Sharing Our Water Safety and Survival Swimming Experience

On 29 June, we were invited by Dr Vu Kim Hoa, Deputy Director of the Department of Child Care and Protection. Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to share our experience of swimming and water safety work at a workshop organised in Da Nang (central Vietnam). MOLISA is tasked by the Vietnamese Prime Minister with leading efforts to reduce child drowning. Officials from national and provincial government attended plus the World Health Organisation and other water safety NGOs.

Our friends at Swim for Life / Golden West Foundation also invited us in July to their drowning prevention workshop in Quang Binh province where we presented our low resource, open water model for drowning prevention to Quang Binh officials.   We also agreed to set up a “Collaborative” forum to help us work more in partnership with other INGOs given our shared objective to help reduce child drowning in Vietnam.   The INGOs taking part are the AWSOM Project, Swim for Life Vietnam, Swim Vietnam, Water Safety Vietnam, We Bloom , World Vision Vietnam and Hue Help (Swimming for Safety).

Laguna Lang Co supports Swimming for Safety

DSC_0398Laguna Lang Co have generously offered to support part of our Swimming for Safety programme this year in Phu Loc. To promote Swimming for Safety and our partnership, Laguna Lang Co and Hue Help organised a fun promotional swimming event in Laguna’s beautiful Banyan Tree Resort. The event was a huge success with 4o children from local schools taking part in a swimming lesson, relay race, and games that involved pro-athletes competing in Laguna Lang Co’s Triathlon on the 29th March. The pro-athletes were assistants for four of our swimming tutors who were trained to become swimming teachers in our previous Swimming for Safety programmes. This event was a great opportunity for Hue Help to raise awareness of drowning prevention in Thua Thien Hue and our Swimming for Safety programme. International media publicised this event and you can see a video clip here that was screened internationally on VTV4 (watch from 8.22): .

The past few months at Hue Children’s Shelter

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFun Sunday activities have been a source of enjoyment for all of the children, two international, and two local volunteers recently. One Sunday included special Halloween activities and was a highlight for all. The chasing game ‘Who’s afraid of the monster’ was an enjoyable scare, with children then transforming each other into creepy mummies, cackling witches, lumbering frankensteins, and bewitching wizards. Other activities have included dancing, football, and the game ‘Duck, duck, goose’.

Winter has arrived suddenly in Hue so Hue Help Hue Help supported the children’s shelter to buy warm clothing for the children. We are dedicated to improving the living conditions and health of the children in the shelter, and ensuring they have appropriate warm clothing is one such way that we fulfill this commitment. Read about our other commitments to the shelter here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTwo children are working hard at high school as they hope to get into university in the next two years. Both of the children are interested in science and maths. Chemistry and physics are two main subjects for their university examination. We are supporting their dream by providing extra lessons in chemistry and we hope these extra classes will help them to achieve their goals of attending university.

One of the older girls worked in the Hue Help office last month assisting with data analysis for the Swim Towards Disaster Risk Reduction (STDRR) programme. Phuong graduated from her accounting course recently and this work experience with the Hue Help team was invaluable for her career prospects. She was a great help and we wish her all the best with her future endeavours. Another children’s shelter resident who is one of the two girls attending university, won a silver award for badminton with her team. Congratulations to her team!

Hue Children’s Shelter update

Playing at the beachHue Children’s Shelter was happy to welcome two new orphaned children, a brother and sister, to the shelter. They have been unable to attend school for the past year so are delighted to be back at school and are working hard.

Two of the shelter’s girls have started at university and Hue Help will support their tuition fees and living costs. Quynh studies at Hue  University of Economics and Nhi is attending the Hue University of Foreign Language. One boy has also moved to Hoi An to train in hospitality, thanks to Streets International.

The Hue Children’s Shelter residents have enjoyed some recreational activities over the summer sponsored by a very generous donor. They loved their trip to Hoi An and Danang where the children explored the cities and had fun on the beach. They went shopping at the markets for Childrens Day, and enjoyed festivities at the shelter to celebrate Mid Autumn Festival (read more on our Tumblr page).

Zip Wire Event – Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, 23/09/2012

In cooperation with Zip Slides UK, Hue Help is looking for people to take part in an exciting challenge… Zip Wire from Middlesbrough Transporter bridge! The event will be held on the 23/09/2012. The event only costs 42 pounds – and any money you raise can go directly towards benefiting the children Hue Help works with.

If you are interested, please get in touch and we can send you some information on the event and let you know how to book on. Alternatively, you can book as an individual on Zip Slides UK’s website.


YEP (Youth Expedition Programme) Hue 2012 – Unforgettable moments

From 23rd March to 2nd April 2012, Hue Help received a group of students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, under their programme “YEP Hue 2012”. During this programme, they helped construct a courtyard for Tay Xuan Kindergarten over a period of nine days.

We were excited for their arrival, and when they did eventually arrive my first impression was that they were friendly and always smiling. They all greeted me with “Xin Chao”- the first Vietnamese word they had learnt. I thought it was going to be a challenging job for me to teach them Vietnamese, but they were very keen on learning Vietnamese, which also helped me feel less nervous. I was pleased to see that all of them remembered my name, although just some students pronounced it correctly. Some of them even managed to communicate in Vietnamese with some basic words.

For the duration of their stay, the thirty two students- divided into four groups of 8- rotated duties to do construction, organise activities at Tay Xuan Kindergarten, conduct English lessons for a primary school, and prepare daily meals for the whole group; I was impressed by their hard-working attitude and team spirit. Whether it was rainy or sunny, they were out working with the local workers. I had a lot of fun taking part in the kindergarten activities with the kids such as musical chairs, dancing and performing the play “The Little Red Riding Hood”. Thanks to them, I had a chance to eat Chinese, Malaysian and Singapore foods for lunch and dinner. Everyone took part in the cooking and from my eyes, they cooked the food with all their affection.

Apart from the busy life working at the kindergarten, they also enjoyed their time going to the beach, visiting the rice field and bean farm, and exploring Hue city. The activities included visiting Hue Children’s Shelter in An Hoa. We also had a cultural and musical exchange with members of Au Lac School. It was a meaningful event for students from both countries to get to know each other. The event was well planned and everyone enjoyed chatting, joking and spending time together. During the exploration of Hue city, we visited Linh Mu Pagoda and the Citadel. Before that, they had only heard of these places in their lessons at school, and they were happy to visit them in person. Personally, I appreciated their desire to learn more about the history of Vietnam.

We had a closing ceremony before they left Hue. After the dinner, we chatted, sang, and danced around the camp fire. I felt so amazed and touched by the students from Singapore, the Vietnamese volunteers and the local villagers.

Although it was only a short period of time working together, it was full of happiness, smiles and laughter for all the Vietnamese volunteers and myself. I felt that there was a strong bond between us and it was so sad for me to say ‘Goodbye’ to them at the end of their trip. So on behalf of Hue Help, I want to bid farewell to YEP Hue 2012, and I hope that the memories and the laughter we shared will stay with us forever. You will all be missed.

Diaconia University Students Spring 2012

From February to April 2012, Hue Help and one of our partners SORCODE received the first group of social service volunteers of 2012 from Diaconia University of Applied sciences. Annika Hyttinen and Jari-Pekka Pesonen completed a 3-month practical training in two of the children’s shelters of Hue as part of their university studies. The two volunteers taught English in An Tay children’s shelter, and taught English and provided close support to disabled children in Thuy Bieu children’s shelter in Hue. With the support of local volunteers, they successfully completed 3 months in the respective shelters and came away with an increased knowledge and awareness about the support and welfare of disadvantaged children in Vietnam.

Coming to Hue was my first trip to Asia. I’m happy that I had a chance to learn things about Vietnamese culture. Completing a practical training in Hue was the best thing I’ve experienced in my studies” – Jari-Pekka Pesonen

I had a really great time in Hue! I met lots of interesting people from all around the world. And I’m definitely going to miss them all! The Vietnamese lifestyle is something you cannot describe, you have to experience it” – Annika Hyttinen

Feedback from the placement sites and their coworkers in Hue was just as positive as their conclusions about their experiences in Hue. From giving quality lessons to the children to participating in social activities, Hue Help benefited greatly from the volunteers’ enthusiastic involvement and we would be glad if they were able to take away as much they gave.

Fun Football Festival

On 15th April 2012, one of our partners Football For All Vietnam (FFAV) organised a highly successful event at the stadium on Ha Huy Tap street in Hue. Fun Football Festival, which took place on the final day of Hue Festival 2012, brought together 1200 disadvantaged children from all around Thua Thien Hue province.

Despite the intense early summer heat, the event went on as planned and many different activities were held throughout the day. There were outdoor football matches for boys and girls, as well as an indoor blind football match. The matches were certainly competitive, but more importantly, the children played with smiles on their faces. Hue Children’s Shelter entered two teams, one boys’ and one girls’, who both participated very sportingly.

There were also exhibitions for artwork made by many of the children and various games for the younger children to take part in. One of the highlights was a spectacle inside the stadium consisting of various performances from different shelters and centres. Traditional dancing, modern dancing, ballads, pop songs, plate spinning and stilt walking were just some of the vibrant performances on display. One of the girls from Hue Children’s Shelter, Oanh, even mustered up the courage to sing a popular children’s song in front of everyone in the stadium.

The festival culminated in a massive medal giving ceremony, where every child who participated in the event was awarded a medal. The whole day was a great achievement in bringing together the community and encouraging sport as a form of social development and creating community togetherness.

Swimming for Safety 2012 Pre-evaluation Survey

On Friday 10th February 2012, Hue Help carried out a survey for the implementation of the 2012 Swimming for Safety programme in collaboration with Phu Loc Education Department. The programme is scheduled to start in August 2012 for 1,200 secondary school students in Phu Loc district. Eventually, we aim to strengthen the physical health of children and reduce the rate of children drowning in Thua Thien Hue province.

In order to ensure the safety and quality of the training course, we checked the swimming equipment, as well as the teaching plans and schedules of seven of the ten secondary schools, namely Bon Loc, Loc An, Loc Dien, Loc Tri, Phu Loc Town, Vinh Hien, and Lam Mong Quang. We will soon return to Phu Loc district to survey the remaining schools and to assess the swimming sites.

This will be the second year that Hue Help is implementing the programme in Phu Loc district, and we hope that this programme will be replicated beyond Phu Loc and integrated into the education system as a formal subject in schools.

If you are interested in sponsoring or donating for this programme, please do not hesitate to contact us at Similarly, please feel free to contact us if you would like more information regarding the swimming programme or any other of our activities.

English Lessons at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Hue

In order to improve the communication skills in English for the officials of Thua Thien Hue Workers’ Union, Hue Help collaborated with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Worker’ Union of Thua Thien Hue Province. Hue Help organised three English classes for nearly 90 officials with the teaching participation of voluntary teachers from Hue Help. After more than six months of implementation, the course was ended successfully on 30th December 2011. This was a pilot programme that Hue Help carried out in Hue. And we will work with the partners to assess the programme and to plan for the coming years.

-Khanh Truong, Representative of Hue Help