Friday, August 22, 2008

Room to Read School is Fully Funded!

Dear Friends,

I am delighted to report that the Room to Read school in Vietnam I have been working on is now fully funded. As you can imagine, I am truly pleased that the school will be built soon. Thank you one and all who supported me in this effort!

Room to Read's report on the school is below but here's a brief summary:
Construction will begin this fall; the school is scheduled to open in early 2009. It will be a preschool serving 180 students. The school will be located a little over 2 hours from Ho Chi Minh City in the village of Hoi Tri. It will be very much the local community's school; the community will provide 75% of construction funding and will be closely involved in the design process as well. The grade school in Hoi Tri is quite overcrowded; kids currently come to school in split shifts. Giving preschoolers their own school will free up classroom space, allowing more elementary students to attend school for full days.
I am hoping to visit the preschool in Hoi Tri next March, after I complete my stay as an author-in-residence in a couple of Chinese international schools. I plan to post pictures of the school and its students on my website. When I do, I'll send you a link to share with your students.
I plan on fundraising for another Room to Read school this year, though I'm not sure which country I will focus on as of yet. I had hoped to work on a school in China or Indonesia but Room to Read does not have programs in either country yet. Do you have any thoughts? Would you like to help me? I would love to have your help! Check out the countries Room to Read's works in and let me know! ( They have an awesome program called "Students Helping Students" that you might want to participate in.
I would be delighted to visit your school this coming year and share my books with your students. I will again set aside some of my speaking fees for a Room to Read school. Please visit my website for details about my visits and let me know if you are interested or have any questions.

Room to Read Report
World Change Starts with Educated Children. ®
Prepared for: Ann Martin Bowler
Project ID #: VN-SR-08-0010
Name of School or Community: Hoi Xuan Preschool
Village/City: Hoi Tri
District/Zone: Cai Lay
State/Province: Tien Giang
Country: Vietnam
Description: Hoi Xuan Preschool will be built in Hoi Tri Hamlet, Hoi Xuan Commune, Cai Lay
District, Tien Giang Province. The school site is approximately 10 kilometers from the center of Cai Lay District, 2 hours and 15 minutes from Ho Chi Minh City, and 30 minutes from Cai Lay Town. Tien Giang Province is indicated in green.
Female: 86 Female: 2
Male: 97 Male: 0

Hoi Xuan Commune has ten hamlets that comprise approximately 1,116 ha of undeveloped land. The population of Hoi Xuan Commune is 10,226 with 2,077 households. Approximately 20% of the population lives below the poverty line. Most of the population makes a living farming, including cultivating crops of rice and fruit and breeding livestock. The rest of the population sells handicrafts and manages small businesses. Unfortunately, flooding has adversely affected agricultural production and the economy. The average income is only around $220 per person per year.
The new preschool will be built in Hoi Tri Hamlet. The majority of people in this hamlet earns a living farming or through small trades. Approximately 75% of the houses in this hamlet are made of wood with thatched roofs, and most of the homes have running water or use well water. The average family has five members. Most families have a small television and motorbike.
The current location of Hoi Xuan Preschool does not provide a safe and stimulating environment for the students. The preschool currently holds classes in a room borrowed from the local primary school. However, even with multiple shifts, the classroom is not big enough for all of the students.
The local government has invested in building a new road that will lead to the preschool. With the new road, more students will have access to the preschool, so it is vital that the preschool build more classrooms. The preschool principal said that the school has enough funds to maintain and repair a new building, but they do not have the funds to build the new school.
Room to Read will partner with the local community to establish a one-story building with two classrooms. Both rooms will be used as classrooms for 3 to 5 year olds. The building will be built of brick, with corrugated steel sheets for the roof, aluminum-framed glass windows, four indoor toilets, light-colored floor and wall tiles, six to eight neon lights per classroom, one fan per classroom, and one teacher’s office. During the second year, a UV water-purification system will be installed. The playground will be partially cemented and many trees will be planted to provide shade for the children.
- Preschool design
- Site clearance and foundation preparation
- Preparing the land for construction approval
- Supervision of construction progress
- Land for construction
- Provide proper documents and ensure no land disputes
- Furniture for classrooms
- Cement for playground, gate, and boundary wall for the preschool
- Electricity and running water
- Management and maintenance of the new school after construction is complete
- Regular progress reports to Room to Read
- Collection and maintenance of quality certifications
- Playground equipment
- Community will contribute approximately 75% of the total cost of the project
- Payment for construction materials and skilled labor
- Training for community members in construction supervision
- Collaborate with community to create the building design
- Monitoring and supervision of construction progress

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