Project No. 12 – Construction of a kindergarten in Me Nang, Xin Cai commune, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province in the north of Vietnam

Status June 2017: On June 22, 2017 the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) team (Isabelle Müller, Corinna Buchholz and Werner Huemer) visited (at one’s own expense and not at the expense of the foundation) the commune of Xin Cai. Initially, we had planned to travel to Me Nang village by car and moped, however heavy rains during the previous weeks had made parts of the route impassable. Falling rocks, broken roads and flooded paths forced us to cancel our trip on that day. At that time, we were on a mountain located just opposite of Me Nang. Therefore, we decided to walk a few hundred meters on a trail to observe the project from a distance. It worked out.

The distance between Xin Cai commune and the center of Meo Vac district is 32 kilometers. Due to its geographic location, the economic development and education in this commune are far behind. In the North, Xin Cai borders Thuong Phung commune, in the South it lies next to Giang Chu Phin and Son Vi commune. China is its neighbor in the East (8.7 kilometers shared border). Pa Vi and Pai Lung commune are adjacent in the West. Xin Cai consists of 19 villages, 6 of them are bordering China.
Xin Cai commune is located at an altitude of 1200 meters and encompasses a total of 3,590.51 hectares. 2,211.3 hectares thereof are used for agriculture only, 1,200.93 hectares are forest (with 968.22 hectares of nature reserve) and 178.28 hectares are not cultivated. The steep slopes (average gradient 25%) made of limestone are hard to cultivate and the climate is harsh and dry. The cold season causes much damage due to freezing. Snowfall is not unusual here. The yearly mean temperature is 15.7 °C, the highest monthly temperature 19.7 °C and the coldest is 12.9 °C on average. The winter comes with dense fog and temperatures drop down to -6 °C. Erosion in the rain season, drought and water scarcity are consequences. .
According to 2017 statistics, 902 households (5049 inhabitants) live in Xin Cai commune. 63.30% of all households are poor. The commune is composed of 9 ethnic minorities: H´Mong (70,18%), Dao, Lo Lo, Giay, Tay, Xuong, Nung, Hoa and Kinh (>. Most of them live from agriculture (cultivation of corn, rice, soy, other crops and animal feeds), forestry and animal husbandry.
62 households (359 inhabitants) live in Me Nang. Most of them belong to the Lo Lo Minority. Me Nang shares a long border with China. Because the settlement is difficult to access, the inhabitants usually stay in their village. In the current, dilapidated school of Me Nang, 49 children attend kindergarten and 20 children go to elementary school simultaneously. The building doesn’t shield from the weather outside and is a temporary solution. Rain leaks inside and wind goes through. The children are cold in the winter. Out of necessity, some of them have to go to institutions that are further away to attend classes. Others skip classes because these are too crowded and learning conditions are unbearable. Good quality classes can’t be guaranteed and the normal level of education can certainly not be achieved.
In an appropriate, generous and clean environment, children are developing better and are able to strengthen their social competencies. They would have a regular access to education and enjoy the classes, as well as attending school. With at least an average or even superior level of education, the pupils would be able to keep up with other children of the same age coming from regions with a better standing. They could attend high school and increase their chances for a better future. In addition, these children would not have to travel on dangerous paths to school. With new, permanent and local infrastructure, teachers could ensure quality classes. The families and consequently the whole community would also be relieved. Poverty would be combatted effectively.

Me Nang is 12 kilometers away from the community center (with 7 kilometers being asphalt road, 3 kilometers gravel track and 2 kilometers trail). Transportation of goods and construction materials with a gradient between 12% and 15% is extremely difficult. Weatherproof EPS tiles are therefore regarded as the ideal solution for construction. The people will help preparing the construction site.
Together with our Vietnamese partners, we used plans and cost estimates to determine what is needed. Looking towards the future, the village of Me Nang is in need of the following:

1 x building (2 classrooms, 1 teachers’ room)

Overall funds needed: approx. 29,200.00 USD (or approx. 27,300.00 €)

As a turnover foundation, the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) can provide help directly. We would like to carry out this project, but are dependent on every financial donation. We remain optimistic that we will be able to collect the necessary funds.

In cooperation and in continuous contact with our Vietnamese partners, we will as always supervise and guide this project personally and on site. We will report on the progress regularly.

We would be delighted if you were to provide us with moral and financial support in this endeavor. Thank you very much!

Status September 2017: On September 16, 2017 a two-person team of the LO-ANH foundation (LOAN Stiftung) (Isabelle Müller and Corinna Buchholz) visited (at one’s own expense and not at the expense of the foundation) the commune of Xin Cai. Since our last visit, worrying messages have reached us from Me Nang. The Lo Lo settlements below the mountain crest have been hit hard by long, continuing rainfall. There were several landslides (with casualties among humans and animals). The only existing path to Me Nang was washed away. The harvests were destroyed. The state of emergency was declared for months. On the day of our visit it was made official that more than 27 families will have to be relocated. This measure taken by the Vietnamese Government out of necessity has a positive aspect: In the future, the Lo Lo community will live in a safe place and the Government will build suitable school facilities (kindergarten and elementary school). The safety of the people has priority and therefore we welcome this initiative. At the same time this means that the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) will not realize this project. Herewith Me Nang is taken out of our project list.