|“I like my club because I can play |
sports here,” says 12-year-old
Luan who attends a children's
club in Vietnam.
Seventeen-year-old Ly Thi Duc’s
mission is clear. The boys and girls of the children’s club in the province of Bac Kan in Vietnam need to understand the dangers of swimming in their local stream.
“I like jumping into the stream from the bridge,” one young boy told Duc. “I’m not afraid; living or dying is a fate.”
Other children told Duc that even though they couldn’t swim well or at all, they would still go to the stream, “because going with the group is so much fun.”
These comments gave Duc the opportunity to use the skills he learned in courses supported by ChildFund International to educate younger children in her community to stay safe while still having fun. He also teaches them safe swimming. Duc learned about child injury prevention, traffic laws and other topics related to child rights, as well as how to facilitate workshops.
The children’s clubs are initiated by the Child Protection Program of ChildFund Vietnam in support of enhancing a safe and healthy environment for children in less fortunate communities to develop to their full potential.
After two years of piloting the program in the Cao Phong and Bach Thong areas, both about 100 miles from Vietnam’s capital, the children’s club model was revised and rolled out into eight other communities in Vietnam.
It has attracted roughly 5,000 children as participants this year. The clubs help Vietnam’s children find a common meeting area for play and growth.
In addition to Duc’s swimming class, the children are involved in educational and recreational activities such as reading books and playing sports. Children also plan community activities, including helping the elderly, cleaning up the village and planting trees.
“I like my club because I can play sports here,” says 12-year-old Luan. “I also like the lessons. I found the lesson about burn is very useful. Now I know more about burns.”
The clubs attest to the creative management skills and capability of children to organize themselves. Children have established their own management board and selected members from among themselves to coordinate activities considering group discussions.
Bui Thi Beo, a 76-year-old woman in one of the communities, appreciates how the club has helped her and her community.
“I can’t find words to say thanks to the little kids,” she says. “They are very good. They help me with a lot and it makes such an old person like me feel very happy. I wish to live longer to see the kids grow up. I believe they will become good people.”