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Students' impressions on POEMA

Mar 08 2024

Bao, Tuan, Quynh, and Hien are between the ages of 14 and 17, living in the Coc Pai commune.
Each of them has a dream, and all look enthusiastically toward the future : one wants to become a police officer, another wishes to continue studies abroad, someone aspires to be a teacher, and another dreams of becoming a Chinese translator.

Although these young individuals claim to be indifferent to the person they will choose as a partner one day, they have recognized that there are still prejudices and resistance from older generations when it comes to marriages with a partner of a different ethnicity. They also acknowledge that in the context of Xin Man, especially in its most isolated villages, their peers are forced to face significant difficulties, with a high risk of school dropout and early marriages.

Over the years, they have witnessed classmates leaving their school to start a family or seek economic opportunities. These former classmates now face serious hardships, economic problems, and lack the protection of their parents.

Thanks to the training provided by POEMA, they share that they have been able to learn, discuss, and reflect with their classmates on topics such as sexual and reproductive education (subjects they had never addressed before), gender equality, children's rights, and the fight against early marriages. Furthermore, with the construction of new libraries, they have been able to independently delve into certain topics, reading comics or watching additional videos, enriching their knowledge and sensitivity on specific issues.

Now, they confess to being more aware of the risks of marriages between close relatives or at an early age and the importance of waiting for the legal age and economic self-sufficiency to marry and have children. They have committed to spreading these teachings to their parents, brothers, and sisters, creating important points of reflection and dialogue with them.

The most exciting activities for the young people have been the theatrical performances they created themselves on the topics discussed in class and presented in the villages of Coc Pai. In addition to being a way to spread greater awareness of the learned subjects, it has been an opportunity for them to see the reality in the villages, where they felt welcomed and accepted.

In conclusion, we can say that the POEMA project has been positively received by both the young people and beyond the school environment.

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