Grants Transform Lives

Enjoy this first instalment in our 6-week story series, taking a deeper dive into the impact created through our community’s philanthropy, celebrated in our Impact Philanthropy 10 Year Report this month.

Excluded from local schools, residents at the Huong La Centre for disabled & disadvantaged children faced a bleak future. Thanks to UNIS Hanoi’s Birthday Gift Fund, they now benefit from a life changing education programme.

A partnership that began thanks to a UNIS Hanoi parent nomination eight years ago, has resulted in some of Vietnam’s most vulnerable young people receiving the precious education they were missing through social isolation.

In 2014, as part of the Birthday Gift Fund, UNIS Hanoi struck a partnership with the Huong La Centre – a residential home run by Catholic nuns for children with disabilities and often abandoned by their families. With grants totaling $12,600 USD over the years, UNIS Hanoi was able to support the development of a special educational programme tailored towards the unique needs of each child at the home. Two UNIS Hanoi Teaching Assistants, Hoa Dang and Mai Dang, worked closely with the team of nuns to equip them with the right teaching skills. 

The UNIS Hanoi Birthday Gift Fund, was the first institutional philanthropy initiative undertaken by the School and the Huong La project was one of five projects it launched to honour the School’s 25th Birthday by giving back to our host nation communities. 

Hoa and Mai have worked with the nuns for more than 6 years, teaching the teams how to evaluate each child, create Individual Learning Plans designed to support a variety of ages and abilities, implement effective teaching and celebrate the learning they could see taking place.

In addition, our Secondary Service Learning programme has supported the project, with our students leading complimentary activities. They have visited the Centre regularly providing music, arts and crafts activity days. They have also hosted residents with trips to UNIS Hanoi, visiting art exhibitions, theatre productions, enjoying Spring Fair, watching sports tournaments and taking the plunge in our swimming pool!

Hoa is delighted by the impact the project has had. She said, “Over the years, we have shown the Nuns how to teach literacy, numeracy, music, art and movement. In addition, we’ve helped them establish a routine that guarantees the children receive a class Monday through Friday. We hope to continue when COVID-19 isn’t the threat it is.”

Senior Nun, Sister Lien is thankful to UNIS Hanoi for the care shown and added, “My vision has always been to see the children receive basic education in order for them to find a job in the future so that they can live independent, meaningful lives.”

With UNIS Hanoi’s continued involvement, our work will support Sister Lien’s vision become a reality, and at the same time joining the UN in Vietnam in the commitment of  “For every Child a Fair Chance”.

The Huong La Educational Project is one of five sustainable Service Learning projects funded by the Birthday Gift Fund.

Did You Know?

  • Through its five projects, the Birthday Gift Fund has impacted 1,622 lives, involved 742 students, taught 454 local students to swim, and awarded 376 microfinance loans.
  • Over the last 10 years, since the School formalised its Institutional Philanthropy Programmes, together our community has donated more than $1.25 Million and impacted the lives of more than 21,500 people!

Please check out our Impact Philanthropy 10 Year Report to explore more impact stories and outstanding project success that our community has made happen! Together. Thank you!