How OneSky is supporting Vietnam to pursue safer and more affordable childcare for its workers

A month after 80 childcare workers enrolled in OneSky’s professional training course in Hai Duong, the province became the center of Vietnam’s “third wave” of Covid-19 outbreaks — its biggest to date.

This resulted in the provincial capital being locked down for 35 days, with the wider province closed for 15. For the home-based childcare workers, who had signed up to train with OneSky, there was no way of knowing how long they’d be unable to learn.

These are the women who look after Vietnam’s factory workers’ children. For some, it starts with caring for a single child before they discover they have a talent for the work. Few have any recognized qualifications.

Now, with Hai Duong open again, the latest cohort are back to the classroom for early childhood training provided by OneSky in partnership with the Vietnamese Government.

“For weeks, all eyes in Vietnam were on Hai Duong,” said OneSky Vietnam Program Director Vo Thi Hien. “We kept in touch and we sent our heartfelt encouragement but many of the home based childcarers lost all their income as kids were kept home with parents.

“And now we’re back. And nobody needs to be told just how valuable childcare and this group of women are.”

Back in training in Hai Duong

Vietnam’s successes in fighting Covid-19 have seen its economy continue to grow. With its factories relying on rural migrant workers, without local extended family, there is a critical and growing need in the country for the provision of high quality child care.

Now, having opened its own Early Learning Center in Da Nang in 2017, OneSky is working to roll out government-endorsed childcare training to 19 provinces across Vietnam.

Each “home-based childcare worker” (HBC) attends 20 in-class sessions plus additional home visits. This usually takes place at the weekend with some evening study. For many trainees, it’s their first opportunity to study their chosen profession.

Childcarers in Hoa Vang training with OneSky (and top)

With training restarted in Hai Duong, it follows HBC training in the Hoa Vang and Cam Le district on the outskirts of Da Nang.

Speaking at that launch of the Hai Duong training, Nguyen Ho Quynh Trang, Director of the Department of Education and Training Hoa Vang district, told the HBC: “Although I have trained extensively in early childhood education and worked in the field for many years, I still find so many new things to learn from OneSky. I’m sure this inspiring and engaging training course is of value for all teachers and anyone who works with children, especially our home-care providers.”

To date, training has taken place in Lien Chieu, Son Tra, Cam Le and Hoa Vang in Da Nang province; Dien Ban and Duy Xuyen in Quang Nam province; and Hai Duong city and Tu Ky in Hai Duong province.

Sponsorship from the Lorinet Foundation meant childcarers attending in Cam Le and Hoa Vang each received tablet computers enabling them to log onto OneSky’s “One Big Family” online resources. OneSky is seeking additional sponsorship for tablets for caregivers in other provinces.

Childcare training in Hai Duong – before the 2021 lockdown.

A OneSky childcare conference at the turn of the year also prioritized the welfare of the workers themselves who were told: “To take good care of children, first of all, you need to know how to spend time nurturing and taking care of your own physical and mental health.”

OneSky’s mission is to teach communities and caregivers to provide nurturing and responsive care and early education that unlocks the vast hidden potential in our world’s vulnerable children.

“These are very young children, and they are our future,” added Vo Thi Hien. “This investment pays immediately. Skills for childcarers, assistance for workers, it grows our economy and our country. But it also helps shape what Vietnam will be like decades from now.”

Read more about OneSky in Vietnam.

OneSky’s Childcare conference in Da Nang.