September 13, 2018

An Interview with TLP’s Program Coordinator in Vietnam

Thuy is one of The Library Project’s most valuable employees in Vietnam. She has been with The Library Project for 5 years and adds a wealth of invaluable knowledge to the team. One of our staff members sat down recently with Thuy to discuss her important role as the Program Coordinator. Keep reading to learn about what Thuy does, what a library donation day is like and the impact her work has on children in rural Vietnam.


What does your role as Program Coordinator involve?

My job is made up of two main parts.  The first part is building connections and strengthening relationships with local governments in each province. I work directly with them so they understand the important work The Library Project is doing. This also involves finding schools that fit the criteria to be considered for a library donation.

The second, and most rewarding part of the job, is library donation day!  This is when the results of all the preparatory work that is necessary to make a library happen come to life.

What is the journey like to get to a school receiving a TLP library?

Our amazing volunteers, who are usually students giving up their valuable sleeping time, meet at our office in Ho Chi Minh City at 5am! Sometimes, if the library is donated directly through a business, a few of the donors come as well. They help us load the van with our bookshelves and books for the new library. The length of the journey varies depending on the location of the school. Many schools are in rural Vietnam so they can be several hours away.

Sometimes we can drive directly to the school, maybe through a dirt road, but other locations we have to unload the bookshelves and boxes of books from the van onto a small boat. Then we take the boat to the school. Sometimes that is the only way to reach the school!

Volunteers unload a new TLP bookshelf from a boat in Vietnam.

What happens after you and the volunteers and donors arrive at the school?

After arriving at the school, the teachers, donors, and volunteers get to work to set up the library. Sometimes the children are so excited even they help, too. As a team, everyone unloads the materials, stamps all the books with our logo and puts together the bookshelves.

A student in Vietnam leads a TLP volunteer to her school receiving a new library.

The energy is always great and the atmosphere really exciting.  Once the library is in place, I usually conduct a literacy program with the students as well as librarian training with the teachers.  While I am working with the teachers, Mr. An, an invaluable volunteer who accompanies us to every donation, does some fantastic games and activities with the kids which are aimed at getting them excited about reading.  Games include acting out stories from a book and storytelling.

 What kind of books are included in a donation?

We have a broad range of carefully selected material: educational encyclopaedias, biographies, books about science, health, the environment and bravery. Perhaps my favourite is a series called “The People Around Us.”  The books focus on different professions and give an aspirational message. One girl became really excited when she realized she could work in the airline industry just like the book encouraged her to do.

Vietnamese children’s books include content about science, the environment, health and more. All of The Library Projects books are 100% local language and age-appropriate.

What happens after a library is donated, say months later?

I return to the school a year after a donation to see how everything is progressing and do a post-assessment of the library.  I’m amazed by how well looked after the books are. The head teachers are often surprised by how much more confident the children have become. Teachers are also incredibly enthusiastic.  Some even tell me that they also learn from the science and technology books.

A student in Vietnam excitedly reading a book from his new TLP library.

What do you like most about your role as a Program Coordinator?

One of the benefits about working with the schools in rural Vietnam is that a new library is so impactful there. I often think that because the children have less gadgets competing for their attention, compared to city kids, there is an even bigger impact of the books from The Library Project. They really value the books a lot.

 Why did you join The Library Project 5 years ago?

I read a book called “Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children” by John Wood.  From that moment, I knew I had to get involved in an education project in the non-profit world.

Thuy conducting a literacy program at a rural school in Vietnam.

To read more about the amazing work Thuy and The Library Project teams are doing visit our website: