Skills for life
The children at Duc Son Orphanage are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves from an early age, building up a sense of self reliance and confidence. Older children also take a role in helping the younger ones.
The mornings are a time of bustle and noise as the children get up and prepare for the day ahead. Everyone pitches in. Older girls help younger ones get dressed. Beds are being made. Boys are sweeping and tidying the boys' dorm. Other boys are mopping the kitchen floor. The nuns are feeding the babies. Girls are preparing the breakfast rice.
After breakfast the dishes have to be washed, teeth brushed and school bags found. Then, for the morning shift children, it's time to board the bus for school. Like most schools in Vietnam, the local schools run classes in two shifts: mornings and afternoons.
When the morning shift children have left for school, it's time for kindergarten for the younger children. The kindergarten sessions focus on developing social skills such as cooperation and caring for others. At this time the afternoon shift schoolchildren prepare for school, completing homework tasks and reviewing previous lessons.
After school there is home work to be done and for some children there are extra lessons. And then there are clothes to be washed. There are no gender differences. Boys also take responsibility for washing their clothes and take their turn at washing dishes. Girls, though seem to take a leading rolen
After the evening meal, there is another round of domestic chores as the children clear up the kitchen and dining areas. Everyone who has teeth has to brush them or, in the case of the toddlers, has them brushed for them. Then the children relax reading, playing games, enjoying their hobbies or watching TV, before preparing for bed.