[OSL 1813]

This period of time is precious to me and I totally appreciate it.

I knew this project accidentally just through a share on FB and it took quite a long time to consider whether I should apply or not, ’cause at this time I had no ideas about what I gonna do in this project, no specific info about when I would have the final exam as well as when I would start the summer semester. But finally I gave it a chance ’cause I wanted to mark something more special in my boring life, not just studying, sleeping and doing some part-time jobs :))))

And now I realize that I gain even more things than what I expected. I met some nice and talented EVG members from whom I learned a lot to expand my knowledge and change my mind about some fields of life; also we put many efforts to this project and thus created memorable things together. We became friends and will surely keep in touch in the future  Besides, I had chances to work with students from Hong Kong PolyU and also received many lessons through this time. Their cuteness, their kindness and their enthusiasm during all the time we worked together also will be unforgettable in my mind  And I’ll miss all the students from Sesame school a lot. Thanks for your delicious cakes and your supports during 5 days we worked together  Gonna miss our cute tour- guide and my cute sister from HSU 

Although I sometimes made some mistakes and really got tired of my poor ability, but everything luckily went smooth and thus I learned from those mistakes to improve myself day by day. I also couldn’t be so sociable to feel free starting conversations with strangers and make friends as I had expected but it needs long long time to change ’cause it all depends on my own character, so… :)))) No matter what happened, I knew that I had tried a lot :)))))

Thank you guys a lot for everything 

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[OSL 1812][Fountain]

Project overview

Project : Fountain – Project code : 1812

Time : 05 – 18 June 2018

Place : Hoa Tan Commune, Tra Vinh Province

Participants : 25 volunteers from Nanyang Technological Singapore and 4 EVG volunteers (including 2 members)

Achievements:

  • Built a water filtration system at Hoà Tân B primary school
  • Teach the pupils in Hoà Tân B primary school
  • Visit 04 households
  • Paint the wall in Hoa Tan B primary school
  • Organize outdoor activities for pupils at Hoa Tan B primary school
  • Culture Session, Culture Night, Vietnamese Cooking Class.

From EVG’s Volunteers

I joined 1812 Project with no special expectation in my mind. To me, it was simply a chance to do the volunteer work and contribute something in my ability to the community.

During the preparation before the project, I start to learn about Service Learning, about learning through Reflection,… and I start to engaged myself more also understand more about the philosophy behind the project, I started to understand the difference between Community Service & Service Learning.

I also learned how to run a project: how to plan, to prepare the logistics, to plan the budget, prepare for the unexpected situations,… everything was hard for me at the beginning but the process really taught me a lot.

The journey at Hoa Tan Province was indeed an open-minded experience for me. I love everything about it: waking up early in the morning to prepare the meals, living with 28 new friends, learning to take care of myself also other people…

I learned a lot through the journey. I was really surprised to know that to run the project, the Singaporean friends had spent more than 8 months for fund-raising, preparing the textbook and other teaching tools. I realized that my response here as a volunteer is not only about the community and the children but also the S-team & V-team beside me.

As a matter of fact, I was the one who learned a lot from everyone. I learned about teamwork, helping each other, never giving up despite how hard the challenge is, & improving always. I changed a lot thanks to the love from everyone.

What I remember the most was the smiles of everyone. As a member of V-team told me “This trip to me was really fast. It was indeed a great fun. And I even didn’t notice the time flies.”

Thanks to the positive attitude and humorous of everyone, the trip was so enriching and comfortable. We would keep the memories deep in our heart: the walk to and from school, the walk under the rain, the coffee breaks, the letters, the meals with a lot of laughing, the singing time…

Everything was like a dream. I would never forget this memorable and life-changing trip. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t join the projects sooner. Thank you EVG for giving us the change to learn, to experience, and to grow! We sincerely hope that you will keep on passing these meaningful chances to more and more Vietnamese young people!

 

 

[OSL 1811][Dynamic]

Project Overview

Project: Dynamic – Project code: 1811

Time: 4/6-18/6/2018

Place: Phong Thạnh commune, Cầu Kè district, Trà Vinh province

Participants: 25 volunteers from Nanyang Technological Singapore and 5 EVG volunteers (including 3 members).

Achievements:

  • Built Sports hall in CVC
  • Taught children at Phong Thanh B primary school
  • Visited 4 needy families in Phong Thanh commune
  • Organized outdoor activities for children
  • Organized Culture Night and Campfire

 

Project 1811 is an extremely impressive and unforgettable memory. First of all, I sincerely thank Mr.Harry Pham Van Anh and Ms. Thuan Trang for organizing these OSL projects in Vietnam. Thanks to this, Vietnamese volunteers have the opportunity to experience the service learning model in Vietnam. No need to go abroad but right here we practice English 24/24, it is a wonderful thing.

Besides, I would like to send my thanks to Vteam: Ms. Ngoc, Ms. Thuy, Dung and Thu. Thank Ms Theu for your good meals and your managing the children – I really admire you. Thank you Ms. Ngoc, you are a dedicated leader who cares us, even small things you will remind us and even though you are busy, you also spend time with us. Thank Dung, your participation made the project more fun, indeed you fulfilled your tasks very well and you are very good bonding with others. And thank you baby Thu, this project without you might have a lack, it was your innocent questions that made the atmosphere better and less stressful.

Not forget to give a thank to STeam. You are very enthusiastic, fun and willing to help VTeam. Sam, Richie, Willie, Jem and Iggy are really cute and make the most laughter for everyone. David and Fan, though I didn’t talk to you much, you are really warm. Each of you is a color that brings the project more brilliant. Thank you very much.

What did I learn after the project?
I learned a lot. About housework, I learned how to fry eggs, astronauts, learning how to cut Hanoi plum beautifully … About teaching, I learned to be flexible with each group of children, not to apply one method to every child. About construction, I learned how to wall, know how hard my father does because he is a builder.

Well, one more thing I learned is sincerity. The children here are very sincere. When I was about to go, they cried, one of them said, “If you were my sister, I would only stay at home with you,” and other asked me, “When will you come back?” The children also gave the crane paper in which they wrote for me, they also gave me a teddy bear and soup … The day I went, the kids also told me to put the stone in my hand. It’s a wish of luck and a promise to meet again.

The project has closed but the pieces of memory are still here. Every project is always unforgettable. Thank you everyone for being a great piece in the 1811 picture in my youth.
Because we only have once a life to live so please enjoy the life, devote yourself and study all your best.

 

[OSL 1810][Youth Heart]

Project overview

Project : Youth Heart– Project code : 1810

Time : 2nd June – 8th June 2018

Place : Phong Thanh commune, Tra Vinh province

Participants : 27 students and 4 teachers from ST Andrew’s Junior College and 4 EVG volunteers (including 2 members)

Achievements :

  • Built 2 water tanks
  • Taught basic English for students at Phong Thanh primary school
  • Visited 4 households in the commune
  • Organized Library Event for children
  • Organized an ASEAN youth connection – sharing workshop.

From Vietnamese volunteer

Applying and being a part of the project 1810 is the wisest decision which not only bring me a lot of unforgettable memories but also the new relationships, the experiences and a chance to look at my self again.

During the trip, as a newbie I had faced many ‘first-time ‘challenges such as the first-time volunteering in an actual community project, the first time playing with kids, the first time took over responsibility for something that not a ‘typical school works’

It was only 1 week but I had learnt a lot through our normal activities such as teaching, constrution work or even interating with other volunteers.  I have learnt that a proper preparration is always better , and a good start with planning and always having back up plan  for anthing will keep things on track espeacially if it is your first time doing . I also learnt how to open my heart with everyone , feel lucky and appricate what I have rightnow

In Phong Thanh Commune, we didn’t have a good living conditions like at home: no air conditioners, no hot water, no vacuum cleaner, no washing machine, etc Every day, after dinner, we all have line up waiting to bath, to wash and to go to toilet too. Not only these things but also having meal in the dark (a few times when there were power outages), sleeping on carpet, working under hot weather and being bitten by mosquitoes every night. In spite of many difficulties, we’re always together and always close to each other as a family. This project brings us – 34 people in different areas, different nations and different languages together in Phong Thanh Commune, Tra Vinh Province and buiding up a good friendship.

It’s also my pleasure to live and work with 4 lovely Vietnamese girls who are really enthusiastic, kind and responsible. They took care of me, helped me and always there for me when i needed

Finally, I want to say thank ECO Vietnam Group so much from the depth of my heart. Thank EVG for believing and giving such a great opportunity to me to be a part of this project. I have received a lot after this trip, got more friends, more experinces, more ideas and motivation to serving more for the community.  Once again, thank you very much EVG!!

 

[OSL 1805][Youthsmile]

  1. Project overview

Project : YouthSmile – Project code : 1805

Time : 18 March – 31 March (14 days)

Place : Phong Thanh Commune, Cau Ke District, Tra Vinh Province

Participants : 24 volunteers from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and 3 EVG volunteers

Achievements :

  • Built a house for orphans
  • Taught Physical Experiment in Phong Thanh Secondary School
  • Upgraded the Physical Laboratory Phong Thanh Secondary School
  • Visited 4 households in the commune
  • Visited Pagoda
  • Went fishing
  • Organized Outdoor activities for children
  • Organized Culture night and Camp fire.1234567891112131516181920212225262829303132343536373839.jpg40.jpg41.jpg42.jpg45.jpg46.jpg49.jpg50.jpg51.jpg52.jpg53.jpg54.jpg55.jpg8
  1. Working process

Pre-project:

Before the project happened, Vietnamese volunteer had had about 1 month to prepare. We were introduced about EVG, trained about First Aid.

These conical hats were decorated meticulously by V-team as a present for new friends from Singapore.

The first day:

On 18 March, EVG volunteers gathered at EVG Hub to prepare all logistic. We went to the air port with Mr Harry and Ms Trang to meet volunteers from Ngee Ann Poly. Although this was the first time EVG volunteers attend an OSL project, they were ardent and excited for the first meeting. After taking picture, the group got on the bus and started the journey. On the bus, Mr Harry had s short introduction about ECO Vietnam Group and then everyone introduced their names, hobbies. We had first meal together at Trung Luong Restaurant. We arrived to hotel at about 10 pm, so after check-in, V-team had a meeting with Mr Harry and Ms Trang to prepare for Welcome Ceremony.

In the next morning, a Welcome Ceremony was organized by Phong Thanh Commune helped volunteers have more enthusiasm and trust for the coming days.

Working Days at Phong Thanh:

The next days, despite hard-working and working under new environment, everybody tried to learn and help together to overcome miserably hard position and challenges. The whole trip was witnessed sweat, happiness, sadness as well as friendship that maybe experience only one time.

Construction

Every day, the whole team would be divided into 3 small groups, one group would be teaching, one was construction and the  last one was “house keeping”. The “house keeping” team had responsibility to cook, clean up the house and “keep” the house while the others were working at school.

On 24 March, the whole group had a meaning morning for House Hold Visit activities at Phong Thanh Commune. S-Team had chance to know more about the daily life of local people and their difficulty. In the afternoon, everybody went to library to organize Library Event for students. Despite tiredness, everyone had a memorable weekend.

From Vietnamese volunteer

Tran Kim Oanh

It was such an honor that we had a chance to be a part of OSL 1805, which is the first but probably the best project in our life. There is no regret that we were there and have done that, dedicating a part of our youth to the betterment of Phong Thanh locals. Until now, in my mind there is still the feeling of joy when receiving the announcement from EVG that we were accepted as official volunteers for this programme .

In addition to the excited mood, I was very anxious and confused whether there is interaction with some Singapore volunteer or Not, .. etc … Thinking about all the miscellaneous things on life !!!!

Until the first meeting is not the mood, remember the first time I introduced the name on the bus down Tra Vinh: ” Hi! I’m Orin! ”, Everyone greeted, ” Hello, Orin! ” It seems that every anxiety has gone away half! Now everyone has been friends!

Thanks ECO VIETNAM GROUP for creating the environment for us to try our best. All activities in the OSL are the first time in my life to do such things !!

From getting up early to go shopping, teaching physics, going to build houses, going to visit households, holding a cultural exchanges, one-on-one translation, MC, … etc. Everything is new and there is no shortage of lessons, the lessons I get more, my heart is filled with the most sincere love. The joy of helping others, giving them the smile of emotion in me can not use words to describe. It is a precious experience that I have.

Remembering the construction, sunshine, we still grinned with sweat drooling on the cheek. Love the conversation, share with Thanh, remember her affectionate eyes. I felt like my sister in family. i thought Steam volunteers felt that ,too. I felt that they had all sentimental feelings and hope for each brick, painting in Doreamon that she really liked it in the bedroom. We hoped you have a favorite house, protected the sun and rain, and motivated you to study progress in the bright future.

Remembering the warm smiles and the warm welcome from the locals, remember the woman near the building always brought out hats for us, worried if we got sick! Remember uncle cut coconut for us to drink in the middle of the sun!

Remember the hours taught in class, remember the gaze is considered the physical experiments. Because this was the first time they have been practicing physics in the lab. Remember the bright face of children playing with the Steam. Remember when We karaoke on the bus.

And as we hear the local people, there are many unfortunate circumstances surrounding us, and they need help from others to make their lives better.

14 days was not long enough for us to learn a lot of things that we could change our way of life, our way of thinking. If someone asks me if I want the project to last longer, I will answer “yes”. I wish we had more time to serve, learn, understand each other as well as to be closer together.

The project has ended but the echo as well as the beautiful memories and all the things we learn will surely be with us in the future.

Once again thank you EVG, thank you everyone.

Le Thi Nhu Y

14 days with 1805 project, especially 11 days live in Cau Ke District, taught me lot of valuable lessons that I could not find in other volunteer works.  The first lesson is how difficult it is when organizing a project, especially a project relating to foreigners. We have to take care of their safety, their eating habit, and sometimes their belongings. It is more difficult when sometimes they do not realize the important to keep themselves safe. Many volunteer did not wear hats, mask when they did construction work. I think they drink too much, but I could not do anything because that was Mr Andy permission. In my opinion, they should drink in weekend only because if they drink every day, their image with local people can be affected. Some people said to me that “Nothing happen” however it does not mean “Nothing WILL NOT happen”. The second lessons is about how to communicate with not only Singapore volunteer but also local people like teachers, students. If there is any misunderstanding, it is really hard to explain later. With students, I need to be more patient and calm because they are still vulnerable and innocent. This was the first time they had chance to do physical experiments, there were many new things so I regretted that I did not have more time to explain more clearly for them.

Be a volunteer for this project is one of the most meaningful decision in my student’s live.  In the begining, it was really hard for me to know what I have to do and how I can communicate with S-team. I had to learn many things and notice every single details. However, the most difficult obstacle I faced is the language barrier. After talking more with them, I learned many interesting things from them like their responsibility, talent, friendship. I realize when we open our heart with others, they can feel it without too much words to explain. About teaching activies, I can understand how difficult it is when students from a rural school learn physical experiments with forgeiners. However, they tried their best to concentrate, to follow S-team’s instruction and listen my explanation. I can feel they had strong desire to learn new things and sometimes their excitement when conducting experiments by themselves made me feel really happy. I also had chance to play with them. I love their smile very much. Sometimes, they were still shy with S-team but thanks for S-team’s friendliness, many students were more confident and there seems to be no gap between them. About construction activitied, I can feel S-team effort when they wanted to complete the house on time. Althought, they did not know anything about building the house before they came here, they leared and followed instructor seriously. I also like the way they enjoyed their work (listening to music, joking, smoking and eating ice-cream). However the most memorable imagine in my mind is the attitude of Thanh and her family members. They treated S-team with all their heart and frienliness. I can not forget Thanh’s smile and tear in the last day, she have suffered too much misfortune in her life already. She has the right to be happy like anyone else. Finally, I would like to express my deepest respect to Mr Harry Van Anh and Ms Thuan Trang. I really apprecitate their contribution for the development of voluntary service as well as sustainable community in our country. I hope they will keep up their meaningful work and be a bridge to introduce more organization coming to Vietnam in future.

 

Conference in Hong Kong

Service-Learning, is still a new concept for Vietnamese, even though it is a well-developed method of learning in several developed countries’ university syllabus. On the middle of September 2014, Hong Kong Polytechnic University hosted a conference; attracting a hundred of professionals, as well as doctors of universities all over the world to talk about Service-Learning in each of their university.

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This event is organized periodically for every 2 years. This year is ‘The Second Summit on University Social Responsibility cum Inaugural International Conference on Service – Learning’. Experts talked to each other about advantages, disadvantages and point out notes of Service-Learning.  The way in which that Service-Learning is being applied in different educational system is also shared to all.

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The conference discussed a lot about the sharing of social responsibility of schools for the community. The objectives of the university are to train students to excel in their main subject and to be responsible to community. Besides educating the students, the university should organize more volunteering activities for both students and teachers to form the general awareness for main issues of problems in the society. This will act as a form of sustainable development for the entire society.

All conferences aim to develop Service-Learning on a bigger scale and to be more effective through sharing and researches of universities, NGO. We will learn more from other people’s experiences. Overseas Service-Learning continue to be promoted in every needy places around the world, no matter how far it is, how lacking it is in living condition, and differences in languages and color.

ECO Vietnam Group is honor to be one of two NGO/NPO invited for conference this time. EVG is on the right track as we bring the true values for students and communities, and we will remain the head of Service-Learning in Vietnam. Some universities from Hong Kong, Taiwan, US had already contacted us to work together in some of the projects in the near future.

Other than the conference, we spend some time observing the students’ street protest in Hongkong for democratic rights. We see youth taking ownership for their own rights, and the spirit of the students is something for us to learn from.

12/11/14- Service Learning Reflection in Hoa Sen

Service Learning Reflection for Hoa Sen University Students

On 12th November, 2014, Mr. Pham Van Anh, Harry did a Reflection session for Hoa Sen University Students as one of the many approaches that ECO Vietnam Group is undergoing to spread Service Learning to Vietnamese youth.

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Mr Phạm Văn Anh said: “Group of students from Hoa Sen University participated in Service Learning projects: They were sent to teach English for a few orphanages in Ho Chi Minh City. After 4 months of serving people here, I conducted a reflection session for them to share, as well as to link to their current life and people around them.
It was a successful session. For me, I hope they will remember what they shared and what they promised to be a good son/daughter, good student to teachers as well as being a good citizen.

That will be the only reason why I love what I am doing.”

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1.1. Information about the Orphanage

Hoa Mau Don Orphanage

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–          Address: 25 Doan Gioi Street, Tan Phu District, HCM city.

–          This orphanage was formed in 1998 by Ms. Pham Thien Don, who aims to receive, nurture, and protect children with special circumstances. These children face deficiencies in terms of having the lack of proper housing support, as well as access to various educational resources, compared with other children. As a private non- governmental organization, Hoa Mau Don Community’s operation is based on charitable contribution, and relies on support from the domestic and foreign community organizations and individuals.

Implementation

Nguyễn Ngọc Trúc Lam said:

“As I reported, my main task during this course was to teach English for my student – Vang A Giang. Every week, I will come to Hoa Mau Don on Thursday, from 1400 to 1600 to teach him. At the beginning of the classes, I will review the previous lessons that I had taught him. After that, I will begin on the new lesson in his textbook. I will do my best to explain the exercises or grammar that he did not understand, until he got it. On some days, I will help him with his homework. While on other days, I taught him some common grammar structures and daily expressions. I made use of many different teaching methodologies during the lessons:

–          Shadowing

–          Asking and answering

–          Explaining new vocabulary

–          Correcting pronunciation”

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The effectiveness of my methods varies in different lessons. There were some sessions that he learned really well, but he looked tired and did not pay attention to my lessons sometimes. There could be many internal and external factors leading to this situation. The internal factors might be the lesson plan that I prepared for each lesson, the health conditions and feelings of my student. The external factors were related to the noise of the community, the interactions between other children and staffs in there, the weather, the difficulty of the lessons, etc.

 

Other than the classes, we also organized some extra activities for the students. All of our extra activities gave us many opportunities to forge a closer relationship with each other. Through such activities, we brought simple joy to the children as well as, useful soft skills.

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During this internship, my intended targets are: giving a helping hand to unfortunate children, have a chance to practice my teaching ability and to be more confident and mature.

This is a great place for me to hone my teaching skills. As many of these children do not have the opportunity to learn the language due to their background, I must seek for suitable and effective method to educate them. It was by no means an easy task. Through teaching these children, my teaching skills improve.