Helping Ethnic Minorities in the Central Highlands
VNAH and HealthEd recognize that the ethnic minority population concentrated in the Central Highlands are among the poorest and most in need of assistance of any group in Viet-Nam. They often lack adequate schools, health clinics, or means to earn a living wage. Few outside donors or international non-governmental organizations operate in these areas. These are the reasons VNAH and HealthEd have decided to work closely with the local provincial departments of labor, invalids and social affairs to provide assistance to the ethnic minority populations. Direct contributions have been the principal source permitting VNAH and HealthEd to address these concerns. With the assistance and cooperation of the local authorities, VNAH and HealthEd have recently provided 10 computers to the boarding high school, completed a midwife training program, a new kindergarten, and several water wells.
The midwife training course is a joint project of HealthEd and the Medical School of the Kon Tum Province Department of Health. The course provides thirty ethnic minority village healthcare workers in the Province with basic knowledge of health care, hygiene, pre and post-natal care, delivery procedures, and nutrition.
The village healthcare workers who participated in the training course were from remote mountainous villages where health care facilities, medical skills, and medicine are scarce. The indigenous women depend on midwives at the time of birth. There is a high infant mortality rate in the region since few, if any, of the traditional midwives have had any formal medical training. The issue is further complicated by a lack of health care facilities, medical skills, and medicines.
During a brief completion ceremony last October, HealthEd provided each trainee a first-aid kit of medical supplies consisting of a scale, stethoscope, scissors, bandages and other basic sterile instruments.
Schools Opening in Khe Sanh and Nui Thanh
HealthEd and VNAH provided funding and coordination in the construction of two elementary schools during the past summer. Both were turnkey projects and provide a place of education for over 800 students from 6 – 13 years of age.
The Tich Tay Elementary School in Nui Thanh district, Quang Nam Province, was delivered to local education authorities in August 2002. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place with the participation of local officials and Mr. Nghiem Xuan Tue, Vice Director of the International Relations Department of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA).
The second school was completed and delivered on October 3, 2002. The Tan Hop Elementary School in Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province (DMZ) will serve more than 400 children, about 35% of whom are ethnic minorities. The school has a large playground and a barrier-free access ramp for children with disabilities.
The U.S. Ambassador to Viet-Nam, Mr. Raymond Burghardt, joined with local officials and the representative from MOLISA, Mr. Nghiem Xuan Tue, Vice Director of the International Relations Department, at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Ambassador Burghardt and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ha Noi have contributed $1,500 to VNAH/HealthEd to construct a well on the school’s property to provide clean water for the children.
Portable Water and Improved Education for Ethnic Minorities
To promote better health and education of ethnic minorities VNAH and HealthEd donated ten computers to Kon Ray Boarding High School, constructed ten village water supply systems and a kindergarten school in the mountainous Kon Tum Province villages of Ngoc Tem and Dak Rve.
Each new water system includes a well, an electric pump, and a storage tank. The ten wells will benefit over 1,000 people. The wells will provide safe clean drinking water to these communities, thus reducing the threat of waterborne diseases.
In September 2002, VNAH & HealthEd funded a kindergarten, which will serve approximately 50 children from Dak Rve Commune. This school will be supplied with a well water system, teaching aids and toys.