- About the project:
- FIGHT FOR GOOD CAUSE Project
- Time : 17/6/2015 – 1/7/2015
- Place : Long Vĩnh Commune, Duyên Hải District, Trà Vinh Province
- Participants: 19 students of Nanyang Technological University – Hall 16 and 5 Vietnamese volunteers (including 2 EVG members)
+ Complete an kindergarten
+ English teaching for local children
FIGHT FOR GOOD CAUSE is the last project at Long Vinh Commune in first project season of 2015, in association with 19 students from Nanyang Technological University – Hall 16, the official participation of 3 Vietnamese volunteers and the support of 2 EVG members, to help complete the Long Vinh kindergarten – make opportunities for local residents to develop and improve their living & education condition, especially for the local children there.
The main activities of this project include: keep completing the kindergarten, teach English at Long Vinh Primary school, do housework everyday and oraganise the Culture Exchange with local residents.
- Activity process:
- 8:00 am, 4 Vietnamese volunteers with Harry (EVG’s president) and Yen ( EVG’s director) gathered at Tan Son Nhat airport.
- 9:00 am, Vietnamese team met and took picture with Singaporean volunteers at the airport.
- Because one student of Hall 16 had stomach problem, the schedule changed, all members had a short city tour around Ben Thanh Market, Diamond Plaza and Duc Ba Church for about 2 hours.
- 12:00 am, had lunch at Co Ba Vung Tau
- 1:00 pm, started to go to Long Vinh
- 7:00 pm, arrived at Long Vinh, with the help from local police, all members unloaded and brought logistics to Long Vinh B Primary School together.
- 7:30 pm, had first dinner at Long Vinh.
- 8:30 pm, boys and girls were divided into 2 teams and set up 2 rooms
- 9.30 pm, bathing and resting time.
18/6/2015 – 26/6/2015:
The main jobs in 10 days here were: continue building and completing the kindergarten, teach English for local children ( age from 9 to 14) ; do housework; run Culture Night with local resident.
- Building the construction
The first day when we went to the construction area, thanks to the work of 1503 and 1504, the kindergarten was completed at about 70%. Our mission was complete it : plaster the wall, do the mural painting and continue to build a toilet.
The main work when we built the toilet was mixing the ciment, putting the brisk and plastering the wall.
Mixing the ciment was really a new and interesting experience for all of us. In the very first time, we just could only look at the way the buider worked, his skill and learned that a needy texture contained: sand, ciment, water with an exact proportion. And the proportion for putting the brisk and plastering the wall was also different. Because of all those difficulties and complicated things, as well as our clumsiness in the first time working, everything turned out not to be so easy and quick. In spite of all these barriers, all members of building team everday still tried all their best to complete their mission the best way they can. Sometimes, because of the state of the work that day, not all members could have work to do, it was the time we felt useless ( and unemployed :P ). This situation occurred more in the first days, and then, the next days, when everyone got used to their work and learn more things, they could themselves found their work that they could do. I think this improvement was really good and useful.
Plastering the wall was also a real challenge to all volunteers. This work required not only meticulousity, carefulness but also patience. The first time doing this job, many volunteers felt disappointed because the result was not as good as their expectations, that the wall became not as flawless as the result of the builders. But step by step, everythings changed, volunteers ‘ skill became better and better and they can themselves did their job to complete all the walls.
During the work, we cannot forget all the enthusiasm of all male volunteers, who was in charge of bringing all needy tools, from ciment, brisk to water. Sometimes they was quick, sometimes they was slow, but they all met our demand when we needed.
Besides building a toilet, we must plaster the wall of the kindergarten and then do the mural painting.
With the limited colors we had, we must mix color as many as we could so that we could have better result for the mural painting. Because of endless rainy days that seriously delayed our completing the kindergarten, the builders had to work overnight and volunteers had to draw at night with not enough light and quite cold and wet weather. But the desire to complete this construction was really a strong motivation for us to overcome all barriers we met.
Results: We complete 90% the toilet and 100% the kindergarten ( not included electricity system). Everybody felt happy and satisfied with the results. Learning about the patience in the work, not afraid of the difficulties, ready to solve the problems, listening more, solidarity between volunteers, efforts in working were what we have learned in this work.
Thank you the builders so much for helping, teaching and supporting us day by day, despite all our clumsiness and slowness.
- Teaching English for local children
We have English teaching lessons everyday from Monday to Friday, one class in the morning and one in the afternoon, each lasts for about two hours.
Teaching is a happy, interesting and joyful job. Having opportunities to meet, to teach,to play and work with the cutest kids must be the luckiest experience for each of us. The children are all cute, active and kind. Not just teaching, we also learned many important things from them, especially their spirit to learn, to find about new things, their spririt to win, to overcome all the barriers that make their learning not just easy as children with better conditions in other places.
Teaching was not a simple task. On the contrary, it was so difficult and complicated in many times. First, it was difficult to control the class well. They are all children, they are active and sometimes naughty and hyperactive. They just cannot concentrate on the lessons all the times. Second, because of language barriers between S-team and V-team, between S-team and the local children, sometimes the result is not good.. When we looked at the class and realized that not all could understand the lesson well, we felt so sad and disappointed. We wanted to bring as much as knowledge that we could, because the children are really precious.
We focus on teaching them small and simple conversations, not vocabulary. Because we want the kids to become more and more active and confident in communicating by English. Besides, we tried creating games during the lesson with small and special gifts to attract them. Not only stopped at teaching English, we also taught them Science, for example, about volcano, with small model created by the children themselves.
Result : We made sure that after each lesson, at least 80% students can understand and remember what we taught, that they can be confident when have short conversation in English. Moreover, day by day, we are closer with the kids, not only taught, we also played with them after class, talked with them, sang with them. We understood them more and more, love them more and more. We made them understand that: everyone all loves them and hope them have better learning condition. Teaching activity was also a great chance for us : V-team and S-team became more closer, deleted our gap between us, helped us interact with each others more, and helped us have better teamwork.
This was done by a team included 4 to 5 Singaporean volunteers and 1 Vietnamese volunteer, we changed the team doing housework everyday so that they could try other work too. All we had to do is: set up the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, wash dishes, clean the sleeping place and toilet twice a day. Moreover, we also helped the cook prepare the food, dessert, sweep the school yard, replace the garbage bags and take the garbage around the school.
All the logistics needed were well-provided by ECO Vietnam Group and local goverment. The works were divided to the team very clearly. But the S-team was not used to washing dishes or cleaning stuffs, so the housework did not bring the best results in some first days, especially in the very first day, when the toilet was so dirty. Later, when we got used to the cleaning work, we cooperated and did it more efficiently. The living and activity environment were clean and met the requirements.
Results: All housework was done with high responsibility and willingness to cooperate.
The Culture Night was on stage from 6h30 pm to 8h00pm, and then Camp Fire till 9h30, with the attendance of Vice President of Long Vinh Commune, Director of ECO Vietnam Group, local residents ( especially cute kids), V Team and S Team.
We had performances of local police, the chidren, V-Team, S-team, a Vietnamese traditional dancing performance of both team.
Camp Fire was organized with enthusiasism and enjoyment of all people attended. We danced and played together in a warm and joyful atmosphere.
We ended the event with a mini game for the kids, then gave gifts to them.
Result: The performances occurred in a warm and friendly atmosphere with a lot of laughs. All the kids and the people came and enjoyed the show and the Camp Fire. All the kids were given gifts. Security was well controlled. We all had a successful night.
III. Thoughts about the project
Thought of Ngan, Vietnamese volunteer of ECO Vietnam Group:
Before actually starting the project, my main purpose was to improving my English knowledge and making friends (Happily, I finally can complete it). However, after some group meeting, I realized that we were the host, therfore, we had more responsibility than only participating and enjoying with Sing team. We havd to do everything that we could manage by ourself, for example, completing the Guide Book, buying and checking logistic, planing for Culture Night, etc.
Then, the thing that made me surprised the most was the commune that we lived for 2 weeks, not only because I had never known it before but also because I couldn’t imagine the poor living condition here: mosquitoes were everywhere at night and the toilet’s floors were full of insects, although I am not come from a rich family and I have already known some bad places like this before.
Fortunately, we could overcome these difficulties and adapted quickly thank to our effort and support from local gorverment and local residents. I will remember the day when we said that a lot of water couldn’t flow out, then someone there helped us immediately to solve this trouble and gave us the best living condition that they could.
I can say that, although this trip to Long Vinh commune will not teach us a lot of necessary knowledge and skills in our future life (such as, making cement, build the walls,…), the things that we could learn and bring into life is humanity, from the villagers, from S-team when they decided to come to this poor village and help them, and from our V-team when always be sympathized and and supported each other. Moreover, we learnt how to adapt to the new condition even though how difficult it was, and how to overcome and do better after falling. That was after the first reflection with Sing-team, we was scolded by Miss Yen because of starting too slow and being quite lazy and she was afraid that we could not finish the project as well as the 2 ceremonies at the end of project successfully.
Last but not least, I want to say that all the things we had done may be not perfect but surely they were done by our more than 100% effort, and these unperfection will help us be more perfect in the future. Thank you for giving us a chance to experience, learn, enjoy, and grow.
It is not only the first experience of the Singaporean volunteers, it is also ours. And we are very appreciated it. We will try our best for what we believe, what we want, and what is good for our community and your community.
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But not end of life! Keep moving forward! And you’ll see!