“It was a painful, yet proud, journey to build this library …”
Volunteering is a journey of new experiences and challenges, new encounters and new endeavours. This is how ECO Vietnam Group understands the meaning of Volunteerism. Therefore, we always do our best in what we are doing, we always keep moving forward, push through all hardships and embrace all the lessons we learnt, joyfully or painfully. The making of Gia Bac Community Library is a living proof -with much tear, sweet and pride- to testify our belief and enthusiasm in this journey of volunteerism.
A LONG JOURNERY CAME GIA BAC.
Gia Bac, since the 1st time EVG came to it until now, has become another home, a tenderly calling to many EVG members and volunteers in and outside Vietnam. We want to bring a better life with better education to the lovely people in this poor land of our fatherland. With that cause, we have built kitchens, maintained roads, raised funds, sponsored scholarships and it was just a matter of time until we had enough forces to build a community library. That time was December 2011.
Starting from December in 2011, EVG partnered with the Singapore Management University (SMU), Saint Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC), and Dunman High School (DHS) to start developing the first part of Community and Volunteering Centre (CVC) Project, EVG Community Library. This is a dream we shared with Gia Bac community – children and adults, with our partners and volunteers – Singaporean and Vietnamese students who love this place as much as us do. We all worked hard for days of hard labours from digging dirt, laying the very first brick to making doors and walls from dried -bamboo leaves, arranging the interior design. We did with our burning heart to serve the people we love, the children we saw much potential in.
However, as a matter of fact, we couldn’t build the library with only love and enthusiasm so we seek help from professional constructors to build the library. However, halfway the process, the constructors decided to abandon the unfinished building and left as they were tired and bored with the living condition in Gia Bac – where surrounded by mountains and forest.
Left with a half-done library, EVG put the faith in our unwavering volunteers to finish building it. Around 20 Vietnamese volunteers made a commitment to stay in Gia Bac until the library is completed. They surely bewildered us with their passion, talent and forbearing spirit to overcome all the hardships and challenges during this time. EVG always owns them our gratefulness.
As a result, in April 2012, EVG was able to proudly inaugurate and bring the Community Library into operation in Gia Bac. This event lays a very important foundation for the CVC Project to develop in the future. This library will not be possible without the contribution and devotion of the students, partners, and volunteers.
The Pay Off
All of our pains and hardships were paid off when we saw a group of children came to the library, picked up books, and read enthusiastically. Their expression of endless joy and their echoing laughter when they play with their friends in the library are worth everything that we had to go through. When almost a hundred of children came to EVG Book Fair we knew that we had made the right decision in sacrificing so much to build this library.
We are convinced that this library will open opportunities for these children to a better feature if we do not give up.