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Merit Development Program

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294,630

Funded (USD)

2,546

scholarships

Follow the process with us

Experience the Merit cycle with us, from VietHope volunteers visiting the student’s families to observe and interview family members about the student’s academic performance, learning environment and financial hardships, to meeting recipients themselves, to seeing the award ceremonies.

Problem

In Vietnam, the percentage of children who attended but subsequently dropped out of school increases dramatically with student age. According to the “Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children: Viet Nam Country Study” report released in 2014 by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), almost 16% of the age group population has dropped out of school by the age of 14. The dropout figure increases to more than 39% by the age of 17 during the last year of upper secondary school.

Why does this dropout rate increase?  In previous study Survey Assessment of Vietnamese Youth, also conducted by UNICEF, the main reason for not attending school is still because families ‘can’t afford school fees’ or schooling expenses (44.1%). These education-related expenses may include text books, stationery, clothing, contributions for school infrastructure and transport. This is followed by ‘having to work for my family’ (21.2%). 

The difficulties in paying education-related costs and having to work to help families fall far more heavily on those living in poverty. This explains to a certain extent why young people from poor areas, as well as those from ethnic minorities, make up a disproportionate percentage of the population not attending school.

Reason for non-attendance at school
Number
Percent
Can't afford school fees
121
44.1
Have to work for my family
73
21.2
Have to work for my family
38
15.7
Family doesn’t want me to go to school
16
5.3
Too ill, disabled
13
4.4
School was too far from home
12
4.2
Don't know Kinh language
9
2.7
Other
5
2.3
Total
287
287
Reason for non-attendance at school
Number
Percent
Can't afford school fees
121
44.1
Have to work for my family
73
21.2
Have to work for my family
38
15.7
Family doesn’t want me to go to school
16
5.3
Too ill, disabled
13
4.4
School was too far from home
12
4.2
Don't know Kinh language
9
2.7
Other
5
2.3
Total
287
287

Our approach

The Merit Scholarship Program’s goal is to help students stay in school and continue their education rather than having to begin working or farming early.

The program provides $120 USD scholarships to students once each school year.  This amount is sufficient to cover expenses such as school fees, books, uniforms and transportation.  The scholarships are renewable up to 12th grade, as long as the recipient continues to perform well in school and experience financial hardship.

Meet Merit Scholars

Scroll through the slideshow below to meet a few of our Merit scholars.  VietHope selects recipients based jointly on financial need and academic performance. VietHope partners with local schools, who naturally are interested in having students continue their studies.  After students learn about the program through their schools  and apply, VietHope volunteers review the applications, including visiting the student’s home whenever possible.  VietHope re-assesses scholarship renewals each year, again with an application and a family visit.

Merit Training

Overview

Some milestones

From

2010

Since 2010, the GRACE Education Fund (formerly through the New Moon Foundation) and VietHope (“VH”) have joined in a partnership to provide 100 Merit scholarships to financially disadvantaged Vietnamese youths in various provinces in Vietnam and engaged them in contemplation of the 5 GRACE values (Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, Engagement) through the required essays on VH’s Merit Application and Renewal Application.

From

2011

In 2011, 100 scholarship recipients of Can Thanh Secondary School in Can Gio, HCMC took part in the GRACE workshop which was held within the VietHope’s Youth Development Program 2012.

2012

To Now

Since then, VietHope and GRACE Education Fund have developed and hosted series of 3 enrichment activities during their semesters and summer vacation to help students reflect how they can apply GRACE values to their daily lives with a lively, friendly and effective approach.

Program objectives

Our program aims to leverage the Merit scholarship’s value with the awakening of individual and collective heart-wisdom for individual and community growth through engagement of transformative values – Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement (GRACE)

Program objectives

Our program aims to leverage the Merit scholarship’s value with the awakening of individual and collective heart-wisdom for individual and community growth through engagement of transformative values – Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement (GRACE)

The fruits of the program

From 2010 to the present, we are happy to have successfully built a community of more than 200 students who are actively engaging themselves into applying GRACE values (Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage and Engagement) into their daily lives.

The fruits of the program

From 2010 to the present, we are happy to have successfully built a community of more than 200 students who are actively engaging themselves into applying GRACE values (Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage and Engagement) into their daily lives.
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Big Painting:
GRACE session 2 on 7 April 2014 taken with Ms Thuy’s family, our sponsors from Hawaii

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VietHopeCards:
GRACE session 2 on 29 March 2015 showing students’ gratitude to VietHope

ROUTE TO Merit Training

After finalizing Merit scholarship recipients’ list

December

Organize scholarship ceremony and discussion session on the following value

Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement

July

Organize GRACE workshop in Can Gio Youth Center

Review and apply 5 GRACE values through fun games and activities

ROUTE TO Merit Training

Organize scholarship ceremony and discussion session on the following value

December

Organize scholarship ceremony and discussion session on the following value

Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement

July

Organize GRACE workshop in Can Gio Youth Center

Review and apply 5 GRACE values through fun games and activities

 

Our outcomes

Over the past ten years (2002-2012), VietHope has  supported more than 1,500 Merit students.  This number includes students who have received the Merit Scholarship award for more than one year (the most awarded students were sponsored for as long as 7 years).

Our award recipients have come from many rural areas throughout Vietnam:

  • Southern Vietnam: Saigon outskirts, Ca Mau, Dong Thap, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Tien Giang, Dong Nai
  • Central Vietnam: Khanh Hoa, Hue, Quang Binh, and Ha Tinh.
  • Northern Vietnam: Nam Dinh, Thai Binh, Ha Nam, Phu Tho, and Thai Nguyen.

As a result of our support, Merit students have completed schooling through 12th grade at a higher rate, and have entered into top universities where they continue to keep in touch with VietHope staff. Some universities that our students have been admitted to are the following:

  • Can Tho University
  • Ha Noi Polytechnic University
  • Dong Thap General Education College
  • Hue College of Medicine
  • Ha Noi Foreign Trade University

Since 2010, the GRACE Education Fund (formerly through the New Moon Foundation), have partnered with VietHope to help over 293 financially disadvantaged Vietnamese students with 400 scholarships of almost $56,000USD. About 100 students have been a part of the VH-GRACE program and we have hosted 6 sessions in 2013 and 2014 to test the effectiveness of distinct strategies for long-term inculcation and build community around GRACE values for over 130 students in grades 6-9 including Gratitude, Respect, Accountability, Courage, and Engagement.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY

Join us in finding new approaches to deliver these values to our students.

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