Checking out the school kits

Helping Vietnam’s Impoverished Elementary Schools With School Supplies

Written By:

Post Date – Update:

Imagine living in a poor mountain village in North Vietnam, and your parents are farmers who can barely make a living by growing corn and other vegetables on the mountainside. Every day, you may need to walk for over 2 hours on small mountain paths in all kinds of weather to get to the nearest town to attend school.

There are many impoverished schoolchildren in Vietnam, especially in many of the villages and mountain areas of North Vietnam. Mondoro works closely with Project Sprouts, a Hanoi-based charity organization whose primary focus is to help impoverished elementary schools in Vietnam. Project Sprouts primarily focuses on providing Vietnamese elementary students with school supplies, winter coats, and boots. We also help give the teachers additional teaching supplies.

Table of Contents

Supporting Vietnam’s Underprivileged Elementary Schools with Educational Resources

Picture a humble village nestled in the mountains of Northern Vietnam, where children of hardworking farmers traverse challenging paths for over two hours each day, braving various weather conditions to reach their school in the nearest town. This is a common reality for many young students in Vietnam, particularly in the rural and mountainous regions of the north.

Mondoro is actively engaged in a collaboration with Project Sprouts, a charity organization based in Hanoi dedicated to assisting underprivileged elementary schools across Vietnam.

The primary mission of Project Sprouts is to equip these young learners with essential school supplies, as well as winter clothing and footwear, to enhance their educational experience. Additionally, this initiative extends its support to educators by providing them with vital teaching resources.

We believe that seeking to help our communities is very important. We love this quote by Mother Theresa:

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

Mother Teresa

And that is what we are trying to do by helping these impoverished school children through our work with Project Sprouts. We are working to find a way to leave our part of the world somehow a better place and a bit happier.

To learn more about Project Sprouts and their work, you can visit their website by clicking here.

Project Sprouts – Helping Vietnam’s Elementary Schools

We chose to work with Project Sprouts because their main focus is to help impoverished children and schools in North Vietnam. Project Sprouts is a 100% volunteer organization of Vietnamese and foreigners whose main focus is on helping these worthy children.

Project Sprouts focuses on helping these impoverished communities and partners with other organizations and groups working to make a difference. Mondoro and the staff at Mondoro are all actively involved in making a difference.

School hall in Vietnam

A typical school hall in a Vietnamese school.

Project Sprouts And Vietnam’s Elementary School’s Support

Project Sprouts – School Supply Packets for Elementary School Children

Many Elementary school children cannot afford even basic school supplies like a pencil or pen. Even if they could afford them, many of them live so far up the mountainside that it can take them 1 or 2 hours to get to a store that would sell some school supplies.

This is why Project Sprouts helps give the children a school supply kit which includes:

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • White Chalk
  • Colored Paper
  • Notebooks
  • Colored Chalk
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Crayons
  • Ruler
  • Eraser
  • Children’s Scissors
  • Glue Sticks
  • Student Chalkboard.

Students in Vietnam will use a small student-sized chalkboard to write on for things like practicing how to write their letters or alphabet. Every child in a Vietnamese school must use this chalkboard.

Many of these same students have never had any extras such as crayons, colored drawing paper, a glue stick, or even children’s size scissors. That is why Project Sprouts also gives the students extra school supplies.

Project Sprouts – Winter Coats and Boots

Many of these same at-risk children also do not have proper winter coats or boots to come to school with. It can get cold in the mountains of Vietnam; sometimes, it may even snow – though the snow does not stay on the ground.

Yet, these children often walk to school in a pair of plastic flip-flops or shoes at least 5 or 6 sizes too large for their tiny feet. This is because it is the only shoe that they own.

Project Sprouts winter coats.
Some students received a Project Sprouts winter coat.

Project Sprouts will also donate a nice new winter coat and a pair of rubber boots to the children. Many times, we also have hats and socks to give the children.

We know our winter coats and boots are being used, as each year we will have a new coat design, and when we get back to a village a year or so later, we still see our past winter coats being worn and used.

Project Sprouts – Slightly used clothing, toys, and other household items.

Project Sprouts will contact the foreign or expatriate community in Hanoi and accept donations for slightly used clothing, toys, and other household items. Mondoro’s office in Hanoi is one of the drop-off locations and the main sorting location for all these slightly used items.

Some of the items we accept:

  • Slightly used clothing – We will accept all kinds of used clothing in all sizes for men, women, and children. As sometimes we have an abundance of used clothing, we may also give some to our partner organizations, such as Hanoi Homeless or Blue Dragon – an organization that helps street children and girls who have once been sold as sex slaves.
  • Shoes – We will accept slightly used shoes, especially children’s shoes.
  • Toys – We love to receive toys since many children in these areas do not have many toys.
  • Household items – We accept household items but have received many blankets, sheets, towels, and other linens. We may give much of these to the Hanoi homeless to distribute to some people living on the street, especially during the colder winter months.
  • Books – Schools here in Vietnam have no library, so we love to receive some books to give to the schools and the children.
Village women getting clothes
Hmong women in the villages get some of Project Sprout’s slightly used clothing.

Vietnam’s Elementary Students – Why We Help Them

There are many reasons why many of these children and the elementary schools in Vietnam need help from an organization like Project Sprouts. Some of the reasons are:

Some Vietnamese Parents Can’t Afford The School Fees

Many parents are so poor they live off less than 1 USD per day, so it is challenging for them to afford the school fees. Though Elementary school is free, other fees are still associated with attending school in Vietnam. The local school and government will usually waive the poorest children’s fees for these poor children.

But even if education is free, the children still need to have things to go to school with to study. This is where Project Sprouts comes in to help them by giving them school supplies to help support their study.

Students Shoes Vietnam
The student’s shoes outside a school in North Vietnam.

In Some Vietnamese Villages, There Are No School Supplies

There are no stores in many of these villages to purchase school supplies. The schools are so far up in the mountains that there is no proper road to get to the mountain areas.

For many of these children, getting something as simple as a proper pen or even a pencil may be a 1 or 2-hour journey. And it could be even further to find other supplies like crayons, markers, colored paper, or glue sticks.

This is also why Project Sprouts works with some partner organizations to help us deliver to some of these very remote areas. Some of these areas are so remote that the supplies must be brought in by a mountain bike or a 4-wheel drive truck. And those trucks or mountain bikes will have to cross mountain streams and climb steep mountainsides.

Vietnamese Teachers Have A Limited Budget

Most teachers we have met at the schools have minimal supplies. Usually, they will get a few chalk boxes, some pens and pencils, and a ream of paper for the entire school year.

Some of these same teachers may have to travel 26 or 27 kilometers up mountain roads to teach their classes in all kinds of weather. Sometimes, they must put chains on their motorcycles to get up the muddy mountain roads.

The teachers we have met in the villages and mountain schools have all been very dedicated. Some sleep on the school floor or in the classrooms as they cannot travel home daily due to hardship and distance.

We have also seen teachers teaching in classrooms without a proper toilet anywhere on the school grounds or in a classroom with broken windows, broken desks, or a leaky roof. Or teachers who have no electricity in their classroom, so in the summer months, they teach in the hot, humid classroom without even a fan.

Teaching in Vietnamese schools.
A teacher in a small country hill tribe school in the mountains of North Vietnam,

We like to consider these many Vietnamese teachers unsung heroes and heroines. Men and women are highly dedicated to teaching in some of the most challenging situations that teachers can be asked to teach. We believe they deserve our support.

Project Sprouts will give these teachers additional school supplies to make their lives easier and help them with their teaching. We give them pencils, pens, markers, paper, extra chalk, and other supplies.

Vietnam Can Have Some Cold Winters

Winters can get very cold in North Vietnam. In the mountains, the cold can be a bitter wet cold that will pierce through your body right to the bone. Many school children will walk long distances to school in freezing rain and cold weather with hardly a proper winter coat and only a flimsy pair of plastic flip-flop sandals on their bare feet.

We have seen children lined up outside in the cold with nothing on their feet as they did not have a proper pair of shoes. We have also seen these same children without a proper winter coat.

This is why Project Sprouts gives winter coats and boots to these needy children. We believe they not only deserve it, but they need it.

Some Vietnamese Villagers Need Clothes

There are so many in the world who have so much and others that have so little. That is why Project Sprouts also works to help redistribute slightly used items to many communities and areas that can use them.

We recently sent up a bag of used clothing to some mountains outside Sapa, Vietnam. In that bag was a Disney princess dress. The girls who saw this were so thrilled. They knew all about the Disney princess, and it was a real prize for them to get a dress.

Getting a new dress.
A young Hmong girl receives a new dress.

Mondoro is heavily involved in this as our garage is filled with all these slightly used items. Many of the Mondoro staff help to sort and check them. Others help to arrange the trucking and distribution of all these items.

We appreciate this aspect of Project Sprouts as there is no place here in Hanoi for expatriates and local Vietnamese to give away items they no longer need or use. This not only helps to give things to those in need but also helps out the entire community so that nothing goes to waste that can then be redistributed to those who need it most.

When we think of Project Sprouts and the small part that we can play in helping to make a difference in the lives of these children, we like to remember the words of Demond Tutu:

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

Desmond Tutu

If we all work together to do a bit of good in the world, we can all work to help make this world a better place. This is our goal as we work together with Project Sprouts.

Find out more about how Mondoro can help you create, develop, and manufacture excellent home decor and furniture products – don’t hesitate to contact me, Anita. Check out my email by clicking here or become a part of our community and join our newsletter by clicking here.

Mondoro gives out a FREE Lookbook to anyone interested. You can receive a copy of our latest Lookbook by clicking here.

Listen to our Podcast called Global Trade GalYou can find it on all major podcast platforms. Try out listening to one of our podcasts by clicking here. 

Subscribe to our Mondoro Company Limited YouTube Channel with great videos and information by clicking here.

Listen To Our Podcast About Sprouting Hope: Transforming Lives in Vietnam’s Mountain Villages Below or By clicking here.

A picture of a young girl receive a school supplies

Frequently Asked Questions

Is school free in Vietnam?

The answer to this is yes, but also no. Education in Vietnam is not 100% free. The Vietnamese constitution promises that elementary school is free for all children. But even though this is in the constitution, school fees, such as uniforms, school supplies, and other miscellaneous fees, still need to be paid.
Even though the parents still need to pay some fees, I have been to many Vietnamese elementary schools and seen some outstanding principals working very hard to get the children who are not in school back in school.
In some hill tribe mountain areas, the children are not in school and may not always be money; in many of those areas, the fees may be waived. The reason these children are not in school can be very complicated. It could be that their parents need the children at home to care for younger siblings, or the distance is too far for a child to attend school.

How long is the school day in Vietnam?

Children in Vietnam usually go to school six days a week. Many times, Saturday is just half a day. School starts in about mid-August and will go from the end of May to the beginning of June.
Many Vietnamese parents who can afford it will send their children to extra classes all day Saturday and Sunday. So many Vietnamese children will study seven days a week.

What is the structure of the Vietnamese education system?

The Vietnamese education system consists of five levels: preschool, primary school (grades 1-5), secondary school (grades 6-9), high school (grades 10-12), and higher education. Primary education is compulsory for children starting at age 6.

Are school uniforms mandatory in Vietnamese schools?

es, most schools in Vietnam require students to wear uniforms. The design and color of these uniforms can vary depending on the school, but they generally aim to promote a sense of equality and discipline among students.

What languages are taught in Vietnamese schools?

Vietnamese is the primary language of instruction in schools. English is a mandatory second language, starting from the primary level, and other foreign languages like French, Chinese, or Japanese may be offered in some schools.

How is the academic year structured in Vietnam?

The academic year in Vietnam typically runs from September to May, divided into two semesters. There are short breaks between the semesters and a longer summer break from June to August.

What is the role of technology in Vietnamese education?

Technology is increasingly integrated into Vietnamese education, with schools utilizing digital tools for teaching and learning. However, access to technology can vary greatly, especially between urban and rural areas.

What challenges do Vietnamese schools face?

Challenges include disparities in educational quality between urban and rural areas, limited resources in impoverished regions, and the need to continually update the curriculum and teaching methods to keep pace with global educational standards.

Don’t Confuse Activity With Productivity & Other Myths

Being busy or having a lot of activities and things to do is not the same thing as productivity. Productivity is when you do those activities and things that help you focus on the company’s growth. Busyness or being busy is not the same thing as being productive.

You can discover more by reading Don’t Confuse Activity With Productivity & Other Myths by clicking here.

What Is Quietly Quitting? 8 Reasons Why It Is a Bad Idea

Quietly quitting is when workers decide to do no more than what is required. They decide that they will do the bare minimum. Quietly quitting started in China and was known as “lying down.” We do not believe “quietly quitting” is a good idea since it hurts the employee or the employer – both get hurt by this behavior.

You can discover more by reading What Is Quietly Quitting? 8 Reasons Why It Is a Bad Idea by clicking here.

8 Reasons Productivity Makes You Happy

There are many ways that productivity can help to make you happy. Studies have shown that some of the most productive people are also the most content. Productive people accomplish things, learn new things, achieve goals, and do the other things in life that help ensure they are effective and happy. The good news is that productivity can help to make you happy. 

By clicking here, you can discover more by reading 8 Reasons Productivity Makes You Happy.

Anita Hummel
Follow Me

Share Our Post On: