On the way home from primary school
The “Enfants de Kontum” is a French non-political and non-religious humanitarian association founded in 2002 in the Vosges area following an encounter with the nuns running Kontum’s Sao Mai nursery school. The nuns spoke about how difficult life was for families from ethnic minority groups living in the Central Highlands around Kontum. Their testimony moved our 21 founding members who decided to come to the assistance of “The Children of Kontum”.
Although our association is non-religious, the catholic nuns of the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence of Portieux are, for us, devoted and reliable representatives. They are able to advise us on the feasibility of potential projects.
Our action is based on the sponsorship of children because state primary and secondary schools are fee-paying in Vietnam. Until 2018, all our sponsor-children came initially from the private Sao Mai nursery school run by the nuns and with no fees for poor families. This school was closed in 2018 when the nuns had to move as their former premises became a seminary.
The nuns now consult village chiefs to establish the list of children up for sponsorship.
We pay school fees for our sponsor-children until they conclude their education.
Our team of volunteers at 2017’s Têt dinner dance
We also finance board and lodgings for schoolgirls and to fund this action we organise each year a Tết dinner dance to celebrate the Vietnamese New Year and every November we make and sell some 6000 fried spring rolls.
Our charity is dynamic and has evolved with time, but we currently have approximately the same number of active members, a third of whom are founding members. Over the years, new members have joined us with their new ideas, and certain of them have taken on responsibilities on the committee. We can also count on an ever-growing number of volunteers who help us from time to time.
We go to Vietnam regularly in small groups to check on current actions and to estimate future needs. Obviously each member of the group pays for their own trip (flights, hotels, food), but there is an exception to each rule and the 2019 trip was financed by our association because of the urgent need to evaluate the nuns’ new situation following their move.