Social Inclusion

Enriching the resource for Speech and Language Therapy research in Vietnam

Findings from the graduation theses of Vietnam’s first 14 Masters of Speech and Language Therapy were briefly presented in a hybrid workshop titled “SALT: Sharing findings from some research in Vietnam”.

The workshop was jointly organized by MCNV and HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP) in HCMC on April 28th, 2022, bringing together around 140 participants, including: MSc.MD. Nguyen Phuong Hien (The Higher Education Department of the Ministry of Education and Training), Ms.Ritu Tariyal (Director of Reconciliation and Inclusive Development Department, United States International Aid for Development); Professor (Prof) Doctor (Dr) Lindy McAllister (University of Sydney, Board of the Trinh Foundation Australia); Associate (Assoc) Prof.Dr. Nguyen Van Chinh, Head of the Nursing – Medical Technology Department, HCMC UMP; Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Dung, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicines; MSc.MD. Le Quang Duong, Director of VietHealth, MSc.MD.Pham Dung, Country Director of MCNV Vietnam together with SALT international experts, lecturers, volunteers, clinical coach, mentors, interpreters and the trainees graduated from the course.

Participants at the workshop on April 28th, 2022

The workshop aimed to briefly present the research findings from the graduation theses of the first Master of SALT (MSALT), HCMC UMP. The completion of the course marks a historic milestone of SALT in Vietnam, since it is the first time MSALT curriculum is provided in the country. This achievement is an outcome of the project “Developing SALT education in Vietnam” sponsored by USAID via VietHealth and implemented by MCNV with the technical support from the Trinh Foundation Australia. 

Ms.Ritu Tariyal (Director of Reconciliation and Inclusive Development Department, USAID) participates in the workshop.

Since its rollout in late 2017, thanks to the thorough preparation and active participation of multi stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Education and Training and Ministry of Health, the first MSALT training program was kick started in November 2019 and accomplished its goal in November 2021 when all the 14 trainees successfully completed their graduation thesis defense. 

Assoc.Prof. Nguyen Van Chinh, Head of the Nursing – Medical Technology Department, HCMC UMP speaks at the workshop

Their research cover a wide range of topic in SALT, ranging from aphasia, experiences in self-help and help-seeking of families who have children with communication disability, experience of community-based rehab staff, stuttering in adults, normative data for the Vietnamese language screener for four-year-old, speech sound characteristics of children with speech sound disorders, etc.

Dr.Pham Dung, MCNV Country Director speaks at the workshop.

In addition to sharing findings from the MSALT graduation theses, the workshop served as a platform for SALT specialists to exchange the views and present their latest in-depth research such as “The Vietnamese Asphasia Test” (Dr.Le Khanh Dien, (Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language and Hearing) and the  “Effect of dialects on identification and severity of speech sound disorders in Vietnamese children”  (Dr.Pham Thi Ben – National University of Education).

Other issues related to the long-term development of SALT in Vietnam were put into discussion such as preparing for the next cohort, the significance of establishing SALT Association in Vietnam, etc, aiming at the ultimate goal which is adequately meet with the demand of patients, persons with disabilities, the clients of SALT in Vietnam.

Research presentation: Experiences in self-help and help-seeking of families who have children with communication disability in HCMC and Quang Nam
Presentation of research: Experience of community-based rehab staff in working with people with communication and swallowing difficulties.

* In the morning of April 29th, the official graduation ceremony of the first MSALT was held by HCMC UMP followed by a cordial congratulation event held by MCNV.

(First row, from the right) Ms.Nguyen Thi Hoa Le (USAID), Ms. Ngo Y Sa (SALT Project Interpreter), Prof.Dr.Lindy McAllister (TFA Board), Mr. Pham Dung (MCNV Country Director), Mr. Le Quang Duong (VietHealth Director), Ms.Nguyen Phuong Hien (Ministry of Education and Training) participate in the graduation ceremony of 14 SALT students in HCMC UMP.
14 MSALT at the graduation ceremony in HCMC UMP on April 29th, 2022.
Participants at the congratulation ceremony held by MCNV on the same day.

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GSRD – MCNV new partnership to benefit over 1,000 poor women and children in Phu Yen

A conference to kick start the project “Boosting income and jobs for poor ethnic women in Dong Xuan district” (BIJPO) was held on March 25th  by MCNV and Dong Xuan District People’s Committee.

Building on the achievements of the previous Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture project, BIJPO will be implemented in a period of 36 months, from April 2022 to April 2025.

A family in Dong Xuan district, Phu Yen province. Photo: MCNV

 BIJPO aims to tackle the new challenges confronting people of ethnic minorities living in remote mountainous areas brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. In particular, BIJPO will focus on boosting the income, improving food security via the improvement of working condition and agricultural production. The project will benefit about 650 women and 500 children of poor and nearly poor households in 15 villages of 6 communes in Dong Xuan district, and therefore, contribute directly to the realization of the National target programme on socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in 2021-2030.

As part of the project, 15 new women-led cooperatives will be formally established and receive support in terms of making joint business plan and building joint assets/facilities for its production and business. Operation of the groups will create alternative jobs and income for the poor women in village who are willing to join and commit the common production plans of the groups. Potential business includes debarking machines of acacia wood; producing dry mushroom products; weaving products, etc.

 At the same time, the project will facilitate 30 household agricultural production groups. These informal groups will be set up and endorsed by local commune government. Each household production group will include around 15 poor and nearly poor households. The project will provide group members with agricultural production training courses; coaching; seedlings, breeding for improving current crops or implementing alternative cash and non-cash crops. Female members will work together to improve and diversify their household agricultural production such as rearing fish, frogs, chicken, ducks, crabs and planting acacia plantation, fruit trees (banana, papaya) vegetables, or pumpkin. The improved productions aim to create both cash and also non-cash income for these households.  The agricultural models will be identified and proposed by group members in accordance with local context and household conditions./.

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Developing clinical coaching guideline in Physical Therapy

In two days (March 19-20), a hybrid workshop on developing clinical coaching guideline in physical therapy (PT) was jointly held by MCNV and the Vietnam Physical Therapy Association (VNPTA).

The workshop attracted over 30 in-person and virtual participants from MCNV, VNPTA, VietHealth, VNAH, PT lecturers and experts from HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP), Da Nang University of Pharmacy and Medical Technology, Hong Bang International University and several hospitals in HCMC.

Participants at the workshop.

The workshop was held as part of the Inclusion 3, a project funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented in Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai provinces, with an aim to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities (PWDs). The USAID’s prime counterpart is the National Action Centre for Toxic Chemicals and Environmental Treatment (NACCET) of the Ministry of National Defence. The implementing partner of the Inclusion 3 project is the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP).

The quality of healthcare and rehabilitation services for PWDs are determined by several factors, of which the capacity of the services providers plays a key role.

As the project’s sub awardee, MCNV works with three technical partners including VNPTA, World Confederation of Physical Therapy (WP), and the Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA)  to enhance the capacity of rehabilitation workforce in Vietnam via coaching and mentoring activities in Physical Therapy and Speech and Language Therapy.

Speaking at the workshop, Mr Tran Van Dan, the VNPTA President, spoke highly of MCNV’s extensive experiences in Vietnam, especially in the area of rehabilitation capacity building, and looked forward to fruitful cooperation with MCNV to further improve the capacity of the country’s workforces specializing in the field of PT in particular and rehabilitation in general.

Mr. Tran Van Dan, the VNPTA President speaks at the workshop.

Subsequently, MCNV Vietnam Country Director, Mr Pham Dung briefed the partcipants on the coaching and mentoring activities. Conducted in 9 months, the coaching and mentoring will benefit 25 health workers who are providing PT services in provincial, district levels, public and private health facilities in Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh and Dong Nai. Entrance requirement ranges from six-month certificate holders to college and university degree holders in PT.

Mr.Pham Dung, MCNV Country Director speaks at the workshop.

The 160-hour coaching and mentoring will focus on clinical reasoning, communication skills to interact with colleagues in a multi-disciplinary team, up-to-date professional knowledge, advanced techniques, development of intervention plan, implementation and evaluation of intervention outcomes.

Via virtual platform and on-site coaching and mentoring, the program strives toward its ultimate goal, which is the enhancement of professional qualification of 25 health workers, who will be more confident in providing quality PT services to 900 patients and 250 PWDs.

Currently, a team of six coaches has been recruited and has completed an internationally-recognized mentoring and coaching course to prepare for the program.

Group discussion session.

In the workshop, the participants became involved in a lively discussion to develop the clinical coaching guideline and formulate a concrete plan for the 9-month program./.

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I-THRIVE project closed with significant outcomes

The Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP), the Deparments of Health in Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Nam province recently held the close-out ceremony for the project ‘Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Services Supporting Children with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities to thrive’ (I-Thrive).

Delegates from Quang Nam province.

The project I-Thrive is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, CCIHP being the implementing partner, and MCNV being the co-implementing partner.
The close-out event, held on February 2&3 brought together representatives of USAID, CCIHP, MCNV, the Medical Services Administration (Ministry of Health), Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Nam Deparment of Health, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, and partner hospitals, medical centers in Thua Thien – Hue and Quang Nam.

After three years of implementation (Sep 2018-March 2022) the project has achieved a number of outcomes, in particular providing interdisciplinary rehabilitation capacity building and basic rehabilitation equipment to 100% of district-level health facilities of Thua Thien – Hue and 50% of district-level medical centers of Quang Nam province.

The capacity-building activities were conducted through a series of 12-month full-time training program in Occupational Therapy (OT), Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) and Physical Therapy (PT). These are also Vietnam’s first 12-month program in rehabilitation training.

Delegates from Thua Thien – Hue (left) and the Medical Services Administration.

Upon completion of the program, 56 trainees, who are healthworkers of province and district-level health facilities have returned to their workplace and applied what they have learnt to provide rehab services to 4.086 patients, of which PT, OT and SATL accounts for 89%, 41% and 6%, respectively.
Along with coaching, I-Thrive has created and implemented intervention program with the multi-disciplinary group in rehabilitation in province-level health facilities, participated by parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In addition, the project also achieved a significant milestone, which is the completion of the “National guideline on early identification and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder” and the “Guideline on mechanism of interdisciplinary rehabilitation team”.
These aforementioned outcomes are expected to lay a solid foundation for future projects in rehabilitation and provide the best support for personnes with disabilities./.

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A flashback on Vietnam’s first cohort of Master in Speech and Language Therapy

Despite various challenges posed by the Covid-19, in November 2021, the first cohort of 14 students successfully graduated from the first Master in Speech and Language Therapy at University of Medicine and Pharmacy in HCMC, marking a significant milestone on the development journey of Speech and Language Therapy in Vietnam.

A huge gap in the unmet need of speech and language therapy
Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) is a specialty of applied science, which works to provide treatment, support and care for clients with speech, communication and swallowing impairment/disorders.

These disorders can be associated with conditions such as autism, cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, stroke, Parkinson, cleft lips and cleft palate, head-neck cancer, etc.

Inability to speak, slurred speech, stuttering, articulation errors, etc, vastly hinder communication, negatively affect the quality of life, limiting social inclusion, access to education and career development.

SALT got recognition nearly 100 years ago since the formation of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1926. Nowadays, SALT has been widely practiced in Europe, Australia and developed countries, territories in other regions. However, in Vietnam, SALT has only been present for around 10 years since the commencement of SALT short-term training conducted in several medical universities (Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine, Hanoi Medical University, Hue University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy).

SALT services in Vietnam has been in high demand. According to the National Survey on People with Disabilities conducted in 2016, over 7 per cent of the population aged 2 years and older, – around 6.2 million, have a disability (mobility, hearing, sight, mental disorder, etc).
Despite the absence of official statistical data on the number of people needing SALT, according to the research ‘Disability in Vietnam 1999: A Meta-analysis of the Data” (Kane, 1999), 17%-27% of persons with disabilities in Vietnam have difficulties with speech and language.

However, due to the lack of manpower, this need remains unmet. According to the “Surveying the Demand for SALT education in Vietnam” conducted by MCNV in 2018, by late 2017, there were only 65 people who were trained and basically qualified to provide SALT services in the country.

Aiming to support Vietnam to address this need, a project titled “Speech and Language Therapy Education Development in Vietnam” was rolled out. Implemented in 5 year (2018-2022), the project is funded by USAID Vietnam via VietHealth, dedicating to lay a foundation for Vietnam’s first university-based SALT programs, including a Master course at UMP HCMC and a Bachelor course at Da Nang UMTP. Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA) participates in the project as a technical consulting partner,

Adapting in the face of adversity

The Master’s program in SALT commenced in November 2019 with 14 students who are working for HCMC UMP, Hue UMP, Da Nang UMTP, Hai Duong Medical Technical University and Tay Ninh School of Health.

A lesson on cleft lips and cleft palate as part of the Master programe in SALT.

Amidst the inevitable obstacles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, MCNV and partners managed to come up with a set of adaptation solutions to minimize the negative impacts, ensure teaching quality and at the same time, ensure safety for the lecturers and students.

Since the time when COVID-19 hit Vietnam, most of the training activities, including clinical practice, have been shifted from direct to virtual training method, with the support of on-site Vietnamese SALT and remote international experts. The curriculum was revised, adapted while new teaching materials were developed.

Professional Zoom accounts were maintained to facilitate online learning. At the same time, memberships of Simucase – a credible clinical simulation platform – were purchased for all students and supervisors, enabling the users to assess, diagnose, make recommendations, and provide intervention for virtual patients.

During thesis research, students received continuous support from experienced supervisors of HCMC UMP and universities in Australia.

Virtual discussions between supervisors and students were facilitated with the support of assistants and interpreters to help clearly identify the objective, content and research methods of the thesis.

Encouraging outcomes
In early November 2021, all of the 14 students finally completed the graduation thesis defense. Their research covered a wide range of clinically applicable topics including stuttering, sound assessment for children, communication disability, demand for training in SALT of community-based rehabilitation therapists.

The Graduation Thesis Defence of the Master program in SALT.

More importantly, the project has benefited HCMC UMP in the long-term, since it has supported the Department of Rehabilitation in developing the proposal to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) on issuing a training code to recognize the Master in Rehabilitation Techniques program. This Major code was approved by MOET, qualifying HCM UMP to conduct training of the three specialties (PT, OT, ST).

At the same time, the project has equipped the HCMC UMP and Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy with basic infrastructures for SALT training as well as connecting these institutions with a network of accredited SALT experts and organizations worldwide.

Building on the results brought out by the project, three designated medical universities across Vietnam are getting ready to independently offer Bachelor program in SALT.

A virtual lesson on Simucase as part of the Bachelor program in SALT, Da Nang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy.

While HCMC UMP is training the second cohort of Master program in SALT, aiming to develop a clinical supervisor team in hospitals, at HMTU, the first cohort of Bachelor program has been enrolled. Following the piloting course in Da Nang UMP, this is Vietnam’s second cohort of Bachelor program in SALT. These progresses signal the sustainable impacts of the project as well as the bright outlook of SALT in Vietnam./.

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OT & Hand Rehab Webinar

Hands play a vital role in daily routine of a person. A variety of disorders and injuries can severely affect the function of the hands. As a specialty practice area of Occupational Therapy (OT), hand rehabilitation, especially with the use of assistive devices, is an essential solution to help the clients gain back their independence and improve the quality of life.

Aiming to provide a platform for the OT insiders to exchange knowledge in this specialty, the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) is delighted to bring you the webinar ‘Hand Rehabilitation: Without Limit, Within Reach’. The event will feature speakers from the Department of OT, Manipal College of Health Professions (MCHP), Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), India.

The details are as followed:

Time: 14:00-16:00, Sunday, January 16th, 2022 (GMT + 7)

Venue: Zoom (Language: Vietnamese & English (twoway interpretation available)

Register at: https://bit.ly/3f8pbNG (Meeting link to be sent automatically to registered participants. Please use your real name!)

Deadline for registration: January 14th, 2022

For further enquiries, please contact: Ms.Tu Phi Yen (MCNV Communication and PRs Officer): yen.tuphi@mcnv.vn

Agenda:

I. Presentation:

1/ Role of low tech adaptive device in improving functional outcome (Dr. Shovan Saha, Department of OT, MCHP, MAHE)

2/ Role splint and therapeutic exercise in case of degloving hand injury (Tuan Nguyen, Lecturer of Hai Duong Medical Technical University, B.A, Master’s student, MCHP, MAHE).

3/ Application of splint in hand therapy. (Dat Pham, Lecturer of HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy, B.A, Master’s student, MCHP, MAHE)

II. Q&A./.

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Dien Bien Support Center begins assisting satellite schools

Thanks to the support of MCNV, the Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education recently assisted six local primary schools and kindergarten in establishing the Learning Corner for students with disabilities.
The activity was conducted on December 27th& 28th, under the piloting collaboration mechanism between the Support Center and satellite schools which will be officially implemented from 2022 onward.

Since 2014, MCNV has started to support Dien Bien with a project of community-based rehabilitation for people with disabilities. In 2016, MCNV and Dien Bien Provincial Department of Education and Training (DoET) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a mutual collaboration in setting up a Support Center for the Development of Inclusive education for children with disabilities in Dien Bien (Support Center) and fund raising for construction of this Support Center.

In October 2019, Dien Bien Support Center officially started its operation. With financial and tecnical support from MCNV’s project, staff of Dien Bien Support Center were enabled to join some basic capacity building activities.

In the academic year 2020-2021, 50 students received education and intervention from the Support Center. Out of the,10 have been transited to mainstream schools or relocated with their families while the other 40 continue their second year at the Support Center. Together with the 50 new admitted children, in the school year 2021-2022, the total number of students of the Support Center therefore will be 90, including children with intellectual disabilities, speech impairment, hearing impairment, autism and DOWN syndrome.

For the academic year 2021-2022, the Support Center will continue to offer three education programs, which are pre-primary school (using Vietnam’s official primary program with adaptation), early intervention (using Vietnam’s official preschool programs with adaptation) and life skills for children with severe disabilities./.

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First milestone in SALT professional education

On November 3rd & 5th, 14 students of the Master program in Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) successful completed the thesis defense at the HCMC University of Medicine and Pharmacy (UMP). MCNV Country Director Pham Dung attended the event.

The SALT Master program is conducted as part of the project “Development of Speech and Language Therapy Education in Vietnam” under the DISTINCT project by VietHealth, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). MCNV is in charge of project implementation and also contributes part of the funding. The Trinh Foundation Australia (TFA) participates in this project as a technical consulting partner.

The thesis defense takes place on November 3rd and 5th at HCMC UMP. Photo: HCMC UMP

The completion of the Master thesis defense is a significant milestone in developing SALT, achieved amidst the most complicated period of COVID-19 outbreak in HCMC. Despite the inevitable challenge brought about by the pandemic, MCNV and partners managed to come up with a set of adaptation solutions to minimize the negative impacts.

Since COVID-19 hits Vietnam, most of the training activities had been shifted from direct to virtual training method. The curriculum was revised, adapted while new teaching materials were developed. A professional Zoom account was maintained to facilitate online learning. Along with that, memberships of Simucase, a credible clinical simulation platform were purchased for all students and supervisors, enabling the users to assess, diagnose, make recommendations, and provide intervention for virtual patients.

For their thesis research, students received continuous support from experienced supervisors of HCMC UMP and universities in Australia.

(These researches will soon be published on Website: http://speechtherapyvn.net and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ngonngutrilieu.mcnv/)

MCNV Vietnam Country Director Pham Dung (3rd from the right) at the event. Photo: HCMC UMP

This achievement would have never been accomplished without MCNV’s precious partners and friends, TFA, HCMC UMP, SALT specialists, lecturers and mentors. Based on this initial success, we look forward to our continual fruitful cooperation, to further contribute to the development of SALT and Rehabilitation in Vietnam in general./.

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Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education to welcome 50 new students

The Dien Bien Support Center for the Development of Inclusive Education (Support Center) held its official school opening ceremony on September 5th, 2021, with the enrollment of 50 new students.
Despite no case of COVID-19 infection was recorded in the province for the last 17 days, protective measures were still strictly adopted. The ceremony was held on a smaller scale with all participants wearing masks.

Instead of bringing together all students, this year the school opening ceremony is held on a smaller scale. Photo: Dien Bien Support Center

In the first half of August 2021, the Support Center conducted a series of screening and counselling session for over 90 children with disabilities and symptoms of developmental disorders. The children were residents of Dien Bien Phu city and five neighboring districts of Dien Bien province. The activity was organized under the support of the provincial Department of Education and Training (DoETs), in close coordination with local primary schools and kindergartens.
The screening and evaluation were conducted using the Denver Developmental Screening Test (DENVER) II and the Psychoeducation Profile – Revised (PEP-R), followed by basic counselling provided to parents on the education that best suits the needs of their children, aiming to help them achieve full potential.

A screening session conducted at the Support Center in August, 2021. Photo: Dien Bien Support Center

Recently, the admission results were approved by the provincial DoETs, with 50 children with disabilities get admitted.
In the academic year 2020-2021, 50 students received education and intervention from the Support Center. Out of the 10 which have been transited to mainstream schools or relocated with their families while the other 40 continue their second year at the Support Center. Together with the 50 newly admitted children, in the school year 2021-2022, the total number of students of the Support Center therefore will be 90, including children with intellectual disabilities, speech impairment, hearing impairment, autism and DOWN syndrome.

For the academic year 2021-2022, the Support Center will continue to offer three education programs, which are pre-primary school (using Vietnam’s official primary program with adaptation), early intervention (using Vietnam’s official preschool programs with adaptation) and life skills for children with severe disabilities.

In 2021, MCNV will continue the assist the Support Center and the province on inclusive education via providing capacity-building on early detection, early intervention and early education to local education managers and teachers, establishing collaboration mechanism for inclusive education support between the Support Center and satellite schools, providing information on early detection, early intervention and education for children with disabilities is transfered to all 10 districts/cities in Dien Bien./.

Students receive Certificate of Merits for outstanding effort in the school year 2020-2021. Photo: Dien Bien Support Center
  • Since 2014, MCNV has started to support Dien Bien with a project of community-based rehabilitation for people with disabilities. In 2016, MCNV and Dien Bien Provincial Department of Education and Training (DoETs) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a mutual collaboration in setting up a Support Center for the Development of Inclusive education for children with disabilities in Dien Bien and fund raising for construction of this Support Center.
  • In October 2019, Dien Bien Support Center officially started its operation. With financial and tecnical support from MCNV’s project, staff of Dien Bien Support Center were enabled to join some basic capacity building activities. The Center’s staff has initially formed their capacity to care for and educate children with disabilities.
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Extended submission deadline for Homemade with Heart contest

We would love to announce that the deadline of Homemade with Heart contest has been extended to September 30th, 2021 (instead of August 31st).

With this adjustment, we hope that our contestants will have more time to work on their inventions, since we understand that many are having difficulty in the preparation process, especially in purchasing the materials amidst the pandemic restrictions in Vietnam.

Keep calm, try your best and stay tuned for our coming announcements for the new voting deadline and awarding ceremony (scheduled in October 2021)./.

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