On the afternoon of March 8, 2022, Standard Chartered Vietnam in collaboration with VinaCapital Foundation (VCF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to start with two Brighter Path Girls’ Clubs (BPGC) to provide education in financial literacy, sexual and reproductive health, legal rights, and leadership skills for rural ethnic minority female students in high schools across Vietnam. The clubs will be implemented over one year from May 2022 to May 2023 to empower victims of social prejudices and gender inequality and transform them into agents of change in their rural communities. The partnership between the two organizations started from 2021 and represents continued and dedicated collaborative commitments to serve the Vietnamese communities.
According to the statistics of the General Statistic Office in 2019, one in four ethnic minority girls is a child bride – some as young as 14 – 15 years old. In several ethnic minority groups, child marriage rates reach 40% to 50% of all females. In the case of ethnic minority girls, early marriage means becoming pregnant and giving multiple births during the early teenage years. Compared to girls 20 years of age, the risk of maternal death doubles in adolescents aged 15 to 19 and is four times more likely among girls under the age of 15. Child marriage is also one of the main causes of ethnic minority girls dropping out of school. This deprives them of their hopes and dreams.
On 8 March 2022, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Ms. Michele Wee, CEO of Standard Chartered Vietnam, and Mr. Rad Kivette, CEO of VinaCapital Foundation, signed the MOU to start with the implementation of two Brighter Path Girls’ Clubs (BPGC) – an initiative of VCF’s Brighter Path program. VCF will carry out 2 BPGC models in two rural high schools, providing friendship mentoring and education for 160 ethnic minority high school students in Vietnam. In addition to the universal goal of encouraging female students to remain in school and postpone marriage, the BPGC is designed to create a safe and comfortable environment, encouraging female students to share their difficulties and learn from the program and each other.
Besides providing financial aid, financial experts and volunteers from Standard Chartered Vietnam will participate in consulting and organizing activities for the clubs to improve knowledge and skills in personal financial management and mentorship for the ethnic minority girls.
“Our partnership with VinaCapital Foundation started in 2021. This is a further extension of a multi-year partnership. Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam is fully committed to “lifting participation” for the communities of Vietnam providing initiatives which focus specifically on the adolescent to professional growth and career advancement of underrepresented populations (such as women and ethnic minorities) to accelerate the pace of change (including coaching, mentoring and sponsorship). VinaCapital Foundation’s track record of dedication focusing on adolescent ethnic high school girls is a perfect partner to accelerate our efforts with.” Said Michele Wee, CEO of Standard Chartered Vietnam.
“Studies from around the world prove that in underdeveloped communities educating girls in key topics is the best investment we can make to begin to reduce generational poverty, improve health, build the middle class and ensure the rights of women,” states Rad Kivette, CEO of VinaCapital Foundation. “It is VinaCapital Foundation’s honor to partner with Standard Chartered Vietnam to provide quality education opportunities in ethnic communities for vulnerable, disadvantaged, and often marginalized ethnic high school girls. With the generous support of Standard Chartered Vietnam – for which we are very grateful, this project will prepare and enable ethnic high school girls to become strong independent women who contribute substantially to the economic growth of Vietnam.”
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