Education remains a key to unlocking the golden door of economic development and prosperity in Vietnam. With a population of 86 million and 94% literacy levels amongst the highest in the developed world, the wide-reaching benefits of education are widely recognized within Vietnam. Yet many Vietnamese students lack the financial resources and social support networks to further studies beyond secondary school. Access to university education and vocational training provides an opportunity for the young leaders of tomorrow to realize their potential.
The Mazenod Old Collegians’ Association (“MOCA”) was established in September 2010 to build upon and nurture interactions between Old Boys, the College and the wider Mazenod community. One of MOCA’s long planned initiatives was to establish ties with the O.M.I Vietnam Mission through a scholarship program.
MOCA approached MAMI to work in partnership with this project and the MAMI Director and the Provincial council have been very supportive of this new initiative.
The presence of the Oblates Mission in Vietnam was accepted officially by the public authorities for the Province of Binh Duong on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City (economic capital of Vietnam), and recently been declared as a Catholic charity. They currently run an orphanage and support 30 children between the ages 7 to 15. This group of children with family are allowed to visit their family during school holidays or special occasions. Had they not been housed in the orphanage they would most likely miss schooling and be working from an early age to support their family.
The newly-established scholarship program currently supports 10 of the brightest students from the orphanage and covers all their educational essentials. These expenses are approximately AUD$124 per annum and cover tuition fees, study material, school uniform, daily nutrition and health care.
The uniqueness of the program is that it endeavors to educate students on the importance of being socially responsible citizens. As a result, the program requires students to spend time each week volunteering in the community for a cause or purpose. The student is at liberty to choose the activity as long as it is beneficial to the community or within the orphanage.
The objective of the scholarship program is to close this educational gap that prevents these children in their care from reaching their potential of further university study or to learn a trade. Also it is important to assist the children in their early adulthood to gain independence because they must leave the orphanage once they complete their high school education. One provision of the program will look at financially supporting the children with career aspirations by paying either university fees, apprenticeship, certification and/or training costs.
Brother Hiến, who is the new manager, sees a large potential to expand the orphanage since requests for receiving additional children ongoing. At this stage MOCA is financially supporting this initiative with the support of MAMI through administration but if you would like to help this project to grow you could make a donation below.
September 2011 the orphanage received four new computers donated by MOCA as part of the first year funding allocation.
In November 2011 the children at the orphanage received new sports equipment and uniform. They enjoy a game of soccer, which is the most popular sport in Vietnam.
In January 2012 the students received their 1st semester results. Of the 10 scholarship recipients 8 achieve good to excellent marks.