Mr. Le Binh’s speech at ‘Study – Play – Do’ discussion

“Study – Play – Do” is a discussion of 15 children of ethnic minorities and related parties in 5th October, 2015, which is a side event of ‘‘Hey friends! Listen up’’ exhibition. The exhibition was opened in the same day with 120 photos and racy stories by 49 children of H’mong, M’nong, Cham and Raglai ethnic minorities under the support of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment (iSEE) and Oxfam in Vietnam. Mr Le Quang Binh, iSEE’s Director has made a speech on the seminar.

Ladies and gentlemen, teachers and students.

On behalf of the operating board, I want to welcome all the representatives from Lao Cai, Ninh Thuan, Dak Nong provinces and Hanoi city to join this event. We are from different places but having the same purpose of bringing about the best education including not only scientific knowledge and professional experiences but also human values, freedom and kindness for Vietnamese people. We want the best educational opportunities for all, even those are M’nong, H’mong, Cham, Raglai, Kinh or Muong. We want the same opportunities of education for all children, even those with disabilities, HIV, immigrant parents or homelessness. This is the noble aim of equal education without discrimination of backgrounds.

This is also the target of “My rights. My voice” photovoice program that all of us have known about. We believe that, to have a better quality education in which children are taught to become good citizens with high sense of social responsibilities, children need to engage in outside activities along side with joining classes. Only by actively participating in those events, children can gain observing, listening, understanding and sympathizing skills.

When enjoying photos and stories by the pupils, I had a strong feeling towards their ability to shoot fine pictures, their sensitive perception of the surrounding environment. I remember there was a pupil with the picture of his friend taking care of his grand-mother and he said that when he was sick, his grandmother took care of him and then when his grandmother was sick, he did the same thing, which is a natural love and children’s responsibility. They also are the human values our children are practicing.

In other picture, there were two pupils pouring soil into seed capsules, describing precisely how to add the soil in, making drain-holes, water plants, jab holes, cultivate seeds and how to grow coffee trees in the rain season on May and June. They said cropping was exciting “as it is like playing when putting soil into the seed capsules”. This is how they can learn from working about the weather and tasks being carried out by adults.

There also was a photo of problems happening around that pupil, such as a polluted water source and his hope for government to take action to refresh and clean it for people not having stomachache. Lonesome elderly people with harsh lives were also captured with the hope to get better conditions. Therefore, we can see their concerns towards surroundings as well as their desires to tackle different problems in life and contribute to a better society.

It can be demonstrated by those examples that children have a sensitive observing skill, they also care about issues around them and hope to be involved in making better values for schools and the entire community. The important thing is how they can participate in and raise their voices? This is the reason why Oxfam and iSEE together with schools, Youth Unions as well as departments of education of Lao Cai, Ninh Thuan and Dak Nong carried out the photovoice project, gave the pupils equipments and helped them to raise their voices.

This morning we will listen to Mr Hoang Huy Thanh sharing about the photovoice method and some stories of the pupils after that. After the break, we will discuss how to increase pupils’ involvement in present reality. In the afternoon, we will join the opening of ‘Hey friends! Listen up’ exhibition in Vietnam Museum of Ethnology – one of the most intriguing and prestigious Museum of Hanoi in culture.

Once again, on behalf of the operating board, wish you all health and our discussion to be successful.

Diệu Quỳnh