Project No. 21 – Construction of three enclosures for the primary school of Xin Cai commune, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang Province in the north of Vietnam

Meo Vac district is 164 far from Ha Giang city, in the northeast of Vietnam. It is next to China to the north, Dong Van and Yen Minh districts to the west and Cao Bang to the south. The total land area is  57668,61 ha, among them only 22,5% agricultural area and 23%  forestry land. The district counts 14627 households (77023 people) coming from 17 ethnic minorities.              The H ´Mong ethnic minority (78%) is the largest one.

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 communes. China is its neighbor in the East (8.7 kilometers shared border). Pa Vi and Pai Lung communes are adjacent in the West. Xin Cai consists of 19 villages (6 of them are bordering China), divided into two groups. Group one has 10 hamlets (Co Tang, Tia Cho, Khai Hoang 2, Khai Hoang 3, Xin Cai, Ban Chuoi, Bo Song, Phuong Luong, Ban Trang und Tia Kinh). This group is next to Nho Que river. Group two has 9 hamlets (Lung Van Chai, Lung Thung, Sa Nhe Lu, Sua Nhe Lu, Lung Thang, Me Nang, Pao Sang, Co Lang und Ngai Tro).
Xin Cai commune is located at an altitude of 1200 meters and encompasses a total of 3,590.51 ha. 2,211.3 ha thereof are used for agriculture only, 1,200.93 ha are forest (with 968.22 ha of nature reserve) and 178.28 ha 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. .
923 households (5186 people) live in Xin Cai commune. 57,2%  (528 households) 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.
On May 11th, 2018 the LO-ANH Foundation team (LOAN Stiftung, Isabelle Müller and Corinna Buchholz) visited at one’s own expense and not at the expense of the foundation the primary school in Xin Cai commune, Meo Vac District, Ha Giang Province in the north of Vietnam. There we met i.a. our Vietnamese Partner, Mr. Van Vang, the director of the school and one  teacher. After we checked our Project No. 1 (construction of a boarding house with sanitary facilities), we make a tour on the school grounds. The director and the teacher report about the progresses the school made since we supported it.
Xin cai primary school not only got a big porch roof over the schoolyard, but with the help of the district leadership also a big roofed school canteen in which the children can eat their meals in a clean and protected area or spend their breaks. The whole courtyard has been lovely decorated and hand paintings from the pupils showing nice landscapes can be admired. Self-made arches of bamboo decorate the passage to the boarding house. The former kitchen was transformed into a well-kept library with reading room. The sooty walls have been plastered and painted anew. Big new windows give enough light. Self-made pictures of the children decorate the walls. The primary school of Xin Cai looks now like a real school. We hear that the school was actually placed third on a district competition. We are enthusiastic and want to know more: Are there some plans for the future?…
You bet! The director and the teacher bubble with enthusiasm… Together with all the remaining teachers, they have a plan, but are still limited with their financial budget. Since the boarding house with sanitary facilities and the new canteen were built, the life of the children improved immensely. The teachers keep on giving their best, trying to embellish the environment. Plants are grown in old bottles, children are allowed to paint on some outer walls. The first task, making the children want to go to school, is finally done.

 Now the teachers would like to make the children (that all come from ethnic minorities) aware of their roots. How that?… On the schoolyard there are three spots that could be enclosed with little, leafy walls. The first spot is the main entrance, the first place you see when entering the schoolyard. A nice entrance, built in the native style, would welcome  the children. The second spot is the staircase (at the back of the main building) going to the former boarding houses and habitations of the teachers. Because the construction method would be the one of the ethnic minority natives, the children would remember where they come from. They would be proud of their origin and identity. Furthermore the boarding children would be related to their families that they surely miss while they have to stay at school during the week. The third spot leads to the classrooms in the lower part of the schoolyard. Enclosed with stones and mortar, this passage would be safer for the children and nicer when planted.

The primary school of Xin Cai made tremendous progresses since we supported it and keeps on making efforts. The children are still taught how to produce honey by themselves with some own beehives. The teachers are proactive. In our opinion, it should be rewarded!:) The LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) wants therefore to support this project, in order to strengthen the identity of these children and to give them a feeling of homeland.

Together with our Vietnamese partners, we used cost estimates to determine what is needed. Looking towards the future, the primary school of Xin Cai commune is in need of the following:

3 enclosures with green areas

The costs for the construction of 3 enclosures would usually amount USD 2.000,00 (or € 1.740,00). But through the active participation of the teachers to the construction, the half of the costs can be saved. The total volume reduces itself to:

Overall funds needed: 1.000,00 USD (or approx. 870,00 €)

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 October, 2018: Already in July, 2018 a family from Duisburg contacted us and sponsored with a donation the whole project (Thank you very much for your  help!:)). On October 6th, 2018 a two person team of the LO-ANH Foundation team (LOAN Stiftung) (Isabelle Müller and Corinna Buchholz) visited (at one’s own expense and not at the expense of the foundation) the primary school in Xin Cai commune. The enclosures and stairs are almost finished and look beautiful. After completion of the construction works at the end of November, we will report again.

Status November, 2018: The project was realized successfully on time at the end of November, 2018.

Status March, 2019: On March 18th, 2019 the LO-ANH Foundation (LOAN Stiftung) team (Isabelle Müller, Corinna Buchholz and Truc Pham) visits (at one’s own expenses and not at the expenses of the foundation) the commune of Xin Cai, Meo Vac district, Ha Giang province. We visit the primary school of Xin Cai and check the state of the enclosures that have been sponsored. They look great and are very robust. We are satisfied!:)

Status October, 2019: Our Team visits on October 30th, 2019 Xin Cai. The new stairs and walls are in good shape. Everybody is happy. We are satisfied!:)