Project: Dream High – Project code: 1711
Time: Oct 10 – Oct 8, 2017
Location: Phong Thanh Commune, Cau Ke District, Tra Vinh Province
Participants: 15 Volunteers và 3 teachers from National Institute of Education, Singapore (NIE) and 8 EVG Volunteers (including 4 EVG members).
- Visiting some tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City such as Sai Gon Post Office, War Remnants Museum, Book Street and Diamond Plaza
- Teaching English for students at 4 schools: Phong Thanh A Primary School, Phong Thanh B Primary School, Phong Thanh C Primary School and Phong Thanh Secondary School
- Visiting 4 households
- Participating in Mid-Autumn festival at Phong Thanh A Primary School and giving out 120 lanterns for children.
- Organizing Culture Night and Campfire
EVG Volunteers’ feelings after project
Joining ECO Vietnam Group as a volunteer for Project 1711 is a random decision that I have never thought to make. Being given the opportunity to participate and become part of the project was probably one of the most fortunate things in my life since I could learn, gained experience and got matured during the project.
At the first meeting, I was really overwhelmed by the responsibilities that a volunteer must hold. I felt scared because I got used to being a volunteer in other organizations where everything was prepared beforehand and the only thing I need to do is to “Pick up my backpack and set off for the project”. Therefore, at that time I was so confused and stressful that I just wanted to run away. However, I calmed myself down and thought that I have gone too far to throw back. Then I decided to try my best. Now I can confidently say that joining the project was the right decision that I’ve made.
The main task of the project 1711 is to teach children at 3 primary schools and 1 secondary school in Phong Thanh commune, Tra Vinh province. The work seemed easy but it turned out quite tired when most students were active and quite naughty. Sometimes they didn’t want to listen to instructions and follow rules. Despite such tiredness, I had learned a lot of new things including patience and ability to listen to the students. These students are just like us when we were young. They enjoy moving and playing physical games so we cannot expect them to stay still and always follow what we ask them to do. However it does not mean that we are always sympathetic and gentle with the children, sometimes we need to be tough and strict so that the class can go well. I felt the NIE Volunteers’ enthusiasm through the evenings discussing lesson plans, preparing teaching materials, and the activities that they organized for the students. Although they spent only 3 days with the students and the amount of knowledge they could bring was not much, they always tried their best with a desire is to inspire the students in learning English.
About life in Phong Thanh commune, everything was completely different from our life in the city. The living conditions here were poor and the basic necessities of life were not adequate. Every day, everyone had to sleep on hard mats, in mosquito nets, we had to get up early to prepare meals and bathed in a cramped, mossy public toilet. Every night because there were meetings for tomorrow’s schedule, lesson plans and rehearsals for the culture night, no-one could sleep before 11pm. Despite such difficulties, no one complained but everyone was always cheerful and full of vitality. Laughter was always filled the bedroom, the dining table and even in the bathroom when people queuing for showers. And if anyone asks me about my most enjoyable time in the project, I will not hesitate to answer it is the evenings when the EVG volunteers gathered to make reflection as well as rehearse for culture night. Even though everyone was tired after a long day teaching, they still tried to spend time and encouraged each other. The chit-chatting made me feel relaxed, cozy and it was also one of the most unforgettable memories of myself.
I would like to thank all volunteers and teachers from National Institute of Education, Singapore (NIE) for their hard work to come here and help children despite long distance and poor living conditions here. Moreover they also taught me to have faith, patience and enthusiasm for the community.
A second thank you is to 7 EVG volunteers who are beautiful, dynamic, enthusiastic and willing to give a hand in difficulties. Thank you for being with me all the time. Thank you for the encouragement that everyone gave me when I was tired and thank you for the nights everyone stayed up late to run from the bedroom, kitchen to the toilet to help me count the quantities of items. I know I myself sometimes was hot-tempered and impatient but everyone was always with me and regarded me as an indispensable member. Thank you very much.
And the last sincere thank you is to ECO Vietnam Group. Thanks for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to participate in the 1711 project. Thank you for giving me the chance to experience, to learn and to live meaningfully. To me, this was the most precious time that I will not forget for the rest of my life. Besides the happy memories and fun moments with others, there was sometimes I felt discouraged and disappointed about myself but I have never regretted joining the project. Thanks to EVG, we have had more wonderful friends, learned valuable lessons and matured every day. Thank you EVG so much!