In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year, or Tet, is traditionally a time for families to come together and celebrate the year ahead. However, just like last year, Covid-related travel restrictions, as well as financial hardship, kept thousands of children and families apart.
To help alleviate the emotional and financial strain at a time that should be one of joy, staff from the OneSky Early Learning Center (ELC) visited migrant families in the Lien Chieu, Hoa Vang, and Son Tra districts at the end of January, to bring them gifts of food.
In collaboration with the Da Nang City Labor Federation, OneSky provided essentials of rice and instant noodles, as well as marinated pork and pickled vegetables, handmade by the OneSky ELC kitchen staff.
The families were extremely grateful. Like Tuyet, a migrant worker from the province of Ha Tinh, over 400 kilometers from Da Nang. She has always struggled financially but life has become even harder following the passing of her husband and Covid-forced closures of the factory where she works.
“Every day is a struggle since my husband died of a stroke. And with the factory closed for two months, my two children and I have had to live off the minimal payout from the employment insurance, which is two million VND (about $90/month) a month. Some days, the three of us share a pack of instant noodles between us. Today, I’m bringing home some meat, I know my children will be happy.”
2021 was a particularly difficult year for factory workers in Da Nang, the location of the ELC, OneSky’s national training and demonstration center in Vietnam. The crowded industrial zones of the city became Covid hotspots due to the high number of residents living in rented houses and working in cramped factory buildings.
While the schools were closed for seven months as the city tried to control the Covid outbreaks, OneSky’s dedicated teachers did all they could to support the families of the 252 children enrolled at the ELC. As well, the Center has played a vital role in supporting the wider community, with staff and teachers collecting and donating food and provisions throughout the year.
In July, when the neighborhood was under a stringent lockdown, OneSky staff helped those fighting Covid in their ward by distributing food and water to 30 local checkpoints.
In October, working in partnership with Amcham Da Nang, OneSky raised funds to provide each child at the ELC with an emergency package that included rice, snacks, notebooks, and clothes. There were also extra gifts for some families experiencing particularly difficult times.
And again in December, just before New Year’s Eve, OneSky provided milk and warm clothes to all 252 children to keep them warm in winter and help ease the toll of the extended lockdown.
The parents of the children were extremely grateful for the emotional and financial support provided. Thanh, the parent of a 15-month-old boy said:
“We would like to send our deep gratitude to the staff of the OneSky ELC for their continuous care and understanding of the heavy burden our parents have carried throughout the epidemic. The teachers and staff have taken every opportunity to reach out to the community and you’ve always saved the best things for the children. We wish you all to stay healthy and safe and we can’t wait to see everyone in person soon.”
With Vietnam’s vaccination rate rapidly increasing and more than 90% of adults immunized twice, the government has ordered all secondary schools and high schools to prepare for reopening after the Lunar New Year. Hopefully, kindergartens will open soon as well and 2022 will be a better year for the hardworking parents and their children who attend OneSky’s ELC.