IN-KIND PREPARATION AND SCHOLARSHIP DELIVERY CEREMONIES
“In-kind gift preparation and scholarship delivery to students” is one of the main activities of SPELL. It involves the cooperation of the many students, donors, volunteers, schools and coordinators involved with SPELL. With in-kind gifts like school supplies, books, uniforms, school bags, hats and bicycles, SPELL has supported the most necessary of academic requirements as well as a means of transport for students thereby easing the burden of affordability of education on impoverished families. This model of support was designed after several surveys to the project sites of SPELL in 2004 where EMW found that the driving factor of the high dropout rate was poverty. Helping families with the cost of schooling translates into poor students gaining access to more opportunities for higher education which can help students and their families escape the circle of poverty.
Every May since its inception, Study Promotion Association (SPA) and EMW have worked together to survey the market and choose in-kind gift suppliers who will provide high quality products with a competitive price. In the following three months, a process of signing contracts, checking product quality and delivering the in-kind aids to local communities commences. During the last two weeks of August, scholarship delivery ceremonies are held in over 7 provinces, (Quang Binh, Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh and Phu Yen). This is a joyful time bringing hope and encouragement for the future to poverty-stricken areas and excitement for the upcoming school year to students.
To date (2009), SPELL has provided 2,938 bicycles to students as well as scholarships to nearly 5,000 less fortunate children. Each current scholarship for primary students is valued at $83 USD per year and $106 USD for secondary students, while a bicycle costs about $54 USD. This is profoundly useful assistance amount for a poor family in rural Vietnam. Besides the in-kind gifts, students also receive medical and/or accident insurance, a necessary component of their health care. SPELL also pays students' school fees and organizes tutoring classes for academically challenged students. To be eligible for a bicycle, students must be in secondary or high school and live in the hamlet which is more than 2 kilometers away from their school.
The intensive and long term support from SPELL (upon joining SPELL, each child is supported until they graduate from high school) not only aims at preventing students from dropping out, but also strives to improve the quality of education for Vietnam's poorest students. Additionally, through the scholarship delivery ceremonies and field trips, the program makes every effort to raise awareness in each community’s on the subject of the importance of education - especially for the poor. Finally, the program also encourages schools, teachers, Departments of Education and local authorities to invest more time and energy in the development of each student.