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Local Primary Students Pick Up IT Skills Thanks to Donation

Eight and ten-year-olds attending a public school in Sapa have painted pictures digitally for the first time, thanks to a donation of laptops from UNIS Hanoi. 

The students at the Sin Chai Primary School have been taking advantage of their school’s tech laboratory which was set up with the help of UNIS Hanoi’s Service Learning group, Helping Hands. The group, which has worked with the primary school for the past seven years, donated 20 laptops last academic year. And to ensure the school could use the devices, Helping Hands donated seven modems too. 

Lina Stenman, a Grade 12 student at UNIS Hanoi and a member of the Helping Hands Service Learning group said it was humbling to partner with the school in this way. She explained, “At a school like UNIS Hanoi we take access to technology for granted and so to be able to give laptops and modems to children who don’t have anything has kept us all grounded.”

Helping Hands Service Learning patron and UNIS Hanoi teacher, Nick Whatley, added, “Over the years, we’ve formed a strong relationship with faculty at Sin Chai Primary School. They revealed to us that computer skills are part of the national curriculum but the irony is schools such as theirs don’t have any computers. Being in a position to support them in this way is important to us. Our Service Learning programme is designed to not only meet the needs of Vietnam’s most vulnerable people, but to build cultural understanding between our students and local people and breakdown stereotypes.”

Helping Hands hopes to build on their donation with a further 15 laptops so that the primary school can run a one-student-to-one-laptop scheme. And with a suspension on travel due to COVID-19 preventive measures, Helping Hands has come up with an innovative way to remain useful and connected to the local students – delivering lessons online!

Starting next year, members of Helping Hands who speak Vietnamese will teach English, Math and Art classes to groups of children. What’s more, the group is looking forward to seeing the children in person in order to distribute food and clothes recently donated by the UNIS Hanoi community. 

“We’re committed to making a difference in multiple ways!” Lina shared.