“And if we have to, we will come by moped!” – Construction of a kindergarten in Ban Trang in the north of Vietnam

Status September 2016:

On September 13, 2016 the LO-ANH Foundation team  (LOAN Stiftung) (Isabelle Müller, Gabi Siegloch and Corinna Buchholz) visited (at one’s own expense and not at the expense of the foundation) the village of Ban Trang, Xin Cai commune, Ha Giang province in the north of Vietnam.

Ban Trang is located at an altitude of 1000 meters in an area that is difficult to access. Once we reached Xin Cai commune (15 kilometers away from the destination), we learned that we might have to change to mopeds, should the gravel track be too narrow for our vehicles.

Though somewhat surprised, we agreed; and Gabi affirmed, “And if we have to, the LO-ANH Foundation  (LOAN Stiftung) will also bring help on two wheels!” No sooner said than done! We reached the village of Tia Cho with much difficulty and could not continue, and then 8 mopeds and drivers appeared from “behind the bush” (what a coincidence…). With us sitting in the back, the highly focused drivers ignored the steep cliffs and safely brought us, quite acrobatically and adventuresomely, beyond all hurdles to our destination seven kilometers away. Relief was written all over our faces: we were happy to have reached Ban Trang safe and sound and our guide was actually happy we had come at all. At some point later on, they revealed to us their initial concern that we wouldn’t go through with the project once we’d discovered the village’s location. It would not have been the first time…

Ban Trang’s location is very isolated and it is one of the poorest villages in the municipality. 130 people belonging to 24 households live here. 16 of the 24 households are very poor and belong to the Giay minority.


The children of this minority group here must learn the Vietnamese language as early as possible – a language that even their parents have not mastered. At the moment, there are 30 school-age children living in the village:

  • 12 attend a kindergarten in Tia Cho (more than 7 kilometers away)
  • 18 attend the elementary school in Xin Cai (our Project No. 1; over 14 kilometers away)

There is no longer a local kindergarten, and no elementary school. On weekdays, parents bring their children to the kindergarten in Tia Cho, traveling on foot or by moped (if they have one). The children spend the day there and have to walk home in the evening. In order to attend classes in Xin Cai, the children have to travel 14 kilometers. If the parents do not own a moped, they must walk this distance. For security reasons, these pupils stay overnight in Xin Cai during the week and are only allowed to walk home on the weekend.

A “building” made from loam, branches and pieces of substandard fiber cement panels served as a temporary solution. However, this facility was shut down because it was not safe (parts were falling down, for example). The local villagers all have the same wish: for their children to have access to education and, if possible, nearby. Everyone is ready to lend a hand, be it with the construction of the kindergarten or building roads. If the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) finances the facility (a building containing a kindergarten and elementary school for approximately 30 children and two teachers), the village will receive corresponding state subsidies to improve and expand the currently dangerous route. This would make the way to school much easier and safer.

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.

Status October 2016:

Together with our Vietnamese partners, we used plans and cost estimates to determine what elements are needed and how urgent they are.
Looking towards the future, the village of Ban Trang is in need of the following:

  1. 1 x 1 building (2 classrooms and one room for teachers) – costs approx. 26,000 USD
  2. 1 x 1 kitchen (included in position #3)
  3. 1 x sanitary facility with 3 toilets and 3 sinks; warm water supply. Cost for kitchen and sanitary facility (#2 and #3) approx. 11,000.00 USD
  4. Equipment for the kindergarten: overall costs approx. 1,500.00 USD; including:
    1. 10 x Chair and desk set; approx. 27.90 USD each (= 279.00 USD)
    2. 10 x Chair and desk set; approx. 36.89 USD each (= 368.90 USD)
    3. 2 x Shelves at approx. 84.35 USD each (= 168.70 USD)
    4. 2 x Kindergarten cloakroom 1.2 m x 1.5m, approx. 38.25 USD each (= 76.50 USD)
    5. 2 x Shoe shelves 125 x 27 x 42 cm, approx. 14.40 USD each (= 28.80 USD)
    6. Summer and winter blankets, sleeping mats, pillows and pillowcases for 12 children (overall costs: 312.50 USD)

Overall funds needed for building, kitchen, sanitary facility and basic equipment: approx. 38,500.00 USD (or approx. 34,500.00 €).

Construction time: approx. 120 working days after placing the order.

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!

On December 13, 2016 the LO-ANH Foundation team (LOAN Stiftung) (Isabelle, Rebecca and Stephan Müller) visited (at one’s own expense and not at the expense of the foundation) the village of Ban Trang. That day, the financial support for this project through the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) was stipulated in a contract.

How will the construction materials reach Ban Trang? By moped!

Status January 2017:

The route has been widened successfully, in many places with an excavator, to facilitate the life of the local residents and supplying materials with a truck. Nonetheless, the materials still have to be transported by moped on the last part of the route before reaching the village of Ban Trang.

Status February 2017:

The foundation of the new kindergarten, kitchen and sanitary facility are standing. The first walls are in progress. The construction manager and his staff are working hard.

Status March 2017:

There has been great progress with the construction. The buildings are standing and are plastered on the outside.

Status April 2017:

At the beginning of Aprilthe buildings were tiled and painted. The electricity is working.
In mid-April the inside got its finishing touches before the furniture was delivered. The entire local community has been helping diligently and cleaning the outside area.
End of April: The written, proper handover of the premises to the Vietnamese authorities took place on April 25, 2017. All requirements were met as specified in the contract.

Status June 2017:

The LO-ANH Foundation team (LOAN Stiftung) (Isabelle Müller, Corinna Buchholz and Werner Huemer) officially approves the new building on-site on June 22, 2017. After their summer vacation, the children in Ban Trang will be able to enjoy attending their first classes in their home village. All the local residents thanked us wholeheartedly. Also, the Vietnamese Government stayed true to their promise: the route to school from Ban Trang village was not only widened, but in addition, over 2 kilometers of solid road were built! Accessibility to Ban Trang is now improved and the children are safer.

Status May, 2019:

New pictures about the daily classes in Ban Trang reach us on May 23rd, 2019 and fill our hearts with immense joy. The new school is well used and kept in excellent shape. The children and the teachers are happy.