In the Na Ri district of Bac Kan Province, Vietnam, Lan is dedicated to making sure children and young people grow up in a safe, healthy home.
With 10 years’ experience as the Vice President of the Women’s Union and working as a Population and Family Planning Officer, she was excited to be selected to take part in ChildFund Vietnam’s ‘Strengthening Child Protection System Effectiveness’ project in 2019.
Lan is also one of the core members and has made many contributions to the Child Protection Standing Group of the commune in supporting and intervening in cases of children suffering from violence and abuse.
Although she finds her work rewarding, she is open about the challenges she has faced. “Before joining the project, I had very little knowledge and skills about child protection. My previous work was mainly concerned with communication and management of population. However, I would not know how to even begin if we were to talk about child protection. I don’t know where to start, who to coordinate with, or how to work with children. Fortunately, after participating in the capacity building training courses organised by ChildFund, I have knowledge of case management. Everything I learned from the training has made me who I am today: confident and responsible.”
As part of this group, she coordinates monthly briefings where the group identifies children who are facing, or at risk of facing, violence. These reports help her stay updated and manage child protection cases as best as she can.
After attending the workshop on child abuse and violence prevention, Lan felt confident to be able to apply these learnings to her day-to-day work. In 2020, she came across a social media post implying that a grandfather was abusing his grandchild.
Lan contacted the mother of the child and through a series of conversations uncovered that the child had been physically beaten by his grandfather. When she found out, she immediately consulted with the Child Protection Group to work out how to respond to the incident. Lan and her colleague visited the child’s home. Together they explained the laws around child abuse and explained that they should remove the social media post to avoid spreading any sensitive images that might impact the child mental health. With their support, the child is living in safer, happier home. Lan checks in on them regularly.
Lan organises communication sessions on child protection policies in remote villages of the commune. “Initially when organising training and communication programs, I was not confident in my knowledge and expertise even though I had attended a ‘Training of Trainers’ course. At that time, I was very nervous and afraid that I would make mistakes. Previously, my communication sessions were one-way, meaning I would speak, and people would listen. Now, participating in the project, I have learned how to interact better and encourage more participation from the audience.”
Lan visiting and supporting children with special circumstances in her community
Thanks to Lan and other child protection workers’ dedication and hard work, people’s awareness of child protection has increased remarkably. In the past 2 years, Cu Le commune has not recorded any cases of child abuse.