children who are able to remain in school, is the availability of quality education, specifically in regard to reading and writing the English language. When the previous international school was closed near what used to be the North / South demilitarized zone, a void was left. J. T. built the new school with the purpose of filling that gap and providing the best education possible. They have largely been able to achieve that goal, but the students and staff needed some help.
As we talked through the best way to meet the needs of the children, it became clear that their greatest need was books. Purchasing English written children’s books within Vietnam is nearly impossible. The freight cost of shipping books from overseas was a prohibitive, time-consuming challenge for the school’s staff. However, with the support of our donors, Spirit of America was able to purchase nearly 100 literary classics for the students. The books, written by authors including Jack London, Dr. Seuss, and Judy Blume, arrived just in time for the students to discover them on the first day of the new school year.
Spirit of America is proud to have the opportunity to work with fellow Americans from the US Embassy, US Military and ex-pat community who are working to change the lives of these children and many others throughout the world.
Field Operations Project Manager