- Project details:
- Name: “MORE THAN WORDS”
- Time: 13/6/2015 – 21/6/2015
- Place: Phong Thanh commune, Cau Ke district, Tra Vinh province.
- Participants: 39 members from Camp Out Reach- NTU including deaf people; 11 Vietnamese volunteer including ECO Vietnam Group members
- Finish refurbishment of 3 classrooms at Phong Thanh A primary school
- Teach English for children
- Visit and give presents for 5 poor households in Phong Thanh commune.
“More than words” is the second project mutually operated between ECO Vietnam Group and Camp Out Reach-NTU. Through this project, ECO Vietnam Group hopes to bring a chance for both Singaporean and Vietnamese youngsters, especially the deaf ones to experience, learn and acknowledge their own value to society, besides improving living qualities of the locals in Phong Thanh commune, Cau Ke district, Tra Vinh province to a certain degree.
The main activities throughout the whole projects included refurbishing 3 classrooms at Phong Thanh A primary school, teaching English for local children, visit poor households, joining farming trip and holding a Culture exchange night with the locals as well.
- 6.00 am, V-team gathered at EVG Hub Center on Nguyen Huu Canh street to load logistics to the bus.
- 7.00 am, V-team and Mr.Harry gathered at Tan Son Nhat airport
- 8.00 am, V-team meet up and take a photo with S-team at airport
- 8.30 am, the whole team departed for Phong Thanh .
- 11.30 am, the whole team stopped and had lunch in Ben Tre province.
- 12.30 am, the whole team kept moving on the way to Phong Thanh
- 3.00 pm, the team arrived in Phong Thanh, unloaded logistics and luggage into the warehouse.
- 4.00 pm, A welcome ceremony took place
- 7.00 pm, V-team and S-team cleaned up and prepared the sleep areas.
- 7.00 pm, the team had the very first dinner in Phong Thanh.
- 8.00 pm, the team was divided into 3 teams: washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen and cleaning toilets.
- 9.00pm, the first meeting between leaders took place.
14/6 – 17/6:
The main jobs during 4 days in the commune comprised: cleaning, painting 3 classrooms; doing housework at the People’s committee; teaching English for students at grade 4-5 in Phong Thanh A primary school.
- Refurbishing 3 classrooms:
The first job of refurbishment was to clean up all 3 rooms, including moving out all of desks, chairs and rubble indoors, and then cleaning these classrooms. To accomplish these tasks, both young Vietnamese and Singaporean volunteers had to work really hard. It seemed to be a overwhelmingly harsh job to girls, however, it was fortunate that every volunteer of both genders still tried at their best to complete their job. Eventually, it was timely completed on the first day.
On the second day, the volunteers started painting rooves, roofing, scrubbing the walls and window frames, and disassembling these windows. It seemed to be such hard work again, which made the volunteers a little bit embarrassed. However, after that, they regained their energy to complete jobs earlier, beyond expectation.
On the third day, all volunteers together repainted the walls and windows. Everyone seemed to be interested in this new job. It turned out to be the mildest working day.
On the last day of construction, all volunteers continued repainting the rest unrepaired walls and windows. Besides, they had to clean up the classrooms and assemble the windows to the frames. In that afternoon, after everything was almost done, logistics team started checking and packing all tools while the others supported to set up the stage for Culture night.
Outcomes: Although it cost too much efforts to complete, this work worth doing as both Singaporean and Vietnamese volunteers acquired a lot precious things: patience, passion and commitments to task completion till the end, pro-activeness, prudence as well as basic knowledge of working like how to use scrubbers, paint walls and windows, how to assemble things, and so on.
- Teaching English for primary students
On the daily basis from June, 14th to June, 17th , teaching team including both Vietnamese and Singaporean volunteers went to school twice to teach and revise English for students at grade 3 and 4 in Phong Thanh A primary school. They learnt from the basic things such as Alphabet, Numbers, to the upper level of vocabulary for colours, familiar items around them.
It was noted that Singaporean volunteers had prepared carefully teaching tools as well as funny interactive classroom activities in order to draw attention among lively students.
Outcomes: It seemed that every class finished so successfully that the students took in all the lessons taught.
- Doing housework:
Every day, one team of 6-7 Singaporeans and 2 Vietnameses in turns did housework. The main tasks in a day included: setting up tables for meals, cleaning after meals, washing dishes, cleaning sleeping area, cleaning toilets twice a day. In addition, they also helped the cook to buy food in market, cook meals and prepare disserts.
All tools for housework were well equipped. Work was well organized. At first time, as the volunteers were not used to washing dishing, cleaning, etc., it took long hours to complete tasks. However, with support from V-team members and patience and high commitment of S-team members, tasks were all completed quite quickly and neatly. Furthermore, good ideas of wise working popped up while working to improve working effectiveness.
Outcomes: The house was usually clean, neat with the responsibility of working hard in harmony of all volunteers.
- Culture night
From 6pm to 9pm, Culture night took place with 5 well prepared performances, 2 from Phong Thanh A primary school, 2 from V-team and 1 of S-team. After distinct musical performances, all participants were so excited to join in camp fire in music theme. It was such an unforgettable night of S-team and V-team members and the local as well. They learnt more about each other’s cultures through performances and get much closer beside the cozy fire in the cool night.
Outcomes: Culture night took place in such a cozy, friendly environment. The locals participated excitedly. The night turned out to be successful.
- Households visiting
The delegation of 50 people divided into 5 groups, each group has 10 people, including two Vietnameses, visited 5 poor families in Phong Thanh Commune. Visiting each household, the Singaporeans gave gifts include rice, sweets, toys for children and some other necessities. Through this visiting, volunteers also had the opportunity to exchange and learn more about the lives of local people. Many volunteers failed to contain the emotion when hearing the households shared their difficult life with an income equivalent to 1 dollar / day.
In the afternoon, representatives from Singapore volunteers with some Vietnamese volunteers conducted to give the gifts left for other households at People’s Committee of Phong Thanh commune.
Outcomes: The households visiting was short but it helped the Singaporeans and Vietnameses to understand more about the lives of the people here, as well as to respect more what we have.
- Farming activities
After returning from households visiting, the delegation consisting of 50 people continued to move to the nearby pond to catch fish. There were about 15 people including Singaporeans and Vietnameses, directly waded into the pond to fish. All volunteers had a wonderful and interesting time cause it was the first time we have experienced farming in this countryside: First time puddled, first catched fish with his bare hands and first slapped the water in field.
Outcomes: We catched 20 fish. These are also the fish for our supper.
- Amazing race
Amazing race was a special activity of 1505 project, it was well prepared by V-team members and only for COR. Although of getting up too early to come to Mango park and prepared for the games, V-team members still kept tremendous spirit and supported with all their heart and soul.
40 S-team members were divided into 4 teams and each one had its own unique name, which represented for superheroes: Hulk, Captain America, Wolfverin and Spiderman. All teams had to pass the 4 stages with many challenges that required high teamwork skill , extreme tricky puzzles and ultimately they must find out the mysterious person of race.
Outcomes: The competition was extremely lively, the team raced hard to the finish, and the final victory belonged to the Wolfverin team since they finished earliest and “encapsulate” the mysterious cute girl of V-team. Through the race, we all learnt solidarity, listen to teammates, and also improved our agility and observation skills.
- Interaction with Hoa Sen University
1505 project had 2 exchanged sessions at Hoa Sen University. The first meeting was to communicate with the Service Learning Center and Deaf Cultural Organization of HCM City. The meeting content was mainly about Service Learning model and introduction to learn through community service and COR also shared their comments after the trip.
The second session was the cultural exchange between COR and members of the Deaf Culture Organization of HCM city. People shared the common stereotypes about deaf people, their love for deaf-mute sign language. The meeting took place in a fun and lively atmosphere based on the spirit of sharing and listening.
Outcomes: Two meeting sessions brought knowledge and useful information about community learning model and culture of deaf friends.
- City tour
Despite of the erratic weather of rain and sun in HCM City, tour plans still kept going well. The S-team and V-team spent really fun time shopping at Ben Thanh Market and were full of experiences in the War Remnants Museum.
Outcomes: The city tour around Ho Chi Minh city was an unforgettable trip to S-team, through which they could expose and learn more about Vietnamese.
- Feeling about the project:
The sharing of Hanh:
What matter me the most after coming back from an OSL project is the questions of the kids “You come and you go, no one stay with us?”. I am still lingering with that question and how to help them learn English more effectively. Other parts are perfect already, especially for refurbishing 3 classrooms. I am satisfied with the classrooms. Our labor work and effort are paid off.
The sharing of Linh:
Thanks for that week, I could do many things for the first time I hadn’t experienced before especially doing construction. It was such harsh work ever that honestly at the first time doing, I wanted to give up and regretted to do, but eventually I did overcome those difficulties. Thanks for that week, I tried for the first time to communicate, integrate with deaf friends using sign languages which I had never thought I would before. 1 week with Camp Out Reach- NTU, I got used to using my hands freely to describe while talking. I think if we had more time together I could have been able to communicate with them easily. That’s quite a big achievement after that week.