In recent years, the Vietnamese government undoubtedly has improved schooling infrastructure by providing State-financed schools even in rural areas. Still, some gaps remain and due to poor road infrastructure in some remote villages children’s access to schools is still limited in many areas. Sao Bien solely focusses on these remote villages, some of which are not even connected to the national electricity grid and not accessible during the rainy season.
Sometimes lessons must be cancelled due to rain or storm. In some cases, buildings are not safe and pose a safety risk to children. In some cases, the commute to school is too long which prevents children from attending lessons regularly.
Sao Bien embraces close cooperation with local authorities and local
people. This cooperation ensures that each school addresses the local needs of each specific village. Furthermore, we aim to involve the local people in implementation of each school to reduce the overall costs and increase the local people’s connection with the school, for example, assistance with transporting building material to the construction site or other preparation works. We have found that the involvement of local parents in development of the schools results in parents becoming more aware of the importance of education and higher attendance rates.
Agreements with local authorities ensure proper use of schools after completion. Teachers are provided by local authorities.
From field trip to opening ceremony
A typical project consists of two classrooms, toilets, and, depending on the village’s needs, solar panels, a teachers’ room, or a watertank.
Sao Bien recently entered a cooperation with a Ho Chi Minh City-based architect team focusing on sustainable construction solutions with children specific design.
Since inception in 2016, Sao Bien has completed 34 school projects in 12 different provinces in Vietnam and two school projects in Laos.
Stage 3: Completion
With the official handover of the school to the local authorities, sometimes involving a small opening event, Sao Bien’s part of the project is over and maintenance as well as covering operating expenses lies with the authorities. Sao Bien enters into agreements with local authorities to ensure that the schools are used for their intended purpose.
Still, Sao Bien visits previous projects regularly to collect feedback and improve layout and design of future projects.