Ngoc Ho opened a kindergarten for Vietnamese-born children after attending a free start-up support course in Houston.
Ngoc Ho graduated from the University of Houston in the spring of 2020, when Covid-19 forced many students and children to stay home and not go to school. Ho, 29, moved from Vietnam to Houston six years ago, feeling uncertain about his future job after graduating amid the pandemic.
“According to the classification during the pandemic, I didn’t know what to do,” Ho said.
When a friend introduced her to a startup that opened a free kindergarten, Ho signed up. The program teaches how to run a business and then teaches the developmental stages of children before the age of 5.
Thanks to the course, Ho obtained permission to open a nursery, which is even more complicated during the pandemic. Less than a year after graduating from college, Ho opened his own daycare center called Dino Land Academy in Houston in early January.
The need to find places to send and care for children is always very high, while Covid-19 makes it harder to find these centers. Many women have been forced to quit their jobs as daycares and kindergartens close due to the pandemic. They are also more stressed when they cannot access affordable child care.
In the report on the Parent Support and Child Development Plan, released June 11, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden said women are the hardest hit by Covid-19, already that 1 0.8 million women have not yet returned to the workforce.
She is one of dozens of people who have received vocational training in child care from the Alliance, which was originally only for refugees. However, thanks to $ 260,000 funding from the City of Houston, the program has been expanded to include immigrants and Houstonians.
Earlene Leverett, who runs the program, said more than 70 kindergartens have been set up in Houston since the program began, owned mostly by refugees and immigrant women. In addition to helping women start their own businesses, the program also offers affordable childcare in underserved communities so mothers can return to work in peace.
“Children at home without a caregiver is one of the reasons why many refugee families are prevented from joining the community and entering the workforce,” Leverett said.
According to research by the Third Way organization, many parents are still not working when thousands of daycare facilities are still closed due to Covid-19.
“In Texas, one of the hardest hit states, the number of child care centers is down nearly 180,000 compared to the pre-pandemic,” said Third Way expert Ladan Ahmadi.
Ngoc Ho speaks both English and Vietnamese. This is a great advantage for your customers. Many of Ho’s students have never been to kindergarten because all of their parents speak Vietnamese and feel uncomfortable sending their children to school in an English-only environment.
In order to develop the advantages of the center, after 6 months of starting a business, Ngoc Ho hopes to expand the business and accept more children in school.
“I help kids learn English so they have enough vocabulary to go to kindergarten and understand what the teacher teaches or enough to communicate with the teacher,” Ho said. “I also help them learn Vietnamese, because most of them speak Vietnamese.”
Hong Hanh (Carry on Market)