Vietnam: Dao Thi Bich Van

I am an ordinary woman with very simple work."

— Dao Thi Bich Van

With 16 years of teaching and service as the president of the school’s labor union and ten years of participation in trade union activities, humanitarian programs and the struggle for women’s promotion, Dao Thi Bich Van has made many contributions to education and to improving the plight of impoverished teachers and students in Vietnam.

The work of Dao Thi Bich Van requires patience, devotion and profound love. She organizes initiatives to improve the lives of disadvantaged people, especially teachers, the handicapped, and street children. Dao traveled to the countryside, where she saw the unhappy lot of teachers and students in remote regions and pledged to improve their lives. She established and managed humanitarian programs at the Department of Education and Training Hanoi and the Department’s trade union, using all possible resources to guarantee their success. In the past ten years, she has mobilized teachers to donate to humanitarian programs and participate in humanitarian and social activities, raising billions of Dong annually, totaling more than US$ three million. For street children, she marshaled vocational training teachers in Hanoi to give free classes in reading, writing and vocational training. She lobbied the Swiss organization Terre des Hommes to finance the building and equipment, and called on the Italian Motherless Association to donate US$ 30,000 to upgrade the classrooms. Using advanced teaching methodology with the slogan, "Discipline–Mercy–Responsibility", Dao's humanitarian work and scientific research have attracted hundreds of teachers in Hanoi. She organized a teachers' campaign, granting scholarships to poor but talented and hardworking students, and worked with the kind-hearted fund of Lao Dong (Labor), the longest-running newspaper of the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, which has been published since 1946, to help teachers buy bicycles for transportation. At the trade union, she organizes sessions on gender for the teaching profession. Dao Thi Bich Van has helped improve the lot of teachers, especially those without long-term contracts, who work in distant and poor districts, receiving only the minimum wage without health or social insurance coverage.

Department of Education and Training Hanoi