In remote provinces such as Dien Bien, north-west Vietnam, it is common for girls in the community to dropout of school prematurely, be married at a young age and become pregnant, or fall prey to a human trafficker.
Culturally more importance has been placed on boys. In larger families that are struggling financially, often the girls are the ones who are made to leave school so they can help out around the house, go to work, or be pushed into an early marriage.
To combat this, Blue Dragon has been working alongside teachers in the community to find ways to effectively communicate the importance of staying in school and show that there are other options after graduating from high school. Together we created a space where girls feel comfortable learning and sharing about important issues that affect them, so that they can build their confidence and realise their own potential.
This place is called the Girl Power Group.
Each month a group of 100 girls come together to learn about different topics in a safe environment. Each month they form mini leadership groups and take turns working with their teachers to decide on a topic, research, and then present the information so the group can learn about topics such as puberty and reproductive health, how to be a good leader, how to deal with conflict, friendship and love, and career preparation.
Each month a different group of girls take the microphone and have their time to lead. The girls feel safe to ask questions, express themselves, and share their own knowledge without the fear of being judged.
Before the Girl Power Group started, Blue Dragon ran a survey that asked the students what they thought they would do after they graduated from high school. The answer was overwhelmingly to become a farmer like my parents. The same survey, completed more recently, showed that now more girls are looking to study further, upskill, or find a vocation that they love.
Most of the girls have never left their community, and many are afraid, but yet naturally curious. Knowing that they have the support of Blue Dragon, and armed with their new knowledge, these girls are much more informed of their future options, and are less likely to fall into an early marriage, fall pregnant, or become trapped in slavery or be exploited.
Education is power. The Girl Power Group is giving these girls the tools they need to make informed decisions, build their own futures, and make their own voices heard.
You can also empower teen girls in Vietnam by making a monthly donation