Origins of WiFEC
Hoa Phan was born in a small village in rural Vietnam, where poverty and a harsh weather flooding her house every year during rainy season made life very difficult. The majority of her neighbours were farmers with not enough money to send children to school, most of whom had to help their parents at home or at the farm. Hoa Phan is the only one of her family who could go study and the only one of her village who, thanks to hard work and scholarships given only to the most successful, managed to pursue an academic course. Her continuous efforts allowed her to follow her ambitions and obtain two Master’s degree abroad, as well as a Ph.D. in France.
During her studies, Hoa Phan had the chance to travel and ascertain the fact that opportunities can come flying, and well-developed educational systems do exist. This realisation pushed her towards a life of giving back and having others benefit from the same chances she had, as well as trying her best in order to develop the access to a higher education in her native village.
If the village situation is improving and more children have the possibility to go to school, the majority is still not in capacity of pursuing a higher education, hard to access because of its costs and because of parents who prefer to keep their children at home in order to help in the fields. A lot of effort remains to be put in, in order to give equal access to education to all children in Vietnam.
Hoa Phan was invited several times to talk with the students of her village, share her story and understand the current difficulties. In March 2020, with the arrival of Covid-19 resulting in the closing of schools, she posts a message on social media offering her remote help to students in need of council or support for their studies during these difficult times. Seeing the amount of responses, she launches the WiFEC project in order to help the first students to reach out with their university entry exams (through English, French, Math and Physics classes).
The demand had reached such a level that Hoa Phan cried out for help and found on her path Juliette Miriel and Alexandra Aimard, who joined her in teaching English. The Vietnamese student community in France rallied as well and with mouth-to-ear gave the project its international aspect we now know. Within two weeks a team of 30 volunteer teachers was put in place in order to help around 300 students, ages from 6 to 23.
This extraordinary group of heterogeneous people gave a solid base to the newly-founded association and helped insure its continuity after the pandemic, the confinement and the reopening of schools. It gave way to a sustainable future and procuring great help to children in need. It is with this thought that the association found its name : WiFEC Wings for the Future - Education through Connection.
This idea came from the will to help children fly high towards success and a better future by giving out a knowledge and skill set allowing them to address their work with the best possible state of mind. “Education through Connection” shows the directive of online classes, main activity of the association, and approaches the idea of the network from all horizons created in order to achieve our common goal.
The start of the association is therefore an incredible adventure that led its members to teach over 250 classes in just two months after its beginning. The flourishing ideas for future projects, such as the opening of free libraries in villages, also give a remarkable perspective to the improvement of children’s lives.
12.06.2020, the creation of WiFEC.