4 min read
Can you imagine moving from a tiny rural village in Vietnam to take a job in a big city?
Can you imagine doing it without savings? Without wider family support?
Now imagine taking your child with you. The whole point is to find work but who looks after the child?
Just how does Vietnam address challenges prompted by urban migration? Its need to find workers for factories? Specifically, how does Vietnam continue to grow AND look after its children?
In 2017, OneSky opened its Early Learning Centre (ELC) in Da Nang, Vietnam. Located in the heart of the city’s factory zone, the centre was established to care for the children of rural migrants, from six months to six years old.
The ELC currently cares for 250 children, but already its influence is reaching thousands more.
For most low-salaried working parents in Vietnam, the best option for childcare has long been home-based daycare providers. Often overcrowded, under-resourced, with poor facilities and little training – horror-stories regularly appear in the Vietnamese media.
However, the pragmatic approach is not to replace this existing system but to improve the quality. In 2018, 80 home-based carers studied childcare and development with OneSky in Da Nang. Another 240 will follow from the surrounding area.
So far this has impacted the lives of 2,595 children. Now tens of thousands more will follow, as OneSky training is provided to home-based carers across another 19 provinces in Vietnam.
From the outset this pilot program has impressed. Why?
Because it has so many wins:
- Children are safe, happy and learning.
- Parents have peace of mind and more women can enter the workforce.
- Factories increase output.
- Vietnam’s economy grows.
- The future – children grow into better-educated adults.
Meanwhile, the program’s ability to scale means it can reach Vietnam’s 300+ industrial zones.
As factories and exports grow, infrastructure develops and living standards improve – children’s lives can also change for the better. Once enjoyed, early childhood education can never be taken away. The same applies to lessons learned by local caregivers.
OneSky’s support goes further. The launch of a learning portal means caregivers continue to access learning materials. As they learn, communities are being formed amongst peers to offer support and advice. New standards are set and expectations rise as to what constitutes good childcare.
This is what impressed the Lorinet Foundation, which is now co-funding OneSky’s Vietnam project scaling with the Octava Foundation. OneSky was assessed using Lorinet’s nine-point criteria for selecting partners and projects. Lorinet praised the program’s practical and scalable nature while addressing the problem at a systemic level. For Octava it chimed with their own vision of empowering children and youth to be given equal opportunities to excel.
The Lorinet Foundation connected with OneSky at the DealShare platform at AVPN’s annual conference. This platform allowed OneSky to highlight our Vietnam project to potential funders while demonstrating track record and credibility via endorsement from current AVPN members and funders.
We are so excited about our work in Vietnam. To visit the ELC in Da Nang and see children blossoming is an absolute joy. Now it’s scaling fast. We are reaching thousands more.
What we are learning in Vietnam will most likely be applied next in Mongolia. There the cultural context is different but the challenge remains the same… how best to bring the OneSky Approach to very young children who need us.
We always need people who believe in what we do. This program is changing so many lives. We are delighted it has inspired funders to come together and partner with OneSky to make it happen. The future is exciting.