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35,500 students given financial aid by SPELL in 10 years

As many as 35,500 disadvantaged students in the central region of Vietnam have been aided US$3.7 million in the last ten years from the scholarship program SPELL of the non-governmental organization East Meets West.

Two students who are recipients of the SPELL scholarship program of East Meets West
Two students who are recipients of the SPELL scholarship program of East Meets West

On average, around 4,000 needy students in central provinces benefit from the Scholarship Program to Enhance Literacy and Learning (SPELL) every year, with US$80 a year for a secondary school student and $210 a year for a high school student.

In addition, EMW set up a university scholarship program in 2010, namely SPELL Goes to College (SGTC), which has supported 130 disadvantaged students in accessing university education.

Those are the achievements announced at the ceremony held today in the central Thua Thien Hue Province to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the SPELL scholarship program. The event is also meant to review the accomplishments and lessons in the past ten years, as well as work out strategies to further its future development.

Devoted job

In 2004, EMW launched SPELL to help disadvantaged Vietnamese students transcend the cycle of poverty and prevent them from dropping out of school. SPELL supports students from the bottom 10 percent of ‘poorest’ families in seven provinces of Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, and Da Nang City.

After 10 years of operation, the program has gained impressive results – a decline in the dropout rates and the impressive pass rate that meets or exceeds the national rate. Every year, many of SPELL’s scholarship recipients win municipal, provincial, and national awards for their academic achievements.

“We are investing in the future of Vietnam. The success of our SPELL students shows that when young people receive the support they need to reach their potential, they have a bright future,” said Ms. Nguyen Minh Chau, EMW Country Director.

“These are the young people who will help their families escape poverty and society prosper. For EMW, watching them reach for the skies is rewarding and inspiring.”

The cost of keeping a child in school in Vietnam, $80 a year for secondary school and $210 a year for high school, is be¬yond the reach of many impoverished families.

EMW has invested over $120 million in development solutions in Asia and West Africa in the fields of clean water and sanitation, as well as education.