Two Vietnamese mothers in France have established a group called "The Vietnamese Kite" to teach Vietnamese children about their fatherland and preserve Vietnamese culture.
Through singing, dancing, and drawing classes, the group teaches Vietnamese-French youngsters to speak Vietnamese.
"The Vietnamese Kite" group was established in 2013 by Thuy Phuong and Quynh Mai, who studied together at a high school in Vietnam and then in France. Both married French husbands, settled in France, had babies, and decided to set up the group.
Thuy Phuong told us about the group's name: "We hope our children will be like kites, which can fly high and far. The Vietnamese language and culture are the kite strings that connect them with their origin."
What concerns the two young mothers is helping their mixed-race children speak Vietnamese fluently and understand and love their Vietnamese fatherland.
Quynh Mai shared her feelings: "We established this group to let our children know that there are many other children like them and how beautiful the Vietnamese culture is. We not only teach them how to speak Vietnamese, but also find ways to get them to love speaking Vietnamese and learning about Vietnamese culture."
21 children between 2 years and 9 years old regularly attend the group's classes. Both children and their parents are involved in the group's activities. The teachers are paid very little, just enough to cover their travel expenses.
Teacher Hoang Yen, who used to be a teacher at the Vietnam Dance College before she moved to France, said "A decade ago, I taught the mothers, who came to France to study. Now I teach their children, who can't speak much Vietnamese because they are second generation Vietnamese. In our classes, the teachers teach and chat with them in Vietnamese. We try to do everything in a Vietnamese style so that they will learn and remember the Vietnamese nation."
Mr. Thi, whose 4-year-old daughter attends classes every week, said his daughter loves the dance course. "We work in the daytime all week. My daughter is taught in French and absorbs the French culture at her kindergarten," Thi explained, adding "We only see her and speak Vietnamese with her in evenings and weekends, so we really need activities like this that embody Vietnamese culture. Through the Vietnamese Kite group, we have a stronger connection with other families."
Well done ladies, teaching mixed-race children the language and culture of their heritage is important to ensure a more balanced sense of identity. In their teenage years when their identity will tend to be questioned by others, those who know and understand all sides of their cultural heritage will be better equipped and have higher self-esteem.