SHANLEYSTUDIO
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students practice sustainability and music in northern vietnam

boarding school, farming, gardening, music, school, self sufficiency, traditional music, vietnamese music

Students at Ta Mung Ethnic Minority Boarding Lower Secondary School are learning how to be self-sufficient through sustainable farming. The school focuses on teaching independence and accountability by having the students take ownership of growing their own food and maintaining their school. Part of their education focuses on traditional vietnamese practices to ensure their culture is not forgotten.

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Students, grade 6 to 9, from Ta Mung ethnic minority boarding lower secondary school take traditional music lessons. Here they practice playing the Khen, an instrument of the Hmong people.

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The music teacher for the secondary school is Hoang Xuan Hoa. He is 34 years old and he joined the school in 2012. He is from the Muong ethnic minority group (not the Hmong), but plays Khen very well. Here, he instructs students how to play a Vietnamese flute, also a khen.

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 the male students finish their lessons with Mr. Hoang and pose for a class photo.

the male students finish their lessons with Mr. Hoang and pose for a class photo.

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While watching the students do their music lessons I noticed a mother sitting behind the boys learning how to play the flute. Her name is Ms. Giang Thi Seo and she and her husband traveled an hour, by foot, to visit their two children. She was watching their son learn music, while her husband was watching their daughter learn to farm. In the center is Ms. Giang Thi Seo, 39, of the Hmong ethnic group, mother to daughter, Mua Thi Lly, grade 6, and son, Mua A De, grade 9. Her and her husband try to visit their children every two weeks.

“It took me an hour to walk here, but I’m happy. I usually visit the school every two weeks.”
– Giang Thi Seo

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Ta Mung ethnic minority boarding lower secondary school for students grades 6 to 9.

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There are 395 students in total, of which 280 are boarding students.

As part of their schooling, the students are educated on nutrition and farming practices and they create planting beds, turn soil, plant seeds and grow their own food. The seasonal vegetables from the garden are used to improve the nutrition for the boarding student meals. During our visit, the students were turning over soil and planting new vegetables for the coming months. There was Chinese cabbage, eggplant, corn, and much more. A central water reservoir was provided by CWS and was used by the students to fill up buckets and water their plants.

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To read more about this story, check-out my blog series for Church World Service, CWS, here.