Development of Community Volunteering Centre to Provide Long Term Support to the Underprivileged Youth and Woman in Phong Thanh commune, Cau Ke district, Tra Vinh province.

To tackle some social problems in communes that we serve, ECO Vietnam Group henceforth develops the Community Volunteering Centre, which hopes to strengthen the community self-help capabilities. And we will develop Community Volunteering Center in Phong Thanh commune, Cau Ke District, Tra Vinh province. The government have agreed to provide the land of 4,000 m2 for developing Community Volunteering Centre.

Community and Volunteering Centre being a physical centre will have different facilities that serve different purposes to tackle the various social problems.

The fist section of the Community and Volunteering Centre is the Community Library. Currently, there is no library in commune we serve, even in Primary or Secondary School (There are only kindergarten, primary and secondary school in this commune). With the library in CVC, ECO Vietnam Group aims to create the reading habit for local students. ECO Vietnam Group will work together with the schools and local community organization to utilize the Community Library.

The second section of CVC is these Community Center to organize a few classes for local young people and woman  like Dance, Local Ethnic musical Instrument, Drama, and workshop for skill, entreorenuers, fnancial literacy… The local students  do not has any extracurricular educational program. The local teachers heavily focus on the textbook and the government curriculum for their students. It creates the lacking of confidence and extra skills for their students. It also serves some vocational classes for women and young people such as: sewing, financial literacy, capacity building,….

The third part is Indoor Sport Hall. There are zero place for youth and children to play. We want to develop indoor sport hall with volleyball and basketball for youth age (10 – 25). Through sport, we want to educate and promote healthy lifestyle, sportsmanship, team player and many more.

The last part is Children Outdoor and Garden, we want to build the outdoor playground for the children (5 to 12 years old) together with small gardens (flowers, vegetable, sugarcane) to teach children to love their surrounding environment.

The building technique for the Community Volunteering Centre will aslo follow environmental friendly concept in which using local natural resource in local place. Therefore, CVC is a good example for the development who cares about the environment and match with the local context due to the fact that most of the local houses here using bamboo and earth as a material for building.

Community Volunteering Centre will also play as Educational Hub where different groups will come to learn about Community Development and Environments. CVC will host all the interested groups from Schools, Institutes, and Corporate to learn and at the same time to provide the support for local community.

We are actively looking for support from a corporate partner who shares our objectives of bettering the life of people in the rural area through the provision of funding for the building training house, computers and other equipments.

Community Volunteering Centre is the physical centre that serves many purposes

  1. Build up the reading habit to the students as well as providing support for their learning in School.
  2. Build up confidence and fundamental life skill in villagers (especially for youth and women) and engage them in useful and educational activities throughout the year.
  3. Provide the platform to educate youth in Vietnam about their role and responsibility in society
  4. Provide the convenient facilities for person, groups who want to come and support

How to achieve those purposes:

  1. Build up the reading habit to the students as well as providing support for their learning in School.

The traditional library section will comprise of shelves of printed books and readings, with an estimated 3,000 titles in both languages Vietnamese and English. We are aware youths will not have money to buy their own books for daily reading, reference books for knowledge extension and practice. The remaining readings are to facilitate training programs on social skills, survival skills, vocational skills etc. that would be covered in the next section of this paper, as well as youth magazines, periodicals, and novels.

CVC will work with both Primary and Secondary School for the library program. CVC will provide the list of the books that are related to the subjects that the students need to study in class. With this information, the teachers can assign the homework for the kids to come to Library and read specific book before going to class. Library will make sure that there are sufficient books together with good management so that every student in class is able to read book. With the cooperation from Schools, the students will slowly build up their habit to come to Library.

Moreover, CVC has a plan to organize educational game show once in every two weeks for the kids in Phong Thanh. The ideas come from some of the interesting TV game shows like pyramid, are you smarter than 5th grade… All of these in questions from one session are designed to come from two educational books. Therefore, before every game show happens, CVC will list down the title of two books so that the kids can borrow and read them first.

Besides, CVC will develop a monitor and evaluation plan for library to know how many people come to library every month and which book that they borrow the most. With the report, CVC management will know how to upgrade the library to match with the needs of the readers and still meet the objective for education.

  1. Build up confidence and fundamental life skills in villagers (especially youth and woman) and engage them in useful and educational activities throughout the year.

Like stated above, CVC will organize some classes for youth and woman in Phong Thanh. These classes focus on extra educational curriculum to build up the confidence, basic skill and knowledge in Phong Thanh Youth and Woman as well as provide the places for youth to be engaged. CVC management intends to open the first class to introduce and teach youth how to play their own clutural musical instrument and the common musical instruments. Currently, there are only few people who fully understand Khơ Me culture as well as know how to play some specific instruments.  CVC target to ask them to tell more story to the kids and teach them to value their own culture.

A few interactive workshops for the kids will be organized as well to slowly change their ways of thinking, to encourage them to dream and to put effort in achieving those dreams.

CVC will develop some programs to enhance the skills for the students such as taking input effectively, process it and produce the output.

CVC management will also found some clubs for the youth to participate such as Planting a Tree club,Scout Club and Sport Club. The youth will gain more skills while working in these clubs.

Entreprenuership, finance literacy, micro Finance and other useful topics will be organized for woman in Phong Thanh commune.

ECO Vietnam Group has worked closely with HSBC VN for few collaboration projects within three recent years about Micro Fiannce knowledge and Finance Literacy for villagers in rural areas. EVG also has parnter with local univesristy- Hoa Sen University has promised to engage their students and lecturer to work with us for few workshop. In Hoa Sen University, they have four faculties such as Faculty of Language and Culture Studies, Faculty of Economic and Commerce, Faculty of Science and Technology, Faculty of Professional Education.

ECO Vietnam Group will also continue to work with groups from Nanyang Technological University to provide more support in term of software part: Educating and capacity building for villagers.

  1. Provide the platform to educate youth in Vietnam about their role and responsibility in society

CVC will also provide the platform for ECO Vietnam Group to nurture young people in Vietnam who are key of success for the country.  CVC serves as a platform for the character development of the participants through experiential learning and provide them with an occasion to practice servant hood through community project they are asked to be involved.

In the beginning phase, ECO Vietnam Group will work with school and univeristies in Ho Chi Minh city to embark a new interactive learning process called “Local Involvement Community Project” where the group of students will be involved in community and social work in Phong Thanh Commune. This project also hopes to bring about awareness among young participants of their role as citizens in today’s society and in understanding the social conditions of the host community so as to better serve and learn from them. This trip will help to sharpen their mindset to treasure more what they have in their life and share empathy for disadvantaged community and people in Vietnam.

CVC management also provide some workshops and courses that are related environment like Earthen Building workshop for Sustainable Building Material, Sustainability & Ecology, and so on. Fun activities are also available for participants such as making organic soap, making craft from recycled materials, trekking and tree-planting or participants could simply take some time to breathe in the fresh air live in the context that are very closed to the nature. Local youth and children in Phong Thanh commune join these workshops as well.

With the facility in CVC and great experience in ECO Vietnam Group, it will be enjoyable and enriching learning.

  1. Provide the convenient facilities for person, group who want to come and support Phong Thanh commune. Hence, Phong Thanh community will receive more support.

Last but not least, CVC will provide convenient and comfortable place to host more groups to come to Phong Thanh for supporting the community. EVG will also work with more corporate to get their support through Staff building, Corporate Social Responsibility or Staff Retreating program.

Statement of Needs

The percentage of drop out school is high ( 5% at secondary school and more in high school) in Mekong Delta River, especially in Phong Thanh commune. Those children who cannot attend school or stop schooling are subjected to a life of gruelling hard labour with little or no opportunity of bettering themselves or their families. Some who become “street kids” are likely to a life of crime, either as victims or perpetrators, with little hope for the future. These may result in unwanted pregnancies, diseases, hopelessness and loss of life. With the low education, local people still have the unsustainable method of cultivation and unhealthy lifestyle. Without focusing on youth development, the poor cycle of life could not be changed.

This place needs a plan for short term and long-term support. Short-term support refers to addressing the basic and urgent needs of the local people such as food, infrastructure for education and living, and so on. The long-term support refers to helping the change the mindset of people, especially for young generation in education, healthy lifestyle, sanitation, environment and so on. The youths are encouraged to go for school but schooling is likely to have a limited effect of bettering their lives as further studies beyond the high school level is usually out of reach for them.  Even giving them a chance to go further study in town, with their current mindset and lack of confidence, they could not get the good result and come back to change their community.

Introducing the Community Volunteering Centre will solve all of these problems and concerns. It gives all the necessary things to provide the short term and long term support for these communes.

Sustainability of the CVC

Fund raising events such as annual work camp that are supported by ECO Vietnam Group and other organizations and other projects will ensure to cover overhead cost of the Community Volunteering Centre. The CVC will be managed and developed by both ECO Vietnam Group and local commune (Including Local government and authority). In the following years along the development of the project will come opportunities for self-sustain. Community Volunteering Centre will definitely receive support from every group who come to learn and stay in CVC.

The CVC will be state of Art, the great achievement of all time in Sustainable Community Development and Environment Conservation. It will be the great example in this field.

 

Phong Thanh Commune

(4 hours from Ho Chi Minh city. Commune has it own clinic. The hospital is 15 km away from commune.)

Phong Thanh is one of communes in Cau Ke District. This is an agricultural commune, which is divided into two regions, namely mainland and island. Phong thanh holds a population of 14,000 people. The commune is considered the poorest region of Cau Ke District with the poverty rate of 20%. Phong Thanh commune has special characteristic since 30% population is minority race. The Khơ Me people mostly live in Hamlet 2 of Phong Thanh commune and live under poverty line due to their lacking of education and poor awareness of economic and society. Therefore,Hamlet 2 has a poverty rate of 50%.

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1402 – Wings Project

About the project:

  • Wings Project
  • Time : 27/4/2014 – 11/5/2014
  • Place: Phuong Thinh Commune, Cao Lanh District, Dong Thap Province.anh5
  • Participants: 37 students of SMU (Singapore Management University); 5 Vietnamese volunteers and others members of ECO Vietnam Group.
  • Achievements:
    • Completing a EVG love house
    • English Teaching
    • Finance Teaching for local youth
    • Constructing 1km road
    • Culture Night
    • House visiting

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  1. Meetings – Tonight, we are young.

Although we are prepared to not sleep before midnight during our project, the actual feeling of having minimum sleep was really a test to us mentally and physically. It was 5.5hours of sleep on the first night. 4.5 hours of sleep on the second night and 3.5 hours of sleep on the third night. Sometimes, we could not even recognize our faces in the mirror, what was all these hard work for? It was the legendary Reflection Night, with the Sing-team and Viet-team, ending off with the leader meeting.

  1. Tears – What is  pressure?

I was crushed under pressure for the very first time in my life. Mr Harry was not there, he was my helping hand, my support for every mistake I made in the previous projects, but he was not there. This was my first time being a project manager, and I can feel the huge responsibility on my shoulders. I had to deal with Sing-team when they called off the Finance-class for the local youth, I had to deal with both team to break the ice and overcome the invisible wall, I had to fix thing right. I asked myself, ‘Why did I have to do all of this? Why should I take all of this pressure for nothing?’  I answered that question myself, ‘It is because I am young, because this is my community, I wanted to grow, to learn, and to give as much as I can, since life is short.’
Nevertheless, I realized I was only 21, and suddenly I felt powerless. I cried, cried for every little hardship I have to deal with daily. However,  many told me to persevere on: “No pain, no gain.”

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  1. V team Members – Warm from inside

I am lucky to be in this project, I have an amazing team. We supported each other, we care for each other. No matter how stressful it was during reflection time, they still paid attention to their teammate, they helped whenever and wherever it was possible. We were a strong team. I felt so warm inside despite the rainy season then.

  1. Sing team leaders

I was impressed by their leader, 4 different individuals, 4 different characters, but they had something in common which truly inspired me: detail planning, fantastic leadership and being meticulous to every team member.
It was the dry season in Phuong Thinh, and water supply was cut off from us every night. There was once, the 6 of us stayed up late till 3am just to discuss the solution for bathing.

5. Last project night

I always enjoy Culture Night at the end of every project. We danced around the camp fire along with stream of music. I felt young, I felt alive. THIS IS LIFE. It is now or never, I am not going to live forever, I just want to live when I am alive.

I want to join project like this, time to time, just to feel young forever.

 

1401 – Spring Horse project

  • SPRING HORSE Project
  • Time : 9/3/2014 – 22/3/2014
  • Place: Gia Bắc Commune,  Di Linh District, Lâm Đồng Province.
  • Participants: 24 students of Ngee Ann Polytechnic with two teachers; 4 Vietnamese volunteers and others members of ECO Vietnam Group.
  • Achievement:

– Knitting the doors of the Library,

– Lifting the floor of the Library

– English Teaching

– Book Fair

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Spring horse is the first project in 2014, in association with Ngee Ann Polytechnic- Singapore, the official participation of 4 Vietnamese volunteers and the help of other EVG members, to improve the standard of living of the villagers, especially the children in Gia Bac commune, Lam Dong province.

The main activity of the project can be considered as lifting the floor of the Community Library, Knitting the doors of the Library, teaching English for the student in Gia Bac primary school, visiting poor houses, organizing Book Fair and Culture Night for the children and the people there.

About knitting, in the 3 first days, we did it in the morning, then also in the afternoon. This work was not so hard, but it required patience and responsibility, also the ability of working together as a team. The participants needed to observe, analyzed and followed the instruction of the workers. We had some convenience in work thanks to wide work-space, enthusiast workers, gloves to protect our hand, and “non la” with masks for not getting sun burn. However, working under direct sunlight made us tired very easily and needed a lot of water. Thanks to Mr. Ok, we had big water bottle everywhere for everyone, this meant a lot to us.

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Starting for those first days of the lifting work was to clean the library to get the space, we moved the bookshelves and others accessories outside, then break the old cement. A lot of efforts and strengths had been spent to crush the old surface. It seemed like over-hard for girls, but they wanted to try and they were very keen on this work. We finished it without spending too much time.

Many days after, our main works were moving sands for the workers and inside the library. A brilliant thing that happened to us was that the workers had their own machine to mix the cement, so we did not have to make it by our own. But in next day, the electricity was off. Our volunteers had a chance to try it.

Besides, they participated in paving tiles too. After making the tiles inside the water during 15 minutes, they moved them to the workers.

One day after, we helped to fill the empty space between tiles with white cement and cleaned the library again.

Results:Even giving a lot of strength, both Vietnamese and Singaporean volunteers  took back something precious: patience, attention to the work, the way to assign work for the members of the team, attitude toward working, proactive spirit, and the fundamental knowledge like how to use spades, mix the cement, pave tiles…

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Our Book Fair plan was carried out to reality with some success which we were very proud at. The children had a chance to participate in games, where they could run and move a lot with laughing on their face. They also could color and decoration pictures and paper sheets. The materials like color pencils, markers and the little sparkling things to decorate were which the kids rarely have a chance to use it, because their families are so poor for buying that. The Reading Corner also attracted a lot of kids sitting in their place and reading books they get from the shelves. Bringing them joy and books made us very happy and feeling a little proud of our kids, because no matter how hard their life would be, they are still innocent and optimist and always have the smile on their face.

Culture night

The culture night was on stage from 6.30 pm to 7.45 pm, included 3 spectacles from Gia Bac primary school, 2 from the library and 3 from S-team, finally one spectacle with the performance of the V-team and the kids. We ended the show by the giving candy and cookies for them.

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1316 – Home Project

­ Time: 8 Dec – 22 Dec (14 days)

Place: Gia Bac Lam Dong

Members: SMU

Achievement:

– Built 1 ECO Love House
– English Teaching.

– Library event

Home Project is a collaborative project between the student groups EVG and Singapore Management University (Singapore), to be implemented in Gia Bac commune, a poor commune of Di Linh District, Lam Dong Province. To help communities more difficult in Gia Bac, groups of volunteers from EVG and SMU has two main activities are: ECO Love House construction and teaching English to children in elementary grades 3 Gia Bac.

While getting used to the job, the volunteers came from SMU seems to be the “experts” in the building, they can even understand the builder without translation of the Vietnam Volunteer . The always creative in your job, the “human chain” is established when necessary to move material from the outside. Learning is a very fast and advantages of you. Group to group housing is always sweating the most, however, is to fulfill the workflow sooner than expected.

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Teaching job seems to be a little light work and more difficult. But the reality is not so. Teaching English is also extremely exciting and interesting. The first time I was exposed to here, the volunteers were very impressive and endearing. Because they bravely and so much more confident than before, so lessons are lively and very quickly they became acquainted with you.

Library Event: There are 11 games booth volunteers of both the Singapore and Vietnam volunteers. The children participating in winter but not as expected but everyone is very excited and play hard. The girls did not like the original male boldly join the static booth (to bowl, bowl and colored sand paintings). Last time, they were participating in big games and receive gifts.

 

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End of Project R & R trip lasts more than one day in Ho Chi Minh City. The members of the delegation had the opportunity themselves to each other and understand each other better. Everyone is very sorry that ended last trip and return meaningful. However, this will be a very memorable anniversary. Everyone was hoping that would meet again in a different project OCIP.

1315 – Pay it forward project

Time: 3 Dec – 9 Dec

Place: Phuong Thinh, Dong Thap

Members: 50 students of Innova Junior College Singapore

Achievement:

–      Built 1 Km road

–      Built 2 toilets

–      English Teaching

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Project Pay It Forward marked the start of cooperation between EVG and Innova Singapore high school. Through this project, a new cooperation was formed and the importance of EVG as well as its authority over Singapore and Dong Thap province was increased.

From 3/12/2013 to 9/12/2013, PAY IT FORWARD project held by ECO Vietnam Group (EVG) together with Innova Singapore took place ebulliently at Phuong Thing Commune, Cao Lanh District, Dong Thap province. This is the project whose aim was to help and improve the lives of the locals at Phuong Thinh Commune.

Within 7 days, with the youthful enthusiasm and the aspiration for developing community, nearly 60 volunteers from Vietnam and Singapore devoted themselves to help the locals. Some typical events were: visiting the poor, teaching English to children, building 1-kilometre long road, 2 toilets as well as organizing tours for Singaporean students to the tunnels of Cu Chi and 3 more famous tourist attractions in HCM city.

On the first   day at Phuong Thinh commune, both Singaporean and Vietnamese volunteers teamed up to build 2 toilets for some poor families. Despite the baking hot weather along with some unpleasant insects, they still worked enthusiastically in the hope of contributing to the community.

The image of 16-17 year-old students breaking sweat to do every single task meticulously touched the locals greatly. No matter how hard they worked, there was hardly any complaints

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Besides, on the next days, English classes at Phuong Thinh I, II primary school also made a good impression on the locals, especially the students studying here. Our volunteers always knew how to attract their students with interesting methods.

Apart from English classes, students also had a chance to take part in extracurricular activities with Singaporean volunteers. No matter whether it was traditional games of Vietnam or Singapore, the students joined with all their might. They really got along well with our volunteers, considering them as their siblings. On the way home, the children and the volunteers were hand in hand; they talked to each other happily. Happiness was that simple; perhaps, we would never forget those kids, who treated us with all their heart.

The volunteers’ high spirit once again was proved through the work of building road for the locals. Under the scorching hot weather, the volunteers tried their best to complete the road in the hope that no one would fall due to slippery roads

No matter how hard they worked, no matter what gender they were, the volunteers all tried their best to accomplish the mission. When the buidling task was done, everyone turned black and thin. However, seeing the happiness sparkling in the locals’ eyes, all exhaustion soon wore off,

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Apart from daily activities, the volunteers of Pay It Forward project spent some time organizing one cultural exchange night with the locals. Everyone gathered happily around the camp fire and beautiful melody resounded the place. From here, the friendships grew.

On the last day of the project, after leaving Phuong Thinh Commune, the next destinations we visited were the tunnels of Cu Chi, Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh market, etc… These famous places helped the Singaporean volunteers knew more about Vietnamese history and culture

Looking back the memorable days, there were times they felt exhausted and even helpless; however, the volunteers of this project always kept up the true spirit of social activists. They never hesitated in any difficult tasks. And above all, they always maintained their youthful enthusiasm. According to them, this trip helped them grow more mature and cherish their precious lives.

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One thing remaining after the project was marvellous feelings they would never forget. This project also provided them with invaluable experience that they would remember forever.

 

1314 – Sunshine Project

Time: 23 Nov – 6 Dec

Place: Gia Bac Lam Dong

Members: 21 students of Saint Andrew Junior College

Achievement:

[EVG Learning and Cultural Hall] included:

–      EVG Class room

– EVG Cultural Hall

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Sunshine was a cooperation project between EVG and Saint Andrew’s Junior College, taken place at Gia Bac Commune, the poorest commune belong to Di Linh District, Lam Dong province. The locals here at Gia Bac live mainly on growing coffee and corns. Their incomes are really low; consequently, they don’t care much about education for their children. In order to fight poverty, the initial task is to change their outdated thoughts fixed in their mind. Step by step, EVG has been tried our best to reach this target. Understanding the importance of education and the preservation of K’hor’s culture, which is gradually falling into oblivion, in 23/11, we, Singaporean volunteers from SAJC and three volunteers of ECO Vietnam Group got together at Gia Bac to build a classroom and a gallery in the hope of creating an educational environment for children, a place for the locals to spread and preserve the beauty of their culture. In addition, we also bring them hours of learning English in the most comfortable way as well as giving some practical gifts for the poor. We almost finished building the classroom and the gallery ( without doors). Within 10 days at Gia Bac, we accomplished our missions: 10 useful English classes in 6 days; visiting 3 poor families and giving them gifts; harvesting coffee, building 1 classroom and 1 gallery On the first day, we arrived at Gia Bac in the evening and rested that night. On the second day, we got to work immediately. We, 21 volunteers (Singaporean and EVG) were divided into 3 groups: one group for contruction tasks, one group for teaching task and the other group was in charge of domestic tasks (cooking, washing dishes and cleaning).

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In addition, there was one group who was responsible for harvesting coffee, but this duty was just done in 1 day ( in the morning and in the evening) for the reason that the construction tasks were much more important. These tasks were shifted among groups in the following days. All volunteers were all enthusiastic about the brand new experiences. On the first working day, everyone was all eagerly awaited… Harvesting coffee just took place in one day, but it was warmly welcome by volunteers. Despite the swelteringly hot weather, the volunteers still did the job enthusiastically. Moreover, they had a chance to learn about the process of growing, harvesting and subjecting coffee to preliminary treatment. They paid more attention to the price as well as living standard of the farmers in this red soil. Besides, this work required some particular skills and effort. In the first stage, the volunteers were quite awkward when carrying out the job. However, the the next days, they made progress quite fast thanks to their enquring mind. They found it interesting to do the construction work, which was expected to be uninteresting and require a lot of effort. But the lessons they gained from the experience is invaluable. In some days, when there were so much work to cover, the volunteers still patiently carried on to complete the duty. In spite of the baking hot season, they still felt satisfied with their products.  Teaching task, which was thought to be much easier and funnier, turned out to be no less than difficult. The difficulty lied in some naughty boys, who much preferred playing with guests to studying, while girls tended to be passive in the lessons. In the first class of class 4B, boys struggled for taking parting the games to receive gifts whereas girls were not brave enough to join though they knew the answers. Fortunately, the children were very obedient and after receiving out encouragement, everyone joined the class happily. They also joined us to dance along with some English songs. The class atmostphere became much more comfortable. Partly, our lesson target was to raise English level of children in the highland. However, another important aim was to help them become more confident in communication skills and realize the positive effect of education on the future. Overall, teaching task was highly appreciated as it brang up the outcome better than expected. Singaporean volunteers prepared carefully for the lessons to arouse the interest of their students. Furthermore, we also organized 2 more events: one library event and one night for cultural exchanges. Library event was very successful when it attracted quite a few children of Gia Bac primary school. Including both creative and physical games, library event helped create an environment for children to engage themselves in and become more active. Cultural exchange night was held at the library. There were not many guests except teachers at Gia Bac primary school and Singaporean and Vietnamese volunteers. The most attentive audiences were children and parents. Together they made a warm performance night On the last days, we organized to visit 3 poor families and gave them some meaningful and practical gifts. It was not just a simple visit, it provided us with a chance to understand more about the locals’life as well as helping us figure out what made this land be under poverty. From that point, we could contemplate more about our contribution to this beloved land. On the last night at Gia Bac, we gathered around the camp fire, together we sang and shared our thoughts. 10 days at Gia Bac had passed, we returned to HCM city. There is not a single word, but we all believe that we’ve gained a lot of precious knowledge and experience. The next destinations were the tunnels of Cu Chi, Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh market, etc… These famous places helped the Singaporean volunteers knew more about Vietnamese history and culture. The 14-day period had passed, we had to say goodbye. But what we received was the friendship, the experience from daily life at Gia Bac, and the beautiful memories we would never forget.

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1313 – Green Seed Project

Time: 16/11/2013 – 18/11/2013

Place: Gia Bac Lam Dong

Members: 20 students Dunman High school

Achievement:

1 EVG toilet
– English Teaching

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The first task was to build toilets. But why building toilets here? Because the locals at Gia Bac didn’t have a habit of using toilets. They would prefer using the back of their gardens. The problem is that if toilets haven’t been used, not only would the environment be polluted, our health would be negatively affected as well.

Building the toilets was not easy. We must observe how to mix the mortar and how to lay bricks properly… with the help of building workers, after 5 days, our work was accomplished. How proud we were for this accomplishment!

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The next task was to harvest coffee, which was considered to be the main source of the locals’ income. We helped them harvest more than 30 coffee trees within 3 working sessions.

Next, we had to handle with the teaching task. It was thought that language barrier was the biggest obstacle which prevented the Singaporean volunteers from communicating with Gia Bac pupils. However, it was their youthful enthusiasm along with their wholehearted devotion that built the bridge between kids and the volunteers.

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Then, a cultural exchange night was held on the last night the volunteers were at Gia Bac. Apart from traditional performances of the locals, there was an event in which both Vietnamese and Singaporean volunteers prepared more than 350 presents for children at Gia Bac commune.

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5 days at Gia Bac had already passed, we turned back to HCM city, showed the Singaporean volunteers around the city and finally saw them off.

The project had successfully come to an end. The time we exchanged gifts was also the time for warm hugs, shaking hands and saying goodbye. A week spending time together was not long enough for us to understand each individual thoroughly; however, the Singaporean volunteers showed us their youthful enthusiasm and great sense of responsibility. Thank you so much for joining us and contributing your strength to the better society. Thank you for supporting us in carrying out this project.