Bringing innovative solutions to help children in Soc Trang
How children improve education through better access to clean water and sanitation in schools
Children’s health and education affected
Nhu, a 10-year-old Khmer girl, lives with her grandmother and younger sister in Soc Trang, Viet Nam while her parents live in another province for work. Drought, saline intrusion, and sea level rise resulting in water shortage threaten their health and education.
Without access to a proper latrine, Nhu uses a fish-pond latrine daily. Open defecation is still prevalent in her community.
Nhu avoids using the toilets at school. "They're inconvenient, especially when it's dark and rainy outside. I wish they were cleaner and safer for my classmates and me," she said.
"They're inconvenient, especially when it's dark and rainy outside. I wish they were cleaner and safer for my classmates and me."
Lam Thi Diem Nhu, 10 years old, a Khmer student from Long Phu C primary school, Soc Trang
These challenges, in addition to open defecation in the community, put the health and education of children at risk. However, there is hope with new innovative technologies.
Innovative partnership for changes
UNICEF, with support from Masterise Group, is striving to improve the quality of education and living conditions for children in Soc Trang.
Under this partnership, the "Innovation for Children" project introduces innovative water, sanitation, and hygiene technologies, including a net-zero toilet device that converts wastewater into clean water using solar energy.
Nhu's school will be the first to benefit from this technology. The goal is to scale up this initiative to other areas affected by the climate crisis.
“UNICEF collaborates with partners to upgrade and renovate toilets at schools, using innovative technologies and climate-resilient solutions to secure a sustainable future for children.”
Nguyen Hong Hanh, WASH Officer of UNICEF Viet Nam.
But that's not all. Masterise Group's support has enabled UNICEF to establish digital libraries in Vietnamese and Khmer languages. This initiative will enhance digital skills and provide access to educational resources, including sign language and reading software for children with disabilities. Nhu had her first experience with a digital book on a tablet and found it fascinating.
I want to learn science, read books, and explore different topics from this digital library," she said.