It’s November and a month to be grateful and give thanks for every blessing we enjoy. In honor of that theme, we’d like to formally thank the many guests who have supported our efforts with Room to Read’s programs in Cambodia and Vietnam. Thanks to the generosity of our guests, we’ve been able to fund a library at a local primary school, Vinh Dai, in Long An Province, located approximately 40km outside of Saigon in the Vietnam countryside. Vinh Dai is one of 262 primary schools in this province and, with the help of Aqua Expeditions guests has established itself as one of the places to visit in Vietnam during future river cruises.
Vinh Dai program is part of a bigger vision by Room to Read in Vietnam. Vietnam became Room to Read’s second country of operation in 2001 and in 2015, joined with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education to launch the “Friendly Primary School Library Program” in Vietnamese primary schools across the country. This program now uses Room to Read’s librarian training model, program practices and library period curriculum allowing great consistency and a higher standard for instruction in reading and literacy in Vietnam. Room to Read has established 40 libraries to date in Long An province. And due to the effectiveness of Room to Read’ library model, the Long An Department of Education and Training has replicated the library model to 22 other primary schools across 9 districts.
Vinh Dai serves an impoverished, rural agricultural community where children are often forced to drop out of school to help their families earn income by cultivating rice, pineapples and mangos to sell at local food markets. The Vinh Dai Primary School is a critical resource for the community’s children in grades one through five and is staffed with 19 primary school teachers with a total staff of 27.
Propelled by a donation of over $10,000 by Aqua Expeditions’ Vietnam luxury cruise guests, the Vinh Dai library includes over 1,600 books as well as funding furniture, games, classroom accessories and learning tools for the 393 young students attending primary school. These Vietnam luxury cruise guest donations have spurred philanthropy among the parent community as well. The Parents’ Committee at Vinh Dai has donated 18.500.000 VND to purchase books and renovate the facility of the library and each year has pledged to donate 6.000.000 VND to help sustain and develop the library.
The library program has significantly increased the frequency of library visits, as well as contributing to a more engaged student body and more rapid learning of the Vietnamese language by the young students. In Reading Periods, students join together enthusiastically and share information about the books they read and create pictures to express their love to reading.
In your search for more places to visit in Vietnam, why not contribute to a greater cause and book your Mekong River voyage with Aqua Expeditions today.
Our guests and members of our Mekong team at Aqua Expeditions joined in the fun when school kicked off on a typical day: