1406-Heartstrings Project


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


  • 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.


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.



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.



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.


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.


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.



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.


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.

1405-Warm Smiles Project

About the project:

  • WARM SMILES Project
  • Time : 21/7/2014 – 05/8/2014
  • Place: Phuong Thinh Commune, Cao Lanh District, Dong Thap Province.
  • Participants: 22 students of Nanyang Technological University – OVE (Overseas Volunteer Expedition); 5 Vietnamese volunteers and others members of ECO Vietnam Group.



  • Achievements:
    • Completing the Kindergarten with an open ceremony
    • English Teaching
    • Making “Non la” for auction selling
    • Culture Night


Warm Smiles is the fifth project in 2014, in cooperation with Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), 5 Vietnamese volunteers and the help of other EVG members. The project aims to improve the standard of living of the villagers, specifically the children in Phuong Thinh commune, Dong Thap province.

The main activities of the project would be the building of the kindergarten in Phuong Thinh, teaching English for a primary school in Phuong Thinh, visiting the poor in the community, organizing the Culture Night for the community.

Our jobs here for 10 days are mainly: 1) building the kindergarten; 2) housework; 3) teaching every afternoon in Phuong Thinh commune. Adding on to that, we had one afternoon to make auction items together with the  Singapore students and children in Phuong Thinh.


  • Building of Kindergarten

With regards to the physical construction works, the previous project in Phuong Thinh had laid the foundation and built up the wall. Our job was to mainly finish the floor and paint the wall. For the first 5 days, the main work was to mix cement and scattered rock on the ground to build the floor. From 27/7 onwards, NTU SCE(another team which was also hosted by EVG) joined in. The speed of the construction work increased tremendously with the help of more people. We completed laying tiles on the floor and moved on to paint the wall. The entire building required a lot work, with each task requiring different skills. We needed strength and precision when we are mixing the cement. As for painting work, we needed craftsmanship. Thanks to the detailed instructions of the construction workers and the enthusiasm of all NTU students and Vietnamese volunteers, we were able to complete the kindergarten and handed it over to the people of Phuong Thinh on 2/8. From now on, parents in Phuong Thinh will have a better place to send their children to.

Results: Officially inaugurated the kindergarten with toilet and 2 water tank. Everybody felt happy and satisfied with the results. We learnt about 1) being patient in our work, 2) not being afraid of difficulties, 3) ever- ready to solve problems, 4) listen to others more and 5)solidarity between volunteers.


  • Teaching:

The NTU-OVE team taught English to children of Phuong Thinh 1 primary school. The syllabus was designed by Singapore students and Vietnamese volunteers help them with the translation for the children to better understand the English lessons. We had classes on all afternoon, except Saturday and Sunday. The children of Phuong Thinh were very fond of the lessons and attended classes eagerly. After two week, we realize the importance is not what the children had learnt but the close-knitted bonds that had been forged between the children (and people of Phuong Thinh in general as well) and all the volunteers. All the children and volunteers were very disappointed when it was time to part goodbye.     10589898_10152420499548171_1980988478_n

Results: What we achieved so far is knowledge and hope we can act as an inspiration to the children of Phuong Thinh and, with the hope that they will encourage them to fulfil their dream.

  •  Auction item

On 1/8, The Sing-team, V-team and children of Phuong Thinh decorated a ‘Non La’ together to sell in a fundraising auction which will take place later in Ho Chi Minh City.

Results: The ‘Non La’ was beautifully decorated with the help of all Singapore volunteers and children of Phuong Thinh.


  • Housework

This was done by a team of 4 to 5 Singaporean volunteers and 1 Vietnamese volunteer. We would change the team doing housework everyday so that they could try other work too. All we had to do was to: set up the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner, wash dishes, clean up the sleeping area and toilet twice a day. Moreover, we would help the cook to prepare the food, dessert, replacing of the garbage bags and collect the garbage around the house and library.

All the logistics needed were provided. The different job scopes were divided to the team clearly. As the S-team was not used to washing dishes or cleaning up areas, the cleaning up was not of the best results in the first day. After a few tries, we got used to the cleaning work, cooperated well with each other and the work was done more efficiently. All the areas required being clean for accommodation and activity met the intended expectations.

 Results: Everybody cooperated very well, and the cleaning up was done with ease.


  • Culture night

The culture night was from 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm, with the performance by the people of Phuong Thinh, students from NTU, Vietnamese volunteers and members of EVG. After the culture night, it was campfire, all of us were enjoying, and we had a great time together.

Results: The performances occurred in a warm and friendly atmosphere with a lot of laughs from everybody. Everybody enjoyed the show. It was a successful night.

Thoughts about the project



These words are on the behalf of all Vietnamese volunteers for this project:

After two weeks in Phuong Thinh, we had gained great experience. We learned how to work together as a team in order to complete the project. We learned how to find joy in our everyday tasks by keeping the morale high when the construction work was tiring. We learned how take care of ourselves and also to take care of each other in a place far away from home. We learned about the lives of people in a situation that are less fortunate than us and what we can do, more or less, to have a positively impact on their lives. We learned the value of serving the community, not only for those people we helped but for ourselves as well.

Above all, we learn about love and friendship with strangers that we had just met. That will be the most valuable thing that will etch in our hearts. The project has ended, but the memory forge lives on.



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.


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!






1206 – Crayon Project

From 17/11 to 29/112012, ECO Vietnam Group (EVG) School was in collaboration with Singapore’s Nanyang Girl’s High School to implement the project “Crayon” at  Phuong Thinh commune, Cao Lanh district, Dong Thap province. This trip has brought the community the  support by many practical and meaningful works, which lead to the a better life of the resident in this area.

On 11.17.2012, the reception and meet was in the friendly atmosphere, between Vietnamese and Singaporean volunteers at Tan Son Nhat airport.

The meeting at Tan Son Nhat airport

The meeting at Tan Son Nhat airport

On the morning of 18/11/2012, the volunteers had a cordial exchange with the students of Dong Thap University before starting this project at Phuong Thinh.

Celebrating student exchanges with the University of Dong Thap

Celebrating student exchanges with the University of Dong Thap

When the project started, with hearts filled with passion, enthusiasm, the volunteers worked very hard. In spite of  facing with the severe weather’s condition or doing the hard work such as leveling of the road, scattered rocks, mixed lake, build a house …, the volunteers did not flinch, give up.

The girls was eager to work to build ECO Love House

The girls was eager to work to build ECO Love House

Harry (EVG Advisor) was mortaring with happiness showed all over his face

Harry (EVG Advisor) was mortaring with happiness showed all over his face

The volunteers are actively building house

The volunteers are actively building house

Besides paving stones serving the vehicles and building ECO Love House, the volunteers also planted the trees, taught English to students in elementary school … It was just little things but it was the motivation for the children go to school here.


Razing to the ground for the paving stones for convenient travel

Razing to the ground for the paving stones for convenient travel

During this trip, the volunteers visited and gave 3 gifts for the poor in the village. That make the poor believe and hope for a better life, besides, volunteers also understood and sympathized with the one who have an unfortunate life.

In addition to the hours of hard working, the volunteers accumulated for themselves experience, knowledge and mutual understanding, how to work with each other in the team from the exchange.

Capture memories together

Capture memories together

“Crayon” in the spirit of “Going to serve, go to school and go to change” even if was just only for a 2 week period, but what you had done volunteer will forever etched in Phuong Thinh people’s mind. This trip was really shot but it leave in volunteers the memorable values, experiences, lessons for the rest of their life.









1204 – Fire Up Project

This project has been a great blessing for the Phuong Thinh community and the participants as they managed to refurbishing 3 classrooms and an ECO Love House. This project cannot be completed without the hardwork of youth from Hall 14 Nanyang Technological University Singapore and volunteers from ECO Vietnam Group.

The project was conducted in Phương Thịnh commune, Cao Lãnh , Đồng Tháp District, Vietnam – where the common life is living with flood, poverty and making end meets days by days among difficulites in education , transportation any many more.


Morning 14.6.2012,  volunteers form ECO Vietnam Group started the project by picking up our lovely Singaporean friends from Nanyang University of Technology . After months of working together online preparing for the project, it was pleasant to finally meet each others. The greating and welcoming were covered with delight and excitement  for the journey  we’d shared in the next few weeks in Phuong Thinh commune. 

Pick up at Tan Son Nhat airpot 14/6/2012

Pick up at Tan Son Nhat airpot 14/6/2012

Welcome Ceremony in Phuong Thinh commune   – The peolpe committee

Welcome Ceremony in Phuong Thinh commune
– The peolpe committee

For almost all the volunteers, participating in Fire Up project was a new experience. They had the chance to work hard as a constructor. Things seemed to be easy at first turned to be extremely challenging, from carrying tons of bricks, mixing cement to bending iron and building walls, etc. Even though hardship existed in every works, our volunteers always showed the best attitude and responsibility. They pushed through all obstacles, ignored the burning sun, the unexpected rains to finish their job. What gave them the strength was the thought of a better life the people in Phuong Thinh would possibly have thanked to their hard-works.

Happiness shines on these faces when building up a house by their own hands

Happiness shines on these faces when building up a house by their own hands

Carrying tons of bricks and always put a smile on their faces.

Carrying tons of bricks and always put a smile on their faces.

Came to Phuong Thinh commune, at first it was understandable to expect the burning sun in here would shut down all the excitement and determine. Nonetheless, it only made our volunteers’ enthusiastic burned even brighter. Along with building house for the poor households, our volunteers in Fire Up project also re-furnished many classrooms for the young generation in Phuong Thinh. They put their hearts in every single works. Seeing them carefully painted doors by doors, planted trees by trees were precious scenery could be found during those days in Phuong Thinh commune.

Painting doors by doors

Painting doors by doors

Also in the project, our volunteers came and visited many poor households in Phuong Thinh commune. Each visit helped them to understand more of the harsh lives in this poor land.

Visiting poor households

Beside all the working hours during Fire Up project, the volunteers still found time to create many unforgettable memories together and with the lovely people in Phuong Thinh as well. From culture exchange stories during house-works to friendly football match with the commune’s boys , their friendship grew into a loving , unbreakable tie across countries.

Football match with the commune’s boys.

Football match with the commune’s boys.

After the project, although the weather condition was harsh and facilities weren’t any close enough, with loving hearts and volunteerism nature , our volunteers had planted 100 trees, re-furnished 3 schools, visited 3 households, taught English to poor children and built one ECO Love House. These contributions, even though are small but they are the start of hope for a better life, better future in Phuong Thinh. That’s the precious achievement all volunteers in Fire Up project did.

In the farewell party, all the kids in the commune and the volunteers were in the brink of tear for saying goodbye and soon be apart.  However, knowing the love that the people in Phuong Thinh had for them, our volunteers started longing for the reunion day, one day, in the not so far future

Farewell ceremony and Culture exchange party

Farewell ceremony and Culture exchange party

Volunteers and the lovely kids in Phuong Thinh

Volunteers and the lovely kids in Phuong Thinh

“Fire Up” only lasted for 10 days, but all the things our volunteers left behind will forever stay in Phuong Thinh. A short journey in term of time but is endless in each individual mind. This is the journey that EVG volunteers and NTU students will never forget.




1203 -Fly Up Project


Starting the project in Gina Bac highlands this summer, from 26/05/2012 to 02/06/2012, more than 25 volunteers (volunteers) of EVG with the Dunman High School, Singapore succesfully completed a trip in the project “Fly up 1” in Gia Bac commune, Di Linh district, Lam Dong province. With many meaningful activities during the trip, the young people did not only help people in this underprivileged highland, but also study and accumulated precious experience for their life.

Coming to “Fly up 1” this time, the volunteers had the opportunity to get closer to the children of the poor Gia Bac. From the operation of the library, everyone could learn, have fun and more link with each other.

The lively English class of the volunteers.

The lively English class of the volunteers.

The funny performances of the volunteers in the chrildren’s festival.

The funny performances of the volunteers in the chrildren’s festival.

After those activities, Sau những hoạt động như thế, everybody became fond of each other.

After those activities, Sau những hoạt động như thế, everybody became fond of each other.

Besides, in this project, project “Be A Guardian” was implemented in parallel. With the desire to help the students get over the adversity, go on learning, the volunteers together looked for and helped the children in this area.

In the end of this project, the participants had a lot of emotion. The volunteer trip make people become tiny, but it was that trip which make us grow up. Let’s be together with EVG to experience that feelings if you have never.




1202 – SHINE Project

PROJECT “SHINE”  19/5 – 25/5/2012

Phương Thịnh Commune, Cao Lãnh, Đồng Tháp, Vietnam

This project is a start of a new collaboration between EVG and Paya Lebar Methodist High School from Singapore. They had executed many educational and cultural activities in Phuong Thinh, Cao Lanh, Dong Thap before. Through this project, a new cooperation is formed and EVG is able to extend its influence in Singapore.

1From 19/5/2012 to 25/5/2012, project SHINE hosted by ECO Vietnam Group (EVG) in cooperation with Paya Lebar Methodist Girls High School, Singapore was excitedly conducted in Phương Thịnh commune, Cao Lãnh, Đồng Tháp District, Vietnam with the  mission to help and improve life condition in Phuong Thinh commune.

In 7 days, with much enthusiastic, determination and the thrust to build and develop the community in Phuong Thinh, almost 70 volunteers from EVG and Paya Lebar High School had did so many meaningful and genuine benefit for the lives in Phuong Thinh. Namely: visiting poor households, teaching English to children, fixing 3 classrooms, making 1km road.

In the first day in this commune, the volunteers immediately threw themselves in the hard-working routine of the project. They, first, came and visited poor households in the area. In which, not only did they gave away in need facilities to the families but they also built a loving connection with the people in Phuong Thinh – those they would help during their stay.

Visiting poor households

Visiting poor households

In the next days, the volunteers opened several Engligh classes for the children which gave a good impression to Phuong Thinh’s people, especially, the young ones. With active and friendly education methods, the classed had attracted many young students to join enthusiastically.

Also in Project SHINE, they had fixed and re-furnished 3 in order to create a comfortable and safe study environment for the students. Troubles were inevitable due to lack of experiences and other objective factors, yet, our volunteer were forbearing and determine to complete their jobs as best as possible.

This spirit was even higher and stronger when the volunteers making the road for Phuong Thinh commune. Under the burning summer sun, the girls from trường Paya Lebar High School together with volunteers form EVG had completed 1km road with the hope that there would be no more accident in the old slippery road during monsoon seasons.

Putting all their effort in completing the road.

Putting all their effort in completing the road.

Beside all the daily works during the project, the volunteers of project Shine also organized a culture exchange night with Phuong Thinh commune. Songs were sang in harmorny of new friendship and food was shared with family love .This marked the started of a long term and precious friendship between EVG volunteers and Singaporean volunteers as well as the lovely people in Phuong Thinh commune, the friendship that they will cheerish for their whole lives.

Everyone is having fun in the warm of the fire camp – on one summer night.

Everyone is having fun in the warm of the fire camp – on one summer night.

The last day finally came, saying goodbye to Phuong Thinh commune with the promise to come back , our volunteers headed to Cu Chi Tunnel and several famous spots in Ho Chi Minh City – The Notre Dame Church, War remnant museum and Ben Thanh Market. Thanked to which, we had a chance to introduce Vietnamese history and culture to our Singaporean friends.

Visiting the Notre Dame Church

Visiting the Notre Dame Church

Closing one week full of voluntarism spirit and hard works, there were time of tiredness and dispiritedness; however, our volunteers with their loving heart, undefeatable determination had portrayed the much inspirational image of a true volunteer. It is the unwavering, energetic, forbearing   and compassionate spirit.

Departed from the project, what left in each volunteer’s shoulder was not just a backpack but also the priceless lessons and friendships they gained from this experience, which , they will carry for the rest of their lives.