Youth Imprint

Explore and Learning Trip: Youth Imprint

In the period from 09.16.2014 to 09.19.2014, the members of ECO Vietnam Group had a ‘Explore and Learning’ trip in Singapore. Throughout this trip, EVGers understand more about Singapore – EVG welcomes students from Singapore for various projects in Vietnam each year. This trip was not only a fun-filled trip. It acts as an opportunity for EVGers to discover our personal capacity, identify our knowledge gaps and reflect on personal skills that can be improved upon.

 

The ‘Explore and Learning’ trip was only for a few days, but the knowledge and lessons which EVGers gained were invaluable. Within these 4 days, EVGers visited the teachers, the students of Nanyang Girls’ School and Nanyang Technology University. EVGers learnt more about Singapore’s education, the learning spirit of Singapore student and the enthusiasm of the Singapore teachers. In additional, EVGers are also impressed with the country’s educational system.  Education in Singapore is present everywhere, from schools to the subway. The public were educated with different reminder signboards that cultivate the ethical and cultural portion of Singapore. All of these were reflected in the lifestyle of Singaporean from the way of queuing; minimum rubbish on the streets, designated smoking area, as well as courtesy signboard to offer seat to the needy.

During the trip, EVGers also visited Little India, Chinatown, Merlion Park, Sentosa, Garden by the Bay, Orchard Road … From all these places, EVGers learnt more about the multi-ethnic cultures of Singapore, as well as overseeing the prosperous development of this Lion City.

 

After the trip, the members of EVG have an own reflections. EVG worked with many Singaporeans before coming to this trip, so we were eager to find out more about the place where we seemed to have plenty of imagination and knowledge of it, yet never once had we stepped into this island before. It was a pleasant surprise to witness the importance of education all over the country. It was also an admiration to be able to witness the successful development of a young country, Singapore. We were glad to be given this opportunity to learn and understand more about Singapore. Lastly, it is also a pride to know that Singapore had worked with EVG for many projects and EVG remains          
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   the top choice for Service-Learning, if they are coming to Vietnam. We are pleased to have many future opportunities to work with Singapore as EVG attempts to assert itself and bring the best to the society.

“I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”

The members of EVG realize the importance of globalization, and are keen to travel to different new places and see the world. The world is great and wonderful. This trip enhanced the knowledge and thinking of EVGers, helping EVGers to understand the role and mission of them in the organization, the society and the country. Each person has a role in the image of a country.  Let’s mature each day, dream big, work hard for the country, for the world!

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1406-Heartstrings Project

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About :

  • Project: HEARTSTRINGS – 1406
  • Theme: Bring love from heart to heart
  • Time: 26/7/2014 – 05/08/2014
  • Place: Phuong Thinh commune, Cao Lanh District. Dong Thap Province.
  • Participants: 18 students from Nanyang Technological University – SCE, 6 Vietnam volunteers and other members of ECO Vietnam Group

Achievements:

  • English teaching
  • Construction of Kindergarten school building
  • Poor families visiting

HEART STRINGS is the last project of ECO Vietnam Group at Phuong Thinh commune, in association with Nanyang Technological University – SCE, the official participation of 6 Vietnamese volunteers and the help of other EVG members, to improve life of villagers, specifically the children in Phuong Thinh commune, Dong Thap province.

The main activities of the project are the construction of kindergarten building, teaching the students of Phuong Thinh 2 primary school English, visiting the poor and perform for Culture Night for the children and the people there.

Project timeline

Day 26/7/2014:

  • 08.00: 6 Vietnamese volunteers and Harry (EVG’s founder and advisor) gathered at Tan Son Nhat airport.
  • 0900: Vietnamese team met and took picture with Singaporean volunteers at the airport.
  • 0920: Leave Airport for Cao Lanh via one 45-seater bus. Breakfast eaten on the bus: Vietnamese Meat Bread & Plain Water.
  • 1300 : Arrive at Cao Lanh. Lunch in A Chau restaurant. Change from 45-seater bus to two 16-seater buses
  • 1400: Depart to Phuong Thinh Commune.
  • 1600: Arrive at Phuong Thinh Commune. Settle down – Unload belongings and setting up of logistics(if any) at the right place.
  • 17.00 : V.Team 1405 and 1406 meeting.
  • 17.30 : Dinner.
  • 22.00: Set up sleeping area and then lights out

Day 27/7/2014 – 2/8/2014

The main jobs in 7 days here were: Building a kindergarten, knitting and cleaning the doors; housework; teaching daily in Phuong Thinh commune.

HOUSEWORK

This is implemented by a group including 3-4 Sing Volunteers and 1 Viet Volunteer every day; it was changed alternatively every day. The main tasks were: setting up of meal tables, cleaning up of meal tables, washing up of dishes, cleaning up bed zone and restroom twice per day( morning and afternoon). In addition we had to support the local to prepare, pre-processing food and dessert, plus we had to change the rubbish plastic bag daily, and clean up the area around the commune hall.

The essential facilities for work had been supplied adequately. Various job scope were  assigned .As most people were not familiar with household as washing dishes, cleaning, sweeping of floor… the housework portion did not receive desired result for the first few days. Meanwhile, during mealtime, both project leaders had conflicts over the dishwashing errands. However, as we got more used to the job scope, the volunteers were able to collaborate and work more efficiently. The cleanliness of the house and living areas were cleaned met the required expectations.

Results: Commune hall were cleaned up, and everyone took responsibility of their job scope, and everybody motivated each other.

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BUILDING KINDERGARTEN

It was the last few days of the building process, and we were constructing the buildings in the morning and afternoon daily. At the beginning, we all had many difficulties as this was the first time we did construction work. The construction looked simple but in actual fact it was quite difficult and took up a lot of our time. We mixed the cement, filled up the filler exterior on the walls and painted the walls and windows. Some members climbed up to the scaffoldings. These work required precision and had to be done in a cautious manner. After a few days, we got used to the work and did everything faster with more efficiency. Moreover, due to excellent job allocation, we were able to cooperate smoothly.

 

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Result: Everyone worked hard to finish the construction in time, and prepared for the opening ceremony. Everyone felt glad and proud when the kindergarten was completed. We all learned about values such as being patience and not to give up easily. We understood the importance of teamwork and how to operate as a team, covering up for each other’s mistakes.

CULTURAL NIGHT

The Cultural Night took place from 1900 to 2000, including:

ü 1 performance from Phuong Thinh Primary School

ü 1 performance from Phuong Thinh Commune Youth Union

ü 3 performances in 1 musical from NTU SCE

ü 1 performance from NTU OVE

ü 1 performance from V-team Project 1405 and 1406

ü Camp Fire

Result: All performances were well-planned and everyone was engrossed in the warm and friendly atmosphere. There were a lot of kids and residents that come for the the culture night. Overall, the program was a success.

TEACHING

The teaching portion was done concurrently with the construction of schools. There would be 2 members of V.team combining with some members of S.team to conduct the lessons together. In the first day, the size of whole class was 24 children, consisting of many children aged 8-10 years old. They were very obedient students. On the following day, the size increased gradually to 30-31 children till the last lesson. Most of them were attentive and joined all the activities enthusiastically in class. Teaching the students work was not too difficult but it required the volunteers to spontaneously modify their teaching method for the students to understand better. The volunteers were able to motivate the children to learn, and whenever the children had problems, volunteers had to be proactive in answering to the needs of different children.   The volunteers showed great patience and enthusiasm during teaching and therefore, it requires that every volunteer had to have patience and enthusiasm with children. Volunteers tried various methods to communicate and catch the children’s attention during lessons. They end off with a sharing session with the children, encouraging them to be more positive about life, and understand more about the situation of their own families. The children were glad to be taught by all the volunteers and we forged a strong and emotional bond with them.

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Results: The children learnt basic English communication phrases(greetings, family vocabulary, colours, transportation…) Both volunteers of S team and V team understood the children more, as well as knowing more about the daily situation in remote Phuong Thinh commune.

VISITING POOR FAMILIES

The group was divided into three small teams; each team visited at least one poor family. Each family has different difficulties. We were there to understand more about the people in Phuong Thinh, as well as to give them token of gifts.

Result: Everyone was able to achieve their goal of visiting at least one family. We understood more about their life and we hope we can motivate them to be more optimistic about their life.

Thoughts about the project:

A member from NTU-SCE:

“It was a very meaningful project!  We hoped to have inspire their life by exposing them to one more Language, English! Hopefully this exposure will ignite the passion in them to continue to learn English” – Lindsey Tan (NTU-SCE)

 Thoughts of V.team – Volunteer of ECO Vietnam Group:

To talk about the project and Phuong Thinh commune:

To the project, I would sum it up in few words for it: awesome, learning, experiencing.

As with regards to Phuong Thinh, the two words I thought of would be : Difficulties, and insufficient.

During the first days of the project, sometimes, the intended plan and the list of things to- do become burdens on our shoulders. We were really nervous every day.  We (V.Team) had to work with our passion and have to forever responsible. We must also have patient and not forgot to keep learning to deal with unforeseen circumstance such as the lack of resources in the venue, different situations in the activities and also to deal with everyone’s emotions. Adding onto that, we have to adapt to the different working manner of S-team.

S-team motivated us and kept me moving forward, and in the end we were able to achieve our objectives. We worked a team.

After the project, I have been thinking a lot about my English vocabulary, and I feel the need to improve. We also think a lot about the different between cultures and educations, attitudes and working style with co-operators. We have grown up after joining this project. This could be one of our first stepping stone in life, as we stepped out and interact with the world.  It is a wonderful first-time experience for the Singaporean volunteers and the V.team, working together hand in hand.

We would like to thank EVG for letting us to join this great project, as we learn new things and establish new friendships – which V.team will cherish for a lifetime.We wish everyone in the project to have a meaningful life ahead.

1404 – Project Sun Flower

Project Sum up:

  • Project Sun Flower
  • Duration: 06.15.2014 – 02.07.2014
  • Location: The Thinh commune, Dong Thap Province
  • Participants: 33 students of NTU; 6 Vietnam volunteers and members of ECO Vietnam Group
  • Achievement:

– Teaching children at Phuong Thinh (teaching English, thinking skills – creativity) – Curriculum prepared by NTU Hall13, volunteer translators and administrative support classes

– Building 1 class room for Kindergarten

– House Works (Clean accommodation, toilet, preparing meals,)

– Visit the poor (5 households)

– Organize night cultural exchange – Culture Night

Sunflower Project is on the 4th project of 2014, carried out by Eco Vietnam Group, in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). The main objective of this project is to improve the lives of people, especially the children at Phuong Thinh, Dong Thap. The project is spearheaded by 33 students from NTU, 6 volunteers from Vietnam and the support of members of EVG.

Sunflower Project is the first project in the series of 3 construction projects in the village pre-school room roof lamp, Phuong Thinh commune, Dong Thap province.

Works included:

1 preschool classroom, 1 reservoir, and 1 toilet. The total value of all these projects is around 270 million.

All of these were built by the students of Vietnam and Singapore, with the guidance and support of the local construction team.

The first day of the construction was the most difficult, as the methods of evacuation is extremely rigorous. Many students described the process as a ‘never-ending chore’. Singaporean students and Vietnam volunteers were overwhelmed by the work on the first day. However, everyone was very happy, patient and enthusiastic to get the work done.

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The first day construction of the Kindergarten was the most difficult day. Firstly, we have to do excavation work, which many of the students described as a ‘never-ending chore’. Singaporean students and Vietnam volunteers were shocked with the amount of construction work that had to be done on the first day. However, everyone was very happy, patient and enthusiastic to get the work done.

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Teachings always bring joy and excitement to all Singaporean and Vietnam volunteers because of the enthusiasm and the friendliness of the children here. In the project, the children learnt to sing in English and fold origami.

Constructing of the classroom became easier after the tough excavation stage. We were very lucky to have the enthusiastic support of local construction worker to work together with us.

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The next day, we continue with the mission of construction such as mixing tank, loading bricks. One of the Singaporean participants shared that she was most interested to learn the setting up of telegraph poles.

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Night Cultural exchange was filled with a series of sophisticated repertoire of local, NTU and Vietnamese volunteers’ performance. It was certainly a memorable night, as we forged unforgettable experiences together with the people in The Thinh commune.

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After the project, the group went on to Cu Chi tunnels tour. Throughout the tour, the group explored and learnt about the illustrious history of Vietnam.

At the end of the journey, we went separate ways, and what remained were the memories shared together with the volunteers, friendship and experiences etched into our heart forever.

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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.

 

Gia Bac Community Volunteering Center

Gia Bac Community Volunteer Center was founded in early December 2013 by a group of volunteers from Vietnam and Nanyang Girl’s High School from Singapore. To this day, the center has been fully developed.  The center has a large main room built and has been in operation since early 2014. Gia Bac Community Volunteer Center places importance in becoming a comfortable and friendly learning environment for students in Gia Bac. This is a place where the children can come and play; learn as well as interact with each other. There are hundreds of cultural and science books available for them to read and enhance their knowledge. Furthermore, all the learning facilities are well equipped with adequate tools to create the ideal learning environment.
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In addition, there are public restrooms which consist of 6 toilets and 6 bathrooms for the benefit of the students studying in the library. The building fund is supported by BeCause Vietnam non-profit organization and ‘Lan Toa Yeu Thuong’ fundraising event hosted by ECO Vietnam Group.602104_10152063905960977_770150898_n

The Gia Bac community volunteer center is the brainchild that ECO Vietnam Group has cherished for so long. Our mission is to provide an excellent environment that can facilitate effective learning for Gia Bac students and increase their desire to read more and to learn more. Our long-term plan is to eliminate illiteracy and help the students to learn critical life skills for their future. EVG hopes to achieve our long-term plan, and at the same time, fulfill the dreams of Gia Bac children by continuing to establish and maintain the activities in the center.

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1301 – Book Flight Project

IMG_5232Held by EVG and SAJC’s alumni, the main purpose of this project is that to study and spread out “Service Learning” s spirit to the youth.

The drainage system had been built for the library, the English and hygiene curriculums had been held for children, the Gia Bac’ s daily life report had been given by interviewing to local people and the geographic map of Gia Bac had been made as well …These are being some of related activities according to above mentioned project.

catsThe most outstanding activity was the English class for Gia Bac s children with all teachers are young volunteers from Singapore and Vietnam. The children had been familiarized with English alphabet and numbering table, it sounds very simply but both teachers and students had to work engrossed and studious together. To make the lessons to be more interesting and easier to remember, the “teachers” had organized lots of related activities such as to sing and dance about alphabet and numeric table ,using body language to describe alphabet , doing exercised games… After overcoming the language and culture barriers, teacher and student have had an unforgettable time together.

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oijWe cannot neglect to mention the cleaning toilet curriculum in one primary school , the Singapore volunteers had finished their job excellently.

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1207 – Bee Steady Project

From 11/24/2012 to 7/12/2012, ECO Vietnam Group (EVG) successfully collaborated with the Saint ‘Andrew Junior College (SAJC), Singapore in implementing projects Bee Steady  at Gia Bac Commune, Di Linh District,  Lam Dong Province. In just two short weeks, with the wholeheartedness and the desire to dedicate youth to community, nearly 30 volunteers (VLT) come from Vietnam and Singapore helped people in the underprivileged highlands. Through those activities, they could accumulate a lot of experience for themselves.

On the morning of 24/11, the Vietnamese volunteers met and got acquainted with the Singaporean volunteers in an atmosphere of fun and friendliness.

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Carrying out this project, the volunteers had to habituate themselves to a lot of difficulties and strenuousness of a builder like bellying bricks, mixing cement, bricking … In spite of the first moments when they were still like a fish out of water, all volunteers worked very hard  and did not afraid of the serve weather conditions to complete ECO Love House.

The volunteers were building ECO Love House and repairing EVG Community Library

The volunteers were building ECO Love House and repairing EVG Community Library

Let’s have a break !

Let’s have a break !

Also in that series of activities, the volunteers had the opportunity to get closer to the children of the poor Gia Bac through a variety of activities such as teaching to widen children’s knowledge here or holding the event at the Library to give the children a chance to play together.

These lively and interesting classes that the volunteers prepared for the children

These lively and interesting classes that the volunteers prepared for the children

These fun activities in the Library Event

These fun activities in the Library Event

Summing up the trip, with the heart of youth and the enthusiasm for dedicating to the community, the volunteers left Gia Bac the work doing with the affection. Although those contributions were small, it has took part in building and developing sustainably this area.

Although everybody parted the Gia Bac highlands, they will never forget the beautiful crystallization from friendship, from the memories having in this trip. The time in Gia Bac is short but what the volunteers did will forever exist in Gia Bac. Someone said that “Time is not measured by the period that you live but by the experience that you went through.” So please come and enrich your time with EVG!