Children's photo project finds success in central Vietnam

By Thao Vi, Thanh Nien News

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Pinang Luan, a Raglai ethnic schoolboy, smiles as he explains a picture he took of his cousin playing with a puppy in a rice paddy in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan.
“This is 3-year-old Pinang Duy. He loves playing with his pets, especially this puppy. He named the puppy Sữa (Milk) because he likes drinking milk,” said Luan, who is 15 years old. “Children here don’t ask for expensive toys and games because the games they have created by themselves are enough to bring them joy and happiness."
Luan’s photo is among 120 images which were displayed at an exhibition, titled “Tớ kể bạn nghe” (Hey friends! Listen up), in Ninh Thuan on August 1-4.
The images were taken by 49 school children from H’Mong, M’Nong, Raglai and Cham ethnic minorities in Lao Cai, Dak Nong and Ninh Thuan provinces after they received cameras late last year as part of a project aimed at encouraging the kids to document the stories around them through pictures.

Children visit a photo exhibition titled “Tớ kể bạn nghe” (Hey friends! Listen up) in Ninh Thuan Province on August 1. Photo: An Huy
The Photovoice Project, implemented by two non-government organizations, iSEE and Oxfam, may be considered a success as an education official in Ninh Thuan hopes to implement it at other schools in the province.
“I am surprised at the students’ photos. So beautiful!” said Nguyen Van Nhuong, director of primary education under the Ninh Thuan Department of Education and Training.
“I appreciate this [photovoice] program. Students, after being instructed in photographic techniques, can not only explore their skills but also become more confident and communicate better. These things will help them very much in other activities,” Nhuong told Thanh Nien News.
“I will propose that [the education department] implement this program at other schools in the province,” he said.
Le Gia Thang, Education Governance Program Coordinator of Oxfam in Vietnam, said the exhibition aimed to honor ethnic minority children and send a message: “All children are equal and have rights to receive a quality basic education.”

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