THE FUNDAMENTAL CONDITION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Mekong Plus runs several programs in schools as this is a very effective way for community development.
Mekong Plus believes health education at school has a huge impact. The program has been running since 1996: teachers’ training, production of exercise books for primary school children, practical activities at school (latrines, cleanliness and hygiene).
Example: every week all children brush their teeth together on the school playground; children are responsible for the cleanliness of the school toilets… An eye sight examination is organized every two years. Tens of thousands children are covered by the program, their health improves (the monitoring covers ten specific criteria). Since 2008, the program has expanded to cover more than 200.000 children.
Mekong Plus is also working to improve school infrastructure (access to water, latrines clean …).
THE "HAPPY ROOM"
Since 2008 Mekong Plus has developed an inclusive education program. It aims to adapt the school to all children, even those with specific needs.
By training teachers and organizing special classes in the “happy rooms” Mekong Plus integrates children who usually are not admitted at school because they suffer from some disabilities. Each child is followed as a specific case. After a few months the children show great progress.
But when there are less than 3-4 children with special needs in a school, it is more economical to provide support at home. Mekong Plus and village assistants visit the children at home for one hour a week. A lesson is given, customized for each child, and with at least one parent present so the education is continued every day by the family.
Since 2018, a new dedicated centre in Dúc Linh
Providing service at home is expensive and difficult. The Dúc Linh team has set up a new program with well trained staff. It takes place at a well-equipped office and the parents attend and contribute according to their capacity. Today half the expenses are thus covered
OPEN COMPUTER TRAINING CENTERS AND LIBRARIES
IT is part of the curriculum in Vietnam but rural schools rarely have computers for this training. The children learn from the blackboard and take notes …
Mekong Plus provides reconditioned computers. 69 schools have been equipped each with at least 10 computers. At each site, two technicians have been trained in maintenance. Students pay 9 euros for a cycle to cover operating costs, but the poorest are exempt. Each year, over 18,000 children are concerned.
Schools are almost always devoid of a library.
Mekong Plus offers schools to provide books –the school covers half the costs. It’s Duc Linh that the results are most impressive: 27 libraries, 8382 books provided (about 0.4 euro each), each read an average of 3 times a month.
GENDER & SEX EDUCATION
Last but not least, because domestic violence, human trafficking are crucial issues in Vietnam and Cambodia as well. Plus abortions are frequent amongst young people. So we have launched a gender and sex education program in lower secondary schools. It covers tens of thousands children every year.
In schools also, students may be the victims of conflict and violence. Mekong Plus has developed training to reduce violence and misunderstandings related to gender and sex. These courses are aimed at teachers and educators who, in turn, are helping the students. Recently, they are part of the curriculum and develop cognitive, emotional, interpersonal and social skills for managing the challenges of life in the community.