Grow children’s love in reading books

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Studies have demonstrated that reading to children has many positive effects. Reading books not only helps children to widen their knowledge about the world but also develop their language skills, their imagination and dreams. These are some of the targets of ChildFund’s project to give children better access to reading resources.

Quang Vinh is a mountainous commune of Cao Bang province, located in the North-East of Vietnam. The majority of people are from the Tay and Nung ethnic minority groups. Nam Hoang village is isolated in the poor and remote commune of Quang Vinh. Local people, especially children’s access to information and entertainment is limited. ChildFund Vietnam has helped the local child protection agency to set up a child club in order to address these needs of the local community.

Established in 2012, the Nam Hoang village’s child club attracts 18 children aged 10 to 15. Children attend the club to learn about child rights and other related issues such as child injury prevention, child violence and abuse and child labour. The children also have access to equipment so they can play games like badminton and table tennis as well as read books. There are many types of books at the child club, from basic education books such as geography and history to fairy tales or modern books on life skills as well as youth newspapers and magazines.

“The club helps children have more chances to interact with their friends, enrich their lives and strengthen their abilities”, said Hoang Van Ngoc, Nam Hoam village head. The local authorities supported the club by letting the children use the village meeting hall as their club house. Last year, ChildFund helped to upgrade the entrance area of the hall and provided two book cases, fans and entertainment equipment for children.

Nong Thi Vui, 15, a member of the club management board has a special love for books. She is studying at a boarding high school in the district and comes back home once per week. She often goes to the club when she is at home. “I like to go to the club to improve my communication skills and especially to read books. There are many kinds of interesting books here that I have never read before”.

Building and maintaining child clubs in communities are key activities in ChildFund’s Child Rights and Child Protection program. The program aims to improve children’s awareness and practices of their rights and to create a safe, supportive and encouraging environment for their development. Besides providing equipment for children to use we know that supporting children to enjoy different forms of activities is vital for their development. In 2014 ChildFund will work with the child protection project board in Tra Linh to hold a story telling contest for the club members. By this way, ChildFund hopes to support the children’s love for books and encourage their reading habits to help them fully develop their potential.

In Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Culture – Sports and Tourism on 12 April 2013, the average number of books that a Vietnamese person reads in a year is less than one. This number is very small comparing to nearby Malaysia (12 books/person/year) or other big countries in the world (France 20 books/person/year, Japan 50 books/person/year).

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