10/16/2007, 00.00
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Education a priority choice for the Vietnamese Church

by JB. VU
The choice was confirmed by the new president of the Bishop’s Conference, Msgr. Nguyen Van Nhon. The Prime Minister also recognises the contribution of Catholics in the field of education, healthcare and Aids.

Dalat (AsiaNews) – Education for total human development has long been one of the principal objectives of the Church in Vietnam, and has been reconfirmed a such by the new President of the national Bishops Conference Msgr. Peter Nguyen Van Nhon, elected to the three year term 2007-2010.

The bishop himself reaffirmed the choice, during his meeting with the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on the 12th, in which they spoke of the Church’s contribution to education, health care and road safety.  According to the Vietnam News and Courrier du Vietnam, the premier himself recognised the bishop’s support and commitment in these fields as well as the work they carry out to help Aids victims.

Msgr. Nguyen Van Nhon has lived and worked in Dalat since 1975. His motto is “He Must Be Grown” and among the various activities he has promoted throughout the province, are the pastoral and social initiatives he has launched to help the minority communities of the K’Ho and Churu.

“The parishes and catholic organisations – Dung, a social worker from Dalat tells AsiaNews – have helped the poor and minorities to start community development projects such as self-help projects, saving and credit groups for women, agricultural development projects, and elementary schools for minority people’s children”.

Kasim, social work student, studying in Ho Chi Minh City, explains that in the villages near her home there are hundreds of children who don’t go to school so “together with other volunteers were are teaching them grammar and mathematics.  Besides we are also teaching catechism for children so they can receive the sacraments later this year.  I am studying social work and community development. I hope that after the training courses I can comeback to my homeland to work with volunteer young people and help the poor children”.

There are over 3 million young people who take university admission examines each year, but only 20 % of them are admitted.  Thus 80% of the young people, particularly in rural areas and poorer provinces have no access to education.

Hanh too is a social work student; her family is from the province of Quang Binh. “I am working part time to have money to go to Open University. I dream that after graduation I will find a job to help my family and people in my parish”.


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