Khmer girl’s journey to Fulbright University Vietnam

Hard word paid off!! Congratulation to our student – Dan Y Lien Hoa for her new journey at Fulbright University Vietnam. Check the news about her on tuoitre newspaper.

From a very shy girl having a fear of crowds, Dan Y Lien Hoa, a Khmer resident in southern Vietnam, made a dramatic change after five years to win over the Admissions Council at Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV).

The girl overcame many obstacles and prejudices to get accepted as a freshman at FUV.

Overcoming prejudices against girl’s education

Growing up in Phong Thanh Commune, Cau Ke District, in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh, Hoa was often told that women did not have to receive higher education as sooner or later they would get married and become housewives.

Local people in her hometown also generally assumed that only men have to go to work as they are the breadwinner of their families, Hoa recalled.

Five years ago, Hoa was extremely timid and suffered from a fear of crowds.

Back when she first visited the EVG community library in her hometown and met a group of Singaporean volunteers there for an English teaching project, Hoa burst into tears due to her fear of the crowd.

At the time, she had no idea why she had to learn English, thus she disliked all the English classes.

Van Anh, a local teacher who founded the EVG community library, encouraged Hoa to try working as a volunteer like her Vietnamese peers who accompanied the Singaporean delegation, apart from being an English learner.

When the project was nearing its end, Hoa finally managed to overcome her fear of crowds as she got a chance to speak in front of her international friends, sharing with them her Khmer culture.

Her English also made progress thanks to her time working with foreign friends.

Lessons learned from failure in FUV’s Priority Cycle

Despite her tremendous efforts, Hoa could not make it to the Priority Cycle of FUV because her English fell short of the university’s requirements. 

The unexpected result let her down.

During those gloomy days, her teachers and others working at the library were the ones that lifted her mood and told her to make a second attempt in the Spring Cycle.

Knowing that she was bad at listening skills, Hoa practiced listening to podcasts all day long to improve herself.

One time, when reading some reports about education, she was sad to learn that the Mekong Delta ranked third nationwide in terms of its dropout and early marriage rates.

Hoa joined the Interview Round, which takes place before the Spring Cycle, as a person full of aspirations.

Hoa said that she would like to serve the community, open more classes for children when she is at university, gradually narrow the education gap between the urban and rural areas, and promote the Khmer culture, which is believed to be steadily sinking into oblivion.

She won over the FUV Admissions Council through her stories and such aspirations.

Desire to contribute to her hometown

Hoa chose to wear the Khmer traditional clothes on the day she participated in the Interview Round. 

The girl told stories about the Khmer people to the Admissions Council in a confident manner.

As shared by Huynh Quang Hieu, an admissions staff member at FUV who interviewed Hoa, the girl aspired to step out of her comfort zone and break down stereotypes and prejudices in her residence.

This does not mean that she wanted to go beyond the limit to isolate herself from the community. 

This girl wished to achieve success to serve the community and return home to contribute and give back to the community and those who have guided her.

According to Le Thi Quynh Tram, director of Admissions and Financial Aid at FUV, Hoa is like a perfect puzzle piece in a multi-hue picture at FUV as she has shown herself as a potential Fulbrighter with her solid knowledge background, teamwork, and a high capablity to adapt to an all-English environment.

Pham Van Anh, founder of the EVG community library, shared that Hoa is a diligent person.

She has a can-do spirit as well as great responsibility for her family and community.

“I believe she will advance further and bring more values to society,” Anh said.

NUS -LKYSPP Vietnam Alumni chapter and ECO Vietnam Group

The NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Vietnam Alumni chapter has successfully organized the charity trip to EVG community Library 2 at Gia Bac Lam Dong from 21 to 23 June 2022. The members have flew from Ha Noi and Sai gon to Lam Dong and traveled together to Gia Bac.

The commune is on the mountainous area with more than 90% population is K’Ho ethnic people with poor living condition. The community library is built and funded by Harry Pham Van Anh (NUS LKYSPP MPA 2016)- President of NUS LKYSPP Vietnam alumni chapter term 2022- 2024 with the aim to closing the gap in accessing education between rural and urban area.  He has supported this project since 2009.

It is annual charity trip for the NUS LKYSPP Vietnam alumni chapter and their family. During the trip, we have organized different supports and event:

1. Supported weekly educative activities for the community library.

2. Had fun culture exchange program

3. Taught football and had friendly football match.

4. Donated 2,500 sgd in the fund for EVG community Library and gifts to the library.

During this trip, the NUS LKYSPP alumni also had informal meeting with the district government to share the meaningful works that the library have done for the community.

The NUS LKYSPP Vietnam alumni chapter and their family members: 8.

The beneficiary: 50 kids at the event. The Library serves 200 kids.

In the end of 2018, The NUS LKYSPP alumni chapter also had a trip to EVG Community Library 1 at Tra Vinh Province. The EVG Community library is also built and funded by Mr Harry Pham.

From 2016 until now, the alumni of NUS LKYSPP Vietnam Chapter keeps supporting these two EVG Community Libraries for finance and advices on the government and policy.


You can support the effort here:

EVG Community Library at Gia Bac, Lam Dong

We aim to create a beneficial environment by making books and newspapers freely accessible to kids, allowing them to exchange and study. Despite the challenging situation of the Covid pandemic, our library was recently allowed to reopen after a month of temporary closure to serve readers and build a healthy playground for kids, due to the support and approval of the local authorities.

 Some images of kids reading books on-site, registering to borrow books to home

The library has been allowed to reopen after a one-month temporary closure. Following this news, children are drawn to the library to read, borrow books, and have fun with friends on a regular basis. On weekdays and certain weekends, an increasing number of children attend the library. 

Pictures of kids taking attendance when going to the library 

In the past, activities in the library were carried out according to a predetermined schedule; however, free entertainment activities on weekdays and weekends always drew people in.

Kids are playing and have free-hand drawing

In order to help children feel as comfortable as possible when visiting the library during a pandemic, the library has actively participated in pandemic prevention and control by teaching children how to wash their hands properly and to wear masks when going outside on their route to the library. 

Images of children washing their hands before entering the library 

Along with promoting cleanliness propaganda in accordance with local authority rules, the library always carries out activities in accordance with local instructions and continues to carry out actions to ensure public safety and disease prevention. 

The activities in the previous month have always rigorously followed the “5K message” in order to build a healthy playground for the small ones during the summer at the library, in addition to incorporating the learned knowledge into intellectual games.

Images of children wearing the mask while drawing to prevent the pandemic 

In order to effectively execute programs during the summer months, the library welcomes children on weekdays from Wednesday to Sunday, while also strengthening the organizing of on-site reading activities.

Pictures of children reading books on-site

          Aside from visiting the library to exchange, have fun, and learn together, the children are also aware of and gradually exercise the habit of reading books on the spot, with a particular interest in cartoon comics and books with a lot of drawings. Some of the children who will be starting secondary school next year are big fans of reference books, particularly literary and math books.

Picture of children choosing books they like to read.

Many children actively borrowed books to read at home and returned them on time in accordance with the library’s policies. Gradually develop the habit of borrowing and returning with self-discipline, and voluntarily follow the main norms. 

Pictures of students to borrow books to read.

Furthermore, the library recently developed amusement events to draw based on children’s hobbies, guide children to read books, and always propagate and remind them to maintain their health and prevent epidemics. Furthermore, the children were able to create paintings, play tug of war, jigsaw puzzles, hide-and-seek, wood-drawing games, and other things that they enjoy the most when they visit the library. 

Pictures of children playing tug of war, hide and seek activities on the weekend

The activity of producing roses from handmade paper is designed to entertain and enhance the aesthetic taste of children, with the intention that they will notice and recycle the materials around them, as well as practice table dexterity. Hand and crafting pleasant and near products in a variety of colours suitable for nature also drew curious and eager children to follow the instruction. 

Image of children drawing, cutting and folding paper to make flowers.

Reading books and engaging activities with books, sketching and crafts activities, children gradually enhance their comprehension of all elements and have moments of leisure and enjoyment, attract them to the library on a regular basis over the summer days.

        The library’s activities are aimed at creating a healthy, useful, and pleasant playground for children. The library is not only a place to read books, but it is also a popular location for children to study and play. The library has offered numerous interesting and beneficial fun activities every week as well as every day of the week to draw the involvement of children of all ages in order to serve the activities throughout the summer month.

To assist the children in playing, studying, and relaxing, they have become aware of and regard the library as their shared home. When children come to the library, they always clean up their toys after playing, sweep the leaves around the yard, water the flowers, and even cut the grass around the library garden, which helps the library have a natural atmosphere, feel at home, and bring a vivid colour image so that when children come to the library, they can read, listen, watch, and play, thereby stimulating creativity.

Image of children sweeping the yard, cleaning around the library’s vegetable garden.

Summer activities at the library in the last month not only built a helpful playground, meeting the demands of children’s summer fun and activities but also created conditions to help them exercise physically, intellectually, reveal their gifts and talents. Furthermore, we are always working to avoid the covid epidemic by bringing the library closer to readers, so establishing a safe and healthy living environment and engaging entertaining activities for kids. 

Image of children washing their hands listening to library staff propagandizes and remind them of measures to prevent covid. 

In recent years, the percentage of children who use the library has remained low. The epidemic situation is still difficult and problematic; the gathering of children to the library is limited, with only 30 children permitted to visit; this is also the period when they plan for summer, so most children must work in the fields to assist their parents’ work. Some children have to stay at home by themselves, doing housework. So many parents do not allow their children to go to the library to play and study.

Furthermore, due to frequent power interruptions caused by bad weather, screenings of scientific films by themes in a month or a week have been impossible. Every Saturday, movie screenings are held in a variety of sessions that are both interesting and appealing to youngsters. During the screening, the youngsters concentrate on observing, listening to the questions, and responding appropriately in each session. Each message in the film contains a theme.

Image of children watching a movie.

In the near future, the library will organize and guide more activities such as decoration, in addition to on-site service activities such as reading books on-site, borrowing, playing freely, showing movies, free drawing… If kids want to learn how to use a computer, we can teach them how to use a library, make crafts, and teach them how to use a computer with basic information. Simultaneously, teaching children more about the abilities and methods of reading books and newspapers in order to meet their learning and pleasure needs. We also organize additional entertainment activities over the week to pique children’s interest in the library, while always following local requirements for epidemic prevention. 

STEM, Service Learning and EVG Community Library

Against the backdrop of the complicated developments of the pandemic that hit our country, in particular, Cau Ke’s local community confirmed some COVID-19 cases. To ensure people’s safety and manage to control the pandemic, the issuance of the Directive was made by the local authorities promptly.

Under the new Directive of Tra Vinh province, we decided to close our libraries. Most of the library activities temporarily came to a halt to ensure people’s safety.

To continue to fulfill the mission related to improving access to the quality of education and to enable the children to catch up with the new trend, all the activities, classes have taken place via online platform. Furthermore, the library has brought the library’s existing computers, laptops to the children’s homes. Then we guide them and their parents on how to use laptops and online classrooms of Zoom apps where they can join the Library’s online classes with other partners and volunteers both domestically and internationally.

With these actions, the children can easily access the knowledge of not only the library’s classes but also online courses. Moreover, this method will ensure health protection, reduce their parent’s anxiety, and know the ways of online learning.

After more than one week of the preparation and delivery of laptops, the first class was conducted pretty well. The students actively engaged in the lesson even though they showed their minor shyness because that was the first time they met people via computer screen. The most difficult they had to face in the first lesson was login activities (despite the careful guidance and run trials) as well as other Zoom functions to do the practice and interact with volunteer teachers. Be that as it may, most people expressed their patience and happiness when guiding and waiting for children until they could do those practices well and then moved on to other activities.

Before the lesson, the children would sing the song “Hello” together to arouse their interest and then they would give their introduction to others in English to help strengthen the bond, minimize the gap between them and volunteers. During the lesson, the majority of children tended to be quite shy and turned off the camera but after having been asked to turn it on, they followed very well and strictly. At the end of the lesson, most of them expressed their thankfulness and shared their feelings, thinking about that lesson.

 In June, the classes continuously took place from Wednesday morning to Sunday every week. The morning classrooms mainly focus on primary students from age 8 to 10 years old with a wide variety of interesting topics such as animal names, tower building, learning English through songs, bathroom objects, classrooms,…

 The afternoon classrooms will teach students at the secondary and higher education with the advanced level, the children discuss and study grammar rules (noun, verb, adjective, conjunction,.), topic-related vocabulary such as the bathroom, school as well as virtual reality, 3D printer, Scratch program,

During the lesson, some activities were organized in many ways, in particular, breaking down the rooms – Breakout Zoom, Annotate to draw, answering the questions in the box chat, all the students were highly interested in those activities and shown their excitement about them, which help students not only remember knowledge but also boost their interaction among them as well as develop observational skill and listening skill.

After about two lessons, the students in the morning class were more confident and did not hesitate to interact with volunteers and actively ask people. The class gradually expanded from 10 to nearly 20 participants in a class. Students were not only in Phong Thanh commune (Library) but also expanded to adjacent communes such as Phong Phu, Cau Ke, etc. Besides, students also used computers and phones at home to study with the library due to the limited number of computers. All the children expressed their preferences when participating in the class and wanted to grasp more knowledge. The ability to use computers has become much more proficient, they actively logged into class earlier than the given time to check their attendance.

Prior to COVID 19, the children mainly studied at the library and no matter how difficult they were, volunteers willingly supported in a timely manner and managed the class easier. In the new situation, it is also an advantage for them to get used to computers, have more time to learn and while introducing to their parents about access, find out the information. Volunteers also would gain valuable experience in organizing online classes and managing distance learning.

Despite the complicated developments of the pandemic, the library makes great efforts

so that more classes can be given to students, and they are not left behind.

In addition, three students of the library won the Beyond Borders scholarship. In 6 months, they have successfully completed their study period. Students persistently attended and actively engaged in all the classes. They also got many rewards from teachers and people. At the end of the class ceremony, Miss Hoa was responsible for the host and the project’s teacher. Because of her experience as MC at the Library, she was very bold, confident, and highly communicative in the activities. Some students such as Ngoc, Tram, and Anh Thu dubbed the short film Frozen.  We are very happy and take a great deal of pride in them because they did a great job, they willingly put themselves out of limits, improve their English pronunciation skills, embrace proactive learning and know-how to manage their time well that do not affect their academic performance in the school

Virtual Service Learning with Singapore University





In April 2021, EVG Community Library continued to cooperate with partners and volunteers to carry out educational activities, following the Service-Learning model as follows:

1. Online English – STEM Class with students from Hong Kong PolyU

  • Sunday (April 4, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00. The number of students participating in the class was 13. They were introduced with meteorology and learned about types of clouds, rain formation, and some of the basic gases that make up the atmosphere.
  • Sunday (April 11, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00. The number of students participating in the class was 15. They were introduced with the discipline of Food Technology and learned about nutrition and weight, the main and secondary sources of nutrients in daily meals, as well as how to build a healthy diet and maintain a fit body.
  • Sunday (April 4, 2021), in the afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00. 12 students participated. They learned critical thinking through geometry puzzles and logical math questions. The students enjoyed the lesson very much and actively joined in throughout the lesson. These lessons boost children’s intelligence, logical thinking, as well as improve their problem-solving and flexible computer skills.
  • Sunday (April 11, 2021), in the afternoon from 14:00 to 16:00. 10 students joined in. They are introduced with basic programming through simple games and through creating backgrounds, images, names, background effects, text fonts, etc. These lessons encourage children to confidently use computers and the Scratch app to train their brain and creative mind through having fun learning with shapes and solving mental math questions.

Learning Attitude Observation: The children enjoyed learning and entertainment activities in the classroom, especially online games such as Kahoot; in addition to acquiring social and scientific knowledge, they also had the opportunity to interact, communicate and practice with foreign volunteers. Their participation also benefits their practice of English listening and reflecting ability and opens up the access to science and technology to apply it in life. Many shared that for the first time in their lives, they got to know about different types of clouds such as cumulus clouds, stratus clouds, cirrocumulus clouds, etc.

2. English Class – Life skills with Singaporean students

  • Saturday (March 27, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00 and in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00. 19 9th graders and 15 6th graders participated. They think about their own interests and passions, thereby drawing out their desires and orientations for future career possibilities through drawing activities and presenting them in front of the class.
  • Saturday (April 3, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00 and in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00, 15 9th graders and 16 6th graders participated. They got to learn English vocabulary on family members such as father, mother, siblings, etc. They inquired more about the family tree and did a vocabulary quiz to help them learn the lesson as quickly and accurately as possible.
  • Saturday (April 10, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00 and in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00, 13 grade 9 students and 12 grade 6 students participated. They learned to talk about their hobbies through pictures in English, do English grammar exercises, and so on.
  • Saturday (April 17, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00 and in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00, 9 grade 9 students and 6 grade 6 students participated. They got to learn presentation skills, using 2 “Cs” that are “confidence” and “eye contact” – meaning having interaction with the audience and listeners and practice giving presentations about themselves and their family.
  • Saturday (April 24, 2021), in the morning from 8:00 to 10:00 and in the afternoon from 2:00 to 4:00, 10 9th graders and 8 6th graders participated. They had further practice on public speaking skills in English.

Learning Attitude Observation: The children were interested in the lessons. After 5 lessons, they were well acquainted with public speaking and learned some English vocabulary on topics such as family, hobbies or careers. The class took place happily, the children were united, they supported each other and responded well in class activities.


The library is still open as usual from Wednesday to Sunday for students to come and play, borrow and read books on their demand.

Besides, on weekends, the library and its volunteers organize activities and team games for the children to have fun, communicate and interact with each other to improve teamwork skill and synergize.

Furthermore, the library is carrying out its mission of bringing books to more readers. On Thursday mornings, the library and its volunteers deliver books to elementary schools far away from the library and play with the children during recess.

Some educational activities at EVG Community Libraries.

    1. Law Class

Every Sunday afternoon, the EVG Community Library’s volunteers, who work in the field of Law, will hold classes for high school and secondary school students. They will have the opportunity to work together and find out how to look up legal documents and current documents on the Vietnamese Government’s Law Library website.

Besides, the students will discuss the articles, issues, and content of the Law on Gender Equality, the Labor Code, the Law on Road Traffic, the Anti-Abuse Law…

These lessons not only broaden the students’ horizons and give them a proper understanding of the law but also help them see the benefits from legal knowledge, which will enable them to defend themselves, and spark their interest in Law and Legal Studies. 

  1. English class for core students

With a desire to support students from disadvantaged and rural areas, Mr. Nguyen Van Quy, currently a teacher in Tay Ninh, has been spending three hours every week teaching students from the Library. 

The class attendees are the Library’s five core students, most of whom are in the sixth and eighth grades. The lessons are built on the book Discovery 1, which provides learners with foundation knowledge and helps them improve their listening and speaking skills. 

After three lessons, Mr. Quy spoke highly of the students’ fast learning capacity and serious attitude. However, the recent escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the class to be canceled. It is expected to be opened once the situation gets better.  

  1. Khmer dancing class

After foundational dancing lessons, Khmer dancing teachers of the Library will instruct students on how to stand and sit, to move their hands in sync with the tune and tempo of the songs. In Robam dance, facial expression is considered the key component.

    1. Gathering at the beginning of the month

On the first Sunday of every month, the Library will undertake recreational activities, review the previous month’s operation and offer rewards for the students who show great effort in their learning process and proactively participate in the Library’s activities.

Moreover, to bring about laughter and fond memories for the children, the EVG Community Library also organizes birthday parties for its members each month. At these parties, everybody will sing the Happy Birthday song, give their best wishes to the birthday girls and boys, and celebrate together, creating happy memories. Below is Ngan, who celebrated her birthday this month.

  1. The International Children’s Day June 1st

To establish a helpful playground for children, help them keep pleasant memories, and ensure their happiness on International Children’s Day, June 1st, the Library threw a small party for over 20 children. They played together, gave one another good wishes, then had a small party. That day, the children also learned about the meaning of International Children’s Day and its associated activities in Vietnam as well as all around the world.

Furthermore, the Library shared and explained to these children the activities it has been undertaking, thanks to the support and cooperation of its generous donors who have trusted and worked with the EVG to create a helpful playground for young students.

Besides, the Library still maintains its normal operation and lets the children in to play and read books. This year, the school year ended earlier so on average, roughly 20 children came to play, read and borrow books each day.