VNF Build a Future Program Status report, January 2024

By Khoa Ho-Le

The VNF Build a Future Program is now in its second year of operation. This program aims to develop young, disadvantaged students in Vietnam into responsible, productive individuals who can better contribute to the welfare of themselves, family, community, and environment. 

The VNF Build a Future Program provides students with:

  • Scholarships to keep the students at school who could otherwise miss out on education.
  • English practice to help them communicate with the world at large.
  • Soft skill training to prepare for further studies and employability.

Study and career counselling to help the students make a better choice at critical junctures in life.

Scholarship funding and distribution

A Long-Term Scholarship Fund (LTSF), managed by a committee and guided by clear investment guidelines, has been established with the aim of 1 million AUD in donations. These donations will be invested to enable further growth, with dividends used to award a minimum of 30 scholarships annually.

Up to January 2024, more than 500K AUD has been pledged, with approximately 300K received. Of these funds, 160K was invested in the Australian stock market ASX, mostly through ETF’s.  The balance of donations are accruing interest in a bank account and will be invested gradually.

Scholarships Awarded in 2022-23

A total of 118 scholarships, worth a total value of $30k AUD, were distributed in 2022-23. These scholarships were disbursed amongst three organisations:

  • 10k AUD was awarded to Quy Khat Vong to provide for part of school fees and living expenses for 10 students
  • 10k AUD was awarded to Chung Tay Vi Cong Dong to  support school fees for 76 students
  • 10k AUD was awarded to the Rotary Club of Saigon to support 12 students in the Le Quy Don high school in Quang Tri, 12 in Quoc Hoc Hue, and 8 in the Charity Class (aka Love School) in Ho Chi Minh City.

Scholarships awarded in 2023-24

In 2023, VNF streamlined its partnerships with scholarship organisations,  enabling the Rotary Club of Saigon and the Rotary Club of Quang Tri to provide a total of 52 students with scholarships, worth a total value of $16,100 AUD.

These scholarships were distributed to students across three schools:

  • 10 students in the Charity Class.
  • 12 current + 11 new students at Quoc Hoc Hue, and
  • 10 current + 9 new students at Le Quy Don school in Quang Tri. 

English practice program

VNF’s English practice program gives the students an opportunity to build their confidence  with their English language skills. Designed to help students like gain confidence in English, this program offers weekly one-hour sessions led by native English speakers. Currently, 35 students are taking part, seizing the opportunity to enhance their language abilities.

What makes this program even more special is the involvement of second-generation Vietnamese Australian students from Monash University. They’re volunteering as tutors, bringing a unique perspective and sharing insights into Australian university life. As more volunteers are recruited, more sessions will be offered, enabling more Vietnamese students to participate.

English Summer camp 2023

In an effort to further enhance language proficiency and soft skills of scholarship recipients, an inaugural English Summer Camp was held from 17 – 19 June 2023, at a prestigious hotel in Hue. With a focus on empowering 24 students from Quang Tri and Hue, the camp was a joint initiative by VNF and the Rotary Club of Saigon.

The three-day event was an overwhelming success, leaving students confident about their newfound skills. Spearheaded by four dynamic volunteers from the Rotary Club of Saigon, the camp was also attended by the Vice Principal and an English teacher from Quoc Hoc Hue.

Excitement reached its peak as students formed four teams and engaged in captivating activities, including video production and speaking presentations focused on the theme of Artificial Intelligence. Winners were selected and rewarded prizes for their outstanding performances.

Accommodation, meals, and transportation were provided by VNF to all attending students. The Parkview Hotel in Hue provided support to the camp, enabling VNF to fund this event for less than $3.5K AUD.

The English Summer Camp 2023 not only equipped students with invaluable language and presentation skills but also fostered a spirit of camaraderie and growth. As the echoes of success reverberate, it’s evident that such initiatives pave the way for a brighter, more empowered future for Vietnamese youth. Stay tuned for more updates on VNF’s transformative endeavours!

Navitas project

In a significant stride towards educational innovation, VNF has secured a grant of 95k AUD over two years from the prestigious Navitas Education Fund. This substantial funding marks a pivotal moment in VNF’s mission to redefine learning opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

The grant will fund the development of an innovative Online Learning Management System, which aims to help students gain the essential soft skills crucial for both further studies and employability, empowering individuals to chart their paths to success.

Part of the grant allocation will be used to train volunteers, ensuring seamless delivery of the system to its intended beneficiaries. With a focus on disadvantaged students and potentially extending to middle-aged craft workers in the Mekong Delta, VNF aims to reach those most in need of educational support and empowerment.

To spearhead this project, VNF has enlisted the expertise of an experienced Instructional Designer on a part-time basis for six months. This strategic move underscores VNF’s commitment to delivering a high-quality, impactful learning experience.

To ensure the project’s success and efficacy, a dedicated Steering Committee has been established, comprising VNF board members and a representative from the Rotary Club of Saigon. This collaborative effort underscores the collective commitment towards driving positive change in education.

Furthermore, in a bid to bridge the gap between the project team and the younger audience, VNF has invited enthusiastic members of the Rotary Club of Saigon to join the initiative. Their vibrant energy and fresh perspectives promise to enrich the project’s outreach and engagement.

Software company MMSoft has stepped up to provide services for delivering the LMS at a substantial discount. Headed by Nguyen My and her husband Nguyen Duc Minh, alumni of the Colombo Plan 1973, MMSoft’s partnership provides the technical support required for this program. The VNF Online Learning Management System will be launched later in 2024.

Course counselling

VNF is committed to guiding disadvantaged youth as they enter post-secondary education. Through a new initiative, VNF will deliver seminars and personalised counselling for students, providing valuable insights into education options and industries.

The course counselling sessions will be offered at the 2024 VNF English Summer Camp, empowering students to make informed decisions about their future.

Stay tuned for updates as we continue to support and empower young minds.

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