Anh Linh Free School


For many of Anh Linh's children school is not only the most stable, safe and loving experience of their lives, it is their only pathway to a future of economic security and hope.

The History

In Vietnam, education is free, but the cost of supplies, uniforms, books, meals, and medical attention are borne by the families of the students. This can amount to $15-25 per month. There are no scholarships or sliding scales. We serve children who don't have families or who live with a single mother or grandmother. Many of the families we serve cannot afford to pay public school fees. As well, many of these children are too old for public school or don't have the required birth certificates.  As a result these abandoned children have little hope for a future that is anything different than continued economic and social deprivation. They are at risk for being sexually or commercially trafficked.

In 1990 the Vietnamese government gave permission to the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame to open a free school for some of the poorest children in Saigon. The first 17 students were children of prostitutes. The nuns knew that the poor women from the rural areas were being sexually exploited and they were determined to help. The building that housed the first school was a former pigsty. The school was supported by the order and with gifts from alumnae of a private boarding school the Congregation had run before 1975. Bridges to Learning financial support starting in 2004 helped bring the school to its present state where more than 278 students are educated at the school and 122 are provided stipends to attend public school.

It is now almost 20 years later, and the students from the first class are adults with jobs, families, and a future.

In 2006, Anh Linh Free School got permission to open a secondary school for sixth through ninth grades. The first sixth grade class began in September, 2006 and construction of a new secondary school began that October. The new school was completed in the spring of 2007. The efforst to raise funds for the secondary school were so successful that in 2008 the old elementary school was torn down and a new one built in its place.

In the fall of 2008, a new elementary school building was completed, with classrooms, a library, a computer room, conference rooms, a 20 bed dormitory for girls, and two guest rooms. Both new facilities provide a wonderful place for the children to learn, airy classrooms, special labs for science and computers and more play area.

Anh Linh Free School provides classes that meet Vietnam curriculum standards. In Vietnam, 94% of the population is reported to be literate. Vietnam's economic development is growing faster than any country in Asia. Without Anh Linh these kids would likely live a life of poverty, deprivation, exploitation, or crime.

English language instruction is mandated for all students in the state school system. It will be the language of commerce and economic prosperity in Vietnam's future. The opportunity to learn English and to study computer skills allows Anh Linh students to compete.