“The class is very interesting, especially on Happy Day on every Tuesday. We can share our stories there and are advised by our teachers to refresh the mind. I am very different from myself two months ago. Even though I have yet to forget my pain, I am on the way to overcome it,” says Thao, a student at the Happy Class of Asia-Europe Career Orientation School.
Thao, aged 19, who had earlier majored in tourism at a university in HCMC, heard about the Happy Class from her psychotherapist. After passing an entrance exam, she attended the special class with 13 other students. These students were exempt from tuition fees and were given travel expenses. Thao hopes that after she finishes the class as scheduled within six months, she will apply to work at a restaurant and stick to the culinary career.
The Happy Class is a project Asia-Europe Career Orientation School has conducted since mid-2020. Unlike its scholarship programs for disadvantaged students, the Happy Class is targeting children with special circumstances, mainly those living in orphanages or others facing psychological problems.
Each of the students of the Happy Class is granted a full scholarship worth VND30 million to take the “Being a Chef” learning program. The full scholarship consists of uniform, textbooks, materials for practice, fees of extracurricular activities and professional introduction after graduation.
Apart from the scholarships, the students of the class have also received support from many philanthropists, teachers and staff members of the school.
As shared by those who have directly implemented the project, they have undergone a long and arduous journey with 1,001 complicated stories to establish the Happy Class. For example, some students have dropped out of school for long, so they forgot how to write, while some others, despite loving cooking, were scared of hearing the sound of mincing meat as they had been hit in the head in the past.
Many teachers have faced much pressure while teaching these special students because they have found it hard to select a suitable teaching method, while the cooking profession requires some stringent rules on costumes and skills.
“Fortunately, at the present time, the students feel happy to come to the class every day due to love and safety. Many sponsors fell surprised at how quickly the students have changed their manners, behaviors and sense of responsibility,” says Phan Diem Linh, a staff member of the communications department at Asia-Europe Career Orientation School.
To resolve difficulties during the process of deploying the project, Asia-Europe Career Orientation School has always promoted the close cooperation of school, family and society. Due to the Happy Class project, the school has, for the first time, held parent meetings to help students learn better.
Every week, students of the Happy Class have a fixed day to relax, which helps leverage their positive energy and develop their personality, Thao said.
The project has received much support from numerous philanthropists who are teachers, educators and psychologists. Through various talks, drawing, acting and sex education lessons, these students could easily express their feelings, emotions, thoughts and moods.
Thanks to the Happy Class, they can get acquainted with reliable people who are their classmates and teachers to help them heal their pain, generate motivation and regain confidence and belief.
Asia-Europe Career Orientation School expects to expand the Happy Class model to other localities with various careers to give a helping hand to more needy children. To fulfill its expectation, in November, the school will organize career orientation sessions for unfortunate young people to find the most favorite major for the next Happy Classes.
The school is planning to hold at least one 20-student Happy Class every year. Excellent students of the first class can become teachers or teaching assistants at the following classes.
Some students of the Happy Class with good qualifications and behavior have been offered paid internships at several prestigious companies, while others have been provided with free English learning courses and soft skill training courses by numerous donors.
“Many parents have asked about the timetable of the 2021 Happy Class as they were told about the class by these students. This means that the students are not only the receiver but also the giver by spreading the good values they receive every day,” says Diem Linh.
By Thuan An