VietSpeak - Vietnamese Bilingual Advocacy is a grassroots community non-profit organisation that aims to build a Vietnamese bilingual program in Melbourne’s west. Bilingual education is delivery of curriculum in language, often through immersion environments. Proven student benefits include enhanced cognitive and cultural development.
Vietnamese is the second most spoken language in Melbourne’s west. Vietnamese language education began at Footscray Primary School as a mother-tongue program in 1985 and transitioned to a bilingual program for all students in 1997. The award winning program was closed in 2020 without consultation with the school community, a lack of Vietnamese language teachers cited as the reason. A parent led campaign to save the program attracted over 17000 petition signatures and broad community support. Unfortunately the School leadership, its Department and the Minister failed to listen to community voices.
Thus VietSpeak was born to expand the advocacy to Melbourne’s west.
As petition supporter, Dr Maree Pardy, commented:
By saying we "can't find an appropriately qualified Vietnamese teacher" is what has been said to women, Indigenous people, and members of many minority groups, forever. It is time to stop this. Vietnamese people, communities, languages and cultures are crucial to Australia's history and present.
We are a group of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese parents, educators, and volunteers who believe in community-based languages education and the notion that language is inseparable from culture and place. We believe language acquisition based mainly on economic rationales devalues language and culture.
As a group of volunteers the advocacy work we do involves multiple skill-sets and activities. You can help support the work we do by making a donation to this fund which will allow us to pay for expenses related to administration, marketing, public events, campaigning and professional fees such as translation services.
As the song goes ‘From little things big things grow, from little things big things grow.’ * Every little bit counts with this exciting initiative and we would really appreciate your support. Join us in our mission to protect and preserve the integrity of community languages in Melbourne and work towards a truly multilingual Australia.
To find out more about VietSpeak visit our website, Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. All donations made to VietSpeak are unrestricted as to use and location, and may be used for any purpose within the mission of VietSpeak.
A thousand thanks,
Hoang and David
On behalf of the VietSpeak Team
*by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody
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