Insurance costs for Waldorf Kindergarten teachers in Vietnam
Some time ago, the Vietnamese government introduced a requirement for all teachers and educators to be covered by social insurance. However, the annual contribution costs for such insurances are very high and too expensive for social non-profit projects like the Dieu Giac orphanage and its kindergarten. The low salary level that can be paid to kindergarten teachers is increasingly becoming a problem as the gap between what they receive and what other teachers in government schools are payed is widening. There are plans to remedy this in the long term, but in the short term, the situation remains limited as the kindergarten is dependent on donations. In order to be able to pay the compulsory social security for the kindergarten teachers, the Dieu Giac kindergarten needs help. Costs of about 3,500 euros are required to pay the insurance contributions each year.
About the project:
The Dieu Giac Kindergarten is part of an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City, the former capital of Vietnam. The Dieu Giac orphanage is a Buddhist-run orphanage built (with several buildings) around a central courtyard. The orphans, Buddhist nuns and staff live and work in those buildings. The orphanage is right next to the Dieu Giac Buddhist temple and garden. The Steiner-inspired kindergarten is a special space dedicated to the pre-school children from the orphanage and from the neighbouring poor families, located in this cluster of buildings. Currently, 15 children attend the kindergarten, three of whom live in the orphanage.
Both kindergarten teachers and the cook were all orphans themselves that grew up in the Dieu Giac Orphanage, but now have their own lives and families living outside the Orphanage and travel there each day to work. The two teachers have trained as Steiner Preschool teachers, in a course where many experienced Steiner teachers from around the world visit to train and mentor them. They accept much lower wages for their work because they really want to support other less privileged children to have a healthy, caring and confirming foundation to their lives. They also run a vegetarian restaurant at the street front and often made food packs for the needy early in the pandemic. It is next door to the Dieu Giac Buddhist Temple and garden.
In early 2022, the kindergarten had mould damage caused by the long pandemic-related closure and flooding from the heavy rains. Therefore, the rooms had to be renovated. The ground and the floor of the premises were lifted to escape future flood damage, new windows and the entrance door were replaced and much more. There are plans to fence off a small area at the front of the kindergarten to create a garden and outdoor play area.
The teachers do their best to transform the indoor spaces to provide a serene and friendly place for the children to develop healthy social and creative play. They provide nurturing activities such as shared mealtimes, story-time, circle-time and bread making, as well as toys made from natural materials. The room, with the teachers’ work, creates a homely and enfolding security for the children.