School Construction:
Kon Ray Ethnic Minority Education Program

East Meets West operates a comprehensive education program in the central highlands region of Vietnam. Based in Kon Tum Province, the program provides support to this region largely populated by ethnic minorities. Kon Tum is an impoverished province where the average family annual income is between $110 and $120 per year (the poverty line in Vietnam is set at $240 per family), and educational attainment is very low. It is estimated that less than 10% of local students finish tenth  grade.

The expanded education program builds off an original project of a large boarding school that EMW built for ethnic minority students in the district of Kon Ray in Kon Tum Province. In 2008, EMW completed this large boarding school where one hundred percent of the 250 students are from ethnic minority groups, mostly the S RA, Ba Na and Xe Dong. There are other groups living in Kon Tum province, but these three groups make up the majority of the communities near Kon Ray district.

The Kon Ray Boarding School is located in Dak To Lung Commune, Kon Ray District.

The project is funded by the US Agency for International Development, and the school is made possible by the generosity of the American people.

The primary goal of the school is to greatly improve education outcomes for the students in the area, and thereby improve their long-term life prospects. The Kon Ray Boarding School will significantly increase the capacity of the local families to obtain a high-quality education for their children. 

Program Background

New school facilities are desperately needed in Kon Tum. However, building small schools to serve scattered, low-density villages is often not effective. Distances from students’ homes to school are too long for many students to walk twice a day, it is difficult to find teachers to work in remote areas, and most students in the area do not speak Vietnamese as their first language. Therefore, boarding schools are preferred by local educational authorities as a solution that creates a much better learning environment with improved educational outcomes.

Searching for ways to overcome the difficult circumstances that lead many students to drop out of school at a young age, the local government of Kon Tum in coordination with the University of Da Nang, which has been given the task of improving educational outcomes in Kon Tum, have asked EMW to assist by constructing a boarding school in Kon Tum. EMW will build the boarding school in close partnership with local authorities and the local community.

The Kon Ray boarding school also offers training and education for the physically disabled. The school will be handicapped-accessible, and offer special classes in both regular education and vocational training suitable for children with physical limitations. In addition, the Kon Ray boarding school will provide hands-on training in income-generating activities to enhance the ability of the students in the boarding school to become economically productive members of society.

The Kon Ray boarding school also offers hands-on training in valuable skills for the students. These include carpentry, sewing, computers, English and agriculture. With these skills, the students will be prepared to become productive members of society even if they do not continue on to high school and college.



“Building a working farm and greenhouse at the Kon Ray Boarding School was, I can hon­estly say, among the most rewarding experi­ences I and the Roadmonkey crew have had. What made it extra special was being able to work with the students and teachers and administrators, to cooperate across language and cultural barriers, in a spirit of mutual re­spect, to solve problems and help the kids get a better education.”

-Paul von Zielbauer, Roadmonkey Adventure Travel, EMW Partner

Read more testimonials.



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