The millennials changing the face of sex education in Vietnam


Students attend a WeGrow Edu sex education learning camp for children from 12 to 15 years PHOTO/WeGrow Edu team

Tu Nguyen gave up a sought-after job in a mission to help young people in Vietnam better understand sex and sexuality.

Tu Nguyen never had a formal sex education (sex-ed) class at his school in Hanoi, nor was he trained as an educator on the subject, but he and his team have set out to change the face of sex-ed in Vietnam. 

Tu, Linh Hoang, Thu Ha and Ngoc Nguyen cofounded startup WeGrow Edu (WE) in their early 20s with the ambitious goal of empowering children and young people from the ages of five to 24 to better understand sex and sexuality.

“We especially focus on students from grade 1 to 12. This is when they need the company of an organisation like ours and their families. Currently, schools don’t have really a sex-ed [teaching] model that can actually work and benefit them,” Tu said. 

Students at WE learn how to build healthy relationships and protect their bodies. Each lesson reinforces the validity of their self-identity and their freedom to make their own choices, with a message of gender equality woven throughout.

Sex-ed in Vietnam is based on abstinence and remains a sensitive issue in a country with one of the highest rates of abortion in the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.

“Vietnamese adolescents and young people [typically] have sex for the first time at 16 or 17 years old, much later than their European peers, yet there are more unwanted pregnancies and abortions among them than in many European countries,” said Dr Tu Anh Hoang, cofounder and director of the Hanoi-based Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP).

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