Transforming Lives through Improving Education Facilities in Vietnam’s Highlands

Join Us in Enhancing Preschool Facilities for Ethnic Minority Children in Gia Lai, Vietnam.

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Progress: 99%

Funds raised so far: 99%

In the heart of the Vietnamese Highlands, the nursery school in Chuet Ngol is a victim of its success. This year, one hundred poor children between the ages of 2 and 5 are welcomed into just 2 classes. Madam Diem Ly, who has been a volunteer program manager for Children of the Mekong for twenty years, asked for our support. Therefore, we will support the construction and material equipment of a new 132m2 classroom, as well as sanitary facilities for the 5yearold children.

The objective is to allow these children from the ethnic minorities Jarai and Bahnarto receive the best possible education before moving into the ‘Lop 1’ class (the equivalent of First Grade in the USA). 

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Location: Chuet Ngol, Gia Lai, Vietnam
Location: Chuet Ngol, Gia Lai, Vietnam

How your donation impact the children in Gia Lai

1- Improving Education for Ethnic Minorities: Enhancing learning conditions and access to education for children from isolated rural villages belonging to ethnic minorities.

2- Fighting Illiteracy and Dropout Rates: Focusing on the critical learning years from 0 to 6 to combat illiteracy and school dropout rates

3- Complementing Existing Efforts: This project aligns seamlessly with Children of the Mekong’s school sponsorships, ensuring all children, regardless of family situations, social conditions, or ethnic origins, can access education.

Why is preschool so important for ethnic minorities children?

In Vietnam, 85% of the population belongs to the Kinh ethnic group, leaving the remaining 15% divided among 53 ethnic minorities, each with its distinct language, culture, and traditions. Chuet Ngol, near Pleiku in Gia Lai, is home to a substantial Jarai and Bahnar community. For these minority children, school presents a challenge because the instruction is in Vietnamese, the language of the Kinh ethnic group, not their native language. School dropout rates, notably among minorities, begin in the primary school years. Compulsory education begins at age 6, and when Jarai and Bahnar children enter school, they may encounter Vietnamese for the first time. Some struggle to overcome the language barrier, progressing through classes without mastering reading and writing skills. Since teachers face penalties if students repeat a grade, young individuals can reach college without acquiring essential skills like reading, writing, and mathematics.

Diem Ly, the manager of this construction project, is committed to support Jarai and Bahnar ethnic minorities to overcome the ethnicity barrier. For years, she has prioritised the education of the youngest children, recognising that early education is key to future success.

In impoverished families, young children often do not attend preschool because there is a fee for nursery school classes. Free classes only begin at age 6 in First Grade. Consequently, when parents go to work, they leave their youngest children in the village. It is not uncommon to encounter groups of unsupervised, and very young children.

For the most disadvantaged families, enrolling their child in one of Diem Ly’s nursery classes is a lifeline. These classes are free and provide children with a balanced meal daily, along with two snacks. Children are introduced to Vietnamese, learn the alphabet, and explore mathematics, all while developing their motor skills. Furthermore, the teachers in these nursery classes come from Jarai and Bahnar minorities themselves, facilitating mutual understanding.

All of this empowers children from ethnic minorities, on the fringes of Vietnamese society, to regain their self-confidence, take pride in their culture, and become open to the Kinh majority ethnic group’s culture, from a young age.

Nursery class set up by Diem Ly
Nursery class set up by Diem Ly


Madam Diem Ly
Madam Diem Ly Local Project Manager

Meet Madam Diem Ly, a confident fifty-year-old originally hailing from the imperial town of Hue. In 1992, Diem Ly felt a deep calling to live among ethnic minorities and aid the most underprivileged. Fast forward to today, and her dedication has made a significant impact. Through Diem Ly’s efforts and her team of social workers, Children of the Mekong now supports 448 children across eleven sponsorship programs.

A Glimpse into the Project Through Photographs

As we embark on this transformative journey, let’s take a closer look at the current state of the school through these compelling photographs. The tireless efforts of Diem Ly have propelled the project forward, with work already underway. However, to turn this vision into reality, we currently face a financial gap of $9,000 that needs your support to bridge.

The children of Chuet Ngol need a new classroom and facilities to be able to thrive in the right environment. You can help us support this initiative from Diem Ly.

If you are an American taxpayer, click on the link, and choose “Give2Asia” to donate, so you will receive a tax receipt for your donation.


Marie Herbinet
Marie Herbinet USA Coordinator Contact