Who We Serve
…The children first and foremost
Around 10 million children in Vietnam today – 30% of the population – are devastatingly poor according to international standards. Many children work to help with their family’s subsistence; they sell lottery tickets or post cards on the street. They work in the street shops found everywhere in Vietnam. These are labor intensive activities that provide little money and allow no time for education. The children in these situations often become the easy prey for sexual and commercial human traffickers. Child labor concerns notwithstanding, the majority of these children live with family members other than their parents. Often grandmothers take them in when parents are in prison for selling drugs or have died from HIV/AIDS. These children have little hope for a future that is anything different than continued economic and social deprivation. Poor children in Vietnam, as in many developing countries, have limited options for breaking this cycle of poverty.
Primary education in many developing countries is not free. The extra costs of school supplies, uniforms, books, meals, etc. are too much for poor families, or orphans to bear. The montly cost of education, about $15 -25 USD per month could be full month’s salary for an entire family. For them education is a luxury.
Survival always takes precedence over education for poor children. This is where Bridges to Learning and the Anh Linh Free School play a role.
Anh Linh Love School, as it is referred to by students and faculty, began in 1990 as a means to provide an education for abandoned street children who may or may not have families. The school serves any child who is too poor or too old or undocumented to attend public school. Anh Linh welcomes all children who are within a reasonable commute to the school and provides some without family and home a place in the school dormitories. All students attend Anh Linh for free.
Without Anh Linh School, these children would be destitute street kids or worse, with little hope for the future.