Vietnam Engineers Build Classrooms for Abyei Children
|Preschool children have to study under the trees outdoors. Photo: WVR|
Classroom under the tree
Sharing about this meaningful work, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quang Tuyen, political officer of the Vietnamese Engineering Unit Rotation 1 in Abyei, came across a group of school children in need of help.
“During a visit to survey and repair the well system to help Abyei Church at the request of the parish priest, we encountered a kindergarten class that had to study under the shade of a tree. It was hot and dusty. These are two of the four classes of the Kindergarten organized by the Church for the children of parishioners.
With a total of 253 students and 6 teachers, two kindergarten classes are housed in two makeshift tents. The small children had to study under the trees outside in the hot weather over 40 degrees Celsius.
Occasionally, there are whirlwinds of dust. There are no tables and chairs, no electric fans, flies and mosquitoes buzzing around. If the rainy season comes, they will have to miss school because there is no place to sit, the ground is flooded and muddy."
Therefore, the Engineering Unit planned to build a number of classrooms for Abyei Church, giving the children a stable place to learn. Along with repairing the well to help solve the urgent need for clean water in the dry season of the church and the students, the Unit gave the preschool children of Abyei Church two solid classrooms.
The Unit mobilized donations from officials and employees to get two tons of cement. These are precious and luxurious materials in this poor Abey land with only sun and wind. Since then, the engineers hope to build a new classroom that is strong enough to withstand harsh conditions, helping the children have better learning conditions.
The Engineering Unit has assigned the Engineer Division 2 with officers and employees who have a lot of experience in installation of housing projects of the unit to organize the construction.
|Small gifts are given to the children. (Photo: Nguyen Quang Tuyen)|
Classroom filled with love
After a month of construction, the classroom project (2 classrooms, each room is larger than 40m2) was completed by the Vietnamese Engineering Unit and presented to the Kindergarten in Abyei to the overwhelming joy of the parish priest, teachers and students.
Major Dinh Van Thanh was the person who directly commanded and organized the construction.
“The first thing we thought of when we arrived at the church was the weak infrastructure, with a large number of children in preschool age, many classes have to study outdoors.
The children here are all in difficult circumstances, many of whom have lost their parents due to wars, conflicts and hunger. Their education has to rely on the help of charity organizations with the call of the Church.
Seeing a meal with only porridge cooked with flour or a little soup, we could not imagine that there are places in this world where people still suffer so much."
The Women's Union also used their funds and mobilized donations to buy 110 chairs, 10 plastic tables, learning materials, some paintings, crayons and other gifts for the school.
In addition, the Engineering Unit also made the road to the church 400 meters long; install 1 round culvert 7 meters long, repair clean water supply system, the generator and electrical system for work and lighting.
|Vietnamese Engineers strive to complete the construction of classrooms for preschool children. (Photo: Nguyen Quang Tuyen)|
Spreading the image of the Vietnamese army
Attending the handover ceremony of Vietnamese projects, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr, acting force commander of the United Nations Mission in Abyei (UNISFA) is proud of the team's work.
“Vietnam's Engineering Unit No. 1 has done a lot of charity activities to improve the local education system and standards.
This project by the Vietnamese Engineering Unit makes us feel proud that we are creating a UNISFA mission that is recognized and welcomed by the community. Your activities are amazing, surpassing my expectations.
I have no doubt about that when I have witnessed firsthand what the Vietnamese unit has done to the local people here. That's really what countries should be doing because it's amazing work."
Teacher Catherine from Kenya is moved by the kind gesture.
“I am happy and grateful for what the Vietnamese Engineering Unit has done. Those are wonderful things that we will never forget. You were here with us, taking care of the children. I am sure that when children learn inside classrooms, they will have a better education. Before the new classrooms, our teaching conditions were bad. With the weather conditions, teaching outside like this, every time the wind blows the dust on the ground, it rises up making us and the students unable to continue the learning process."
"It is an honor for each of us to give back and contribute a small part to the development of the indigenous people," said Captain Kieu Van Thang, who directly participated in the construction of the classroom.
|The handover ceremony. (Photo: Nguyen Quang Tuyen)|
"Every officer and employee of the Vietnamese Engineering Unit always thinks that, when the construction is complete, the children of Abeyi people can live and study in classrooms with better condition. The children will grow up, remember and think of the school donated by Vietnamese soldiers far away," Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quang Tuyen said.
Paul – Pastor of Abyei Church:
"I would like to thank the Vietnamese Engineering Unit for your presence in Abyei. Your presence has changed the lives of the Abyei community, specifically in building classrooms for kindergarten students, providing and supporting classroom facilities.
We are happy because of your presence here, not only for the kindergarten but also for the Abyei community. The work you have done is meaningful to this area, bringing development to the Abyei community.
I think the Engineers showed up at the right time - it was during the rainy season, the area around here was completely flooded and water was everywhere. The team helped us a lot in building, repairing roads, laying culverts, digging drainage ditches for the area. They changed our lives. We are grateful for that."
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