Maker Curriculum & Leadership Academy | Kidspire Vietnam


Maker Curriculum & Leadership Academy | Kidspire Vietnam

November 2018

The Challenge: 

168,000 children in Vietnam are orphans or abandoned. Many spend most of their childhood years in government facilities. There are 150 - 200 government run orphanages in Vietnam, and over 1,000 including privately run orphanages, which are typically run by Buddhists or Catholic groups. 

These orphans have little exposure to the outside world beyond their school and almost no access to technology. Many of the students, parents, and communities ostracize the kids from the orphanage, so attending public school is difficult for kids who live in orphanages. The community might say they're unlucky, sick, disabled, and don't want their kids to be associated with the kids from the orphanage. Public school class sizes are large in Vietnam so parents give tips to teachers to give their kids extra attention, while orphans don't receive much teacher attention.

At age 18, all orphans have to leave the orphanages. Many have not completed their high school degree, don't have family and community support, making them vulnerable to certain employment sectors. If they are able to get a job, many work at labor jobs in factories, construction, or massage parlors, earning minimum wage, with long hours, and few upward career trajectory.

Even fewer attend university. University is supposed to be free for orphans in Vietnam, but in reality only 20% of the orphans receive free education. Many education institutions state they don't know the law or don't practice it. It costs USD 1,000 / term / student where Kidspire Vietnam helps to fundraise for the kids who want to attend university. 

Kidspire Vietnam and Their Innovation:

Kidspire Vietnam (previously called Orphan Impact) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children living in orphanages build skills for productive employment after they leave the orphanages when they turn 18. Kidspire Vietnam has served more than 1,500 students in 22 orphanages since 2009. It is the only nonprofit organization that provides after school computer classes in government orphanages in Vietnam.

The goal of Kidspire Vietnam is to equip students with digital literacy skills and confidence to pursue educational and employment opportunities after leaving the orphanages. Their innovative programs features a student-centered learning environment and a curriculum focused on design thinking, making, and entrepreneurship. Their program has drastically increased the children’s engagement and interest in learning, and has helped them become more career ready.

Project: For this project, a team of volunteers from Pure Storage collaborated with Kidspire Vietnam staff to create additional maker curriculum and modules for their leadership academy called LeadVN. In addition, because of the continual commitment from Pure Storage to work with Kidspire Vietnam, Pure Storage donated $50,000 to help create two innovation labs for the students, allowing them to have a dedicated space for their maker classes, learn about computers, and get mentorship from the Kidspire Vietnam staff.


Area given by the orphanage to build the Innovation Lab.    Innovation Lab - area of inspiration, creativity, and fun. Built within 6 weeks! 

For the maker curriculum, the team built upon last year's Pure Storage team's work on creating a more advanced curriculum on Hummingbird Kit, while also introducing two new maker kits called Quirkbot and Littlebits. 

The LeadVN program is Kidspire Vietnam's new leadership academy program, which provides additional training and support for Kidspire Vietnam's graduates and older students. All students at age 18 have to leave the orphanage, many haven't completed their high school degree, and are only able to get labor jobs paying minimum wage with no upward career trajectory. LeadVN provides students classes on entrepreneurship and the Pure Storage team helped add additional modules to the LeadVN curriculum, which included resume writing, interview tips, English language, self confidence, and how to create a digital portfolio. 

The Pure Storage team worked virtually with the Kidspire Vietnam staff eight weeks prior to heading to Vietnam to better understand their needs, and collaborate on creating a curriculum. The team then spent two weeks working with the Kidspire Vietnam staff in Vietnam to pilot, test, and gather feedback on their curriculum with the LeadVN students and with the Kidspire Vietnam students at the orphanage in Rach Gia.  

Key Result:

When Kidspire Vietnam (previously called Orphan Impact) started in 2009, less than 1% of their students went to university. After participating in Kidspire Vietnam's programs and visiting universities and companies in field trips, now, 65% of their students who graduate from the orphanages Kidspire Vietnam works at, go on to university.
The field trips help open up the students' perspectives and encourage them to visualize themselves in different roles that they wouldn't have otherwise known about. For example, 8 - 9 students ended up attending the university which they visited during a Kidspire Vietnam field trip, changing their mindset that university is something they can achieve. A student ended up working at Intel after visiting Intel on a Kidspire Vietnam field trip. During the field trip, she told the Kidspire Vietnam staff she wanted to work at Intel, and then completed a 14 week finance program, and still currently works at Intel. 
Quote from a Kidspire Vietnam staff:
 "This was a great project. The volunteers from Pure were fantastic. The previous volunteers were involved to help select the volunteers who they think could contribute and help us achieve the goals. I think the project goals were realistic, meaningful and strategic, and able to help further the direction we hope to go this year. And I think as we reach the end of this project, I feel like we accomplished those goals."
- Tad Kincaid, Program Coordinator of Kidspire Vietnam.
Quote from a Pure Storage employee:

"It’s a life changing experience, really. Kidspire, Team4Tech, and Pure Storage really help others open up your eyes, other than what you understand and know back home. When you think you really had it bad at home, because you missed your train, then coming to a place like this, then you really understand how difficult and how challenging those obstacles could get. Kidspire and Team4Tech really goes above and beyond to make sure they pick the best of the best, and come here and teach the students and the teachers."

- Uriel Flores, Enterprise IAR at Pure Storage, volunteer for self-confidence and digital portfolio module.


In Collaboration With