Kindergarten in Hà Nội hopes for N Korean leader’s visit

February, 22/2019 - 09:00

Six-year-old Phạm Hà Quý Phương has no idea that one of the most important political events of the year will take place next week in her hometown.

Pupils at the school dressed in hanbok, the Korean traditional dress, practice dancing in the hope of welcoming DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un. — VNS Photo Paul Kennedy
Viet Nam News

Thu Hà

HÀ NỘI — Six-year-old Phạm Hà Quý Phương has no idea that one of the most important political events of the year will take place next week in her hometown.

But she’s still getting ready just in case Chairman of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un decides to pay her school a visit.

Dressed in a modified version of Hanbok, the traditional Korean dress, Phương and her classmates practised saying “yeoboseyo”, one of the Korean phrases they know, which means “hello” to welcome the guests they are expecting.

Sounds unbelievable? This may come true.

A Việt Nam-DPRK friendship corner at the school. — VNS Photo Bảo Hoa

Phương is a pupil at the Việt Nam-DPRK Friendship Kindergarten in Đống Đa District, Hà Nội.

Staff there have already been in touch with the DPRK Embassy in Hà Nội and invited the country’s leader to visit the school.

Chairman Kim is expected to be in town next week for a historic summit with US President Donald Trump on February 27-28.

As well as putting on a performance, the staff and pupils want to say a big thank you to the DPRK for helping them.

As its name suggests, the school has a close relationship with the country nearly 3,500 kilometres away.

Back in 1978, the DPRK sent a helping hand to friends in Việt Nam and paid for this school to be built. Covering an area of 4,000 square metres, it is the first and only school in Việt Nam built using donations from the DPRK government.

Until now, the school has always been considered a symbol of friendship between the Vietnamese and North Korean people.

Pupils in the Kim Il-sung class learn about the DPRK through various activities. — VNS Photo Bảo Hoa

“It was a precious gift of the DPRK government to Việt Nam as the country had just escaped from war and was battling many difficulties,” said Hoàng Thị Thanh, the school’s former principal who worked there shortly after its establishment.

“Our school has since then nurtured a close relationship with the DPRK.”

North Korean characteristics can be found everywhere in the school. Images of Chairman Kim and portraits of the country’s late leader Kim Il-sung hang on the wall besides a picture of the late Vietnamese President Hồ Chí Minh, while merry-go-rounds in the play ground are as old as the school itself.

It also has a sister school in Pyongyang with which it regularly conducts exchange activities, including visits by school leaders and students.

Pulpils play on the merry-go-round as old as the school itself. — VNS Photo Paul Kennedy

As the country prepares to host Kim for the first time since he took office, Ngô Thị Minh Hà, the school’s current principal, said she really wishes he will pay them a visit.

“Last week, the Ambassador of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea visited our school. We have proposed to him that on such a big event in Hà Nội, our school hopes the ambassador convey our invitation to Chairman Kim Jong-un to visit our school,” she said.

“During classes, children have prepared interesting musical performances. The school has also hired art directors to make a musical performance with the participation of both teachers and children to celebrate the success of the upcoming summit.”

Korean culture is also taught during special classes.

Đào Thanh Tú, teacher of such a class named after late DPRK leader and also father of Chairman Kim, Kim Jong-il, said: “At our class, we teachers organises various activities for children to study the DPRK through images of people, songs, food and their traditional dress.”

As Phương and her classmates practise their lines each day, they hope if Chairman Kim does visit, it will lead to them growing up in a world of peace. — VNS