Singapore Group Volunteer in Vietnam

From 5th to the15th of December 2011, in collaboration with Thua Thien Hue’s Union of Friendship organisations, Hue Help organised a programme for 13 students from Singapore Management University in Singapore to volunteer at Loi Nong Kindergarten in Huong Thuy District, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam.

During 10 days and with the help of local workers and Vietnamese volunteers, the volunteers from Singapore built a kitchen for children in the Loi nong Kindergarten, taught English and carried out various activities with the students of Hue’s College in order to promote cultural exchange between the two countries. The programme ended with a ‘music-exchanging programme’ on the 13th December with special performances by the children and teachers, the Youth Union of Loi Nong Village and the Singaporean students. A great volunteer in Vietnam experience!

This is a significant program, it helps to bring the relationship between Vietnam and Singapore closer together. We look forward to many more successful collaborations in 2012!

– Khanh Truong, Representative in Vietnam

Singapore Group Volunteer Programme

From 15th  to 21st  October 2011, Hue Help and Thua Thien Hue’s Union of Friendship Organisations have agreed to work together to organise a programme for 6 young students from St Joseph’s Institution International in Singapore to volunteer at An Tay children’s shelter in Hue, Vietnam.

With the help of local workers and Vietnamese volunteers, the volunteers from Singapore will build a playground for children on the An Tay shelter grounds, teach English and carry out various activities to promote cultural exchange between the two countries. The playground that the volunteers hope to construct will hold a small baseball field, as well as a volleyball court. On 21st October, the Singaporean students’ experience as a volunteer group in Vietnam will formally be brought to a close with a ‘music-exchanging programme’ that will be implemented and led by the children and teachers of An Tay orphanage, as well as the Singaporean and Vietnamese students.

This volunteer programme takes place around four times a year, and it helps towards building a significant bridge to bring the relationship between Vietnam and Singapore closer together.

-          Khanh Truong, Representative for Hue Help in Vietnam

Why Volunteer in Vietnam?

What do you think about working as a volunteer in Vietnam? I think it’s meaningful work not only for ourselves, but also for many other people who are not as lucky as us. I feel really happy after the short time that I volunteered in Hue and I would always like to come back to Vietnam as soon as possible- not only for volunteering, but also to live there for the rest of my life.

As you know, each of us has our own talent, which we apply in our jobs. But why don’t we share it with society through volunteering?

I think you should try to volunteer in Vietnam at least once if possible, because of the following reasons:

1. You will change other peoples’ lives.

You will bring happiness to other people by volunteering, and their lives can be changed with your volunteering.

2. You will change your own life.

You will feel happy when you help others, and it will seem like you have lots more energy when you share your ability with others.

3. Others need the abilities that you have.

We often wish we had the abilities, experiences and skills of others. When you share the skills that you have with others, you will receive other skills in return. “To live is to share”, and for your life to be more meaningful it depends on that.

4. You will explore the power of cooperation

When you unite your efforts with others to aim at the big target, you won’t be surprised that it can one day be reached. The world is waiting you to tell it: “ I’m ready”. And when you proclaim this from your heart, let it be heard by the community you’re in. And the result will be amazing!

5. Your view of the world will be changed.

The world doesn’t follow the default circle that you’ve always imagined. When you volunteer in Vietnam, you will meet many people and learn about many situations, and you will realize that the world can be a different place.

6.  You will influence the people around you

The people closest to you are your children. They will respect you more because you have contributed to society. They will also become more concerned about social issues instead of being apathetic and indifferent to the difficulties of life. Your children will feel that social awareness has formed in the family since childhood, and through adulthood. They will be very happy to continue on their social responsibility. We are all contributing to make a difference in our community.

7. You will meet unique people.

It’s really amazing that when you volunteer in Vietnam, you meet interesting people. You will also develop a network of new friends and they are truly the people who you want to connect with. The goal of your personal life becomes better.

8. You will feel connected to greater things.

There are many disadvantaged people around us and we might be amongst them. Thus, helping each other is really important. Some people have everything they want, but they are not happy. They will surely be very surprised with what happens in their mind and soul if they spend one day a week helping those who are in need.

9. You will contribute to saving our world

Most likely, you will help the homeless children with a history of violent apathy feel happiness and hope in the future. It is you who will save the world.

10. You will die happy

The worst thing in the world is lying in bed, waiting to die and saying “I wish I had tried more”.  Say you are in this situation. Wouldn’t you want to give yourself the chance to do something nice? In reality, the more money we make, the more expensive it will be to ‘feed’ our needs.

But we can easily realize that enjoyment doesn’t make us happier, but in fact can make us more unhappy. Therefore, you should live twenty four hours a day in a meaningful way- don’t just live in a meaningful way when you work. In this way, you will have no regrets when your life is almost over.

– Thanh Nguyen, Programme Assistant

 

Living in Hue

The one thing commonly absent from guidebooks on Hue is the lifestyle outside of its tourist attractions. Their descriptions do not come close to portraying the subtle satisfactions derived through daily engagement with the city’s numerous, yet simple, pleasures.

Don’t get me wrong, the tombs are magnificent, the citadel is steeped in an abundance of history and the beautiful perfume river provides the hustle and bustle of urban life with a gentle rural calm. However, despite such highlights it is the beauty of the way of life here which has engraved itself so significantly upon me.

Whether it’s enjoying an iced coffee in the coolness of the morning at an hour unthinkable to student-routine in Britain, discovering a method to the madness amidst the constant swarm of traffic, or appreciating the stunning views from the city’s bridges as much on the day you arrive as the day you bid your sorry farewells, there is something pleasurable in each aspect of daily activity in Hue.

To describe the people here as ‘friendly’ does not do justice to their desire to assist you in whatever way they can or to their excitement in integrating you into their lives, as well as into the society as a whole. Despite the language barrier there exists a mutual pleasure in sharing one another’s company; the sharing of food, drinking and football are just three examples of global languages which help overcome any initial language problems. I will miss the communal openness here: London could certainly learn a lesson.

You cannot truly see Hue in a weekend, or even a month for that matter. Its surface beauty is immediate but the underlying beauty emerges more gradually and once you’re in the swing it is calming, steady and totally fulfilling. Simple pleasures in daily activities: lesson number 2 for London.

–       Adam Moore, volunteer in VietnamThe one thing commonly absent from guidebooks on Hue is the lifestyle outside of its tourist attractions. Their descriptions do not come close to portraying the subtle satisfactions derived through daily engagement with the city’s numerous, yet simple, pleasures.

Don’t get me wrong, the tombs are magnificent, the citadel is steeped in an abundance of history and the beautiful perfume river provides the hustle and bustle of urban life with a gentle rural calm. However, despite such highlights it is the beauty of the way of life here which has engraved itself so significantly upon me.

Whether it’s enjoying an iced coffee in the coolness of the morning at an hour unthinkable to student-routine in Britain, discovering a method to the madness amidst the constant swarm of traffic, or appreciating the stunning views from the city’s bridges as much on the day you arrive as the day you bid your sorry farewells, there is something pleasurable in each aspect of daily activity in Hue.

To describe the people here as ‘friendly’ does not do justice to their desire to assist you in whatever way they can or to their excitement in integrating you into their lives, as well as into the society as a whole. Despite the language barrier there exists a mutual pleasure in sharing one another’s company; the sharing of food, drinking and football are just three examples of global languages which help overcome any initial language problems. I will miss the communal openness here: London could certainly learn a lesson.

You cannot truly see Hue in a weekend, or even a month for that matter. Its surface beauty is immediate but the underlying beauty emerges more gradually and once you’re in the swing it is calming, steady and totally fulfilling. Simple pleasures in daily activities: lesson number 2 for London.

–       Adam Moore, volunteer in Vietnam

Improving the Quality of Education for the Children in Our Shelter

One of Hue Help’s activities that we take special pride in is the improvement of education for the children in our shelter. We are fully aware that education is the best way for disadvantaged children to improve their future prospects. With that in mind, we hire tutors to come to the shelter to teach the children the official school subjects, such as Math, Physics, Chemistry, and English.

Before and throughout each school year we work closely with the tutors to exchange information about the classes and the students so as to assure the best possible results for all involved.

This school year we are happy to report some very encouraging results!  One student in particular, Truong, passed his entry exam to Thua Thien Hue College of Education. This is a great sign and we hope that many more of our kids will follow Truong into universities in the near future.

Besides the academic subjects, we also hold classes that help the children physically, such as swimming and kung fu classes.  Engaging in extracurricular activities such as these gives the children an opportunity to relax after working hard in school as well as giving them exercise to improve their health.

In the future Hue Help will hold courses on life skills, such as emotional control, communication, confidence-building, creative problem solving, listening and sharing, time management, safety, and effective study skills. These courses will offer the children the basic knowledge necessary to be successful as they apply their education toward achieving their dreams.

Truong, future student of Thua Thien Hue College of Education

Swimming for Safety Urban Programme 2011 Closing Ceremony

newspaperonclosingceremony picture
On August 21st, 2011 Hue Help collaborated with Hue Sport Centre to organize the closing ceremony of the Swimming for Safety training course for the orphans of Hue city.

The training programme lasted for one month, from 12 July to 18 August, for 110 children living in five orphanages: Xuan Thuy, An Tay, ThuyXuan, Nguyen Trai and Hue Children’s Center. The children were taught basic swimming techniques and survival skills for when they have fallen in water. The programme’s goals were to improve the children’s health while also reducing the rate of drowning for children, which is a very serious issue in Vietnam.

By the end of the month it was clear the programme was a success! According to the results of the final assessment, 85% of the participating children now have basic swimming skills and 70% of children mastered the breast-stroke technique.

At the closing ceremony, we also organized a swimming competition for the children to show-off their new skills and to have some fun with each other. Xuan Phu orphanage won the first prize!

– Khanh Truong

Summer Vacation Activities for the Children

Every year Hue Help is pleased to organize summer vacation activities for the children of the orphanage, and this summer was full of fun activities!

DSC07279

There were three main activities arranged this year: going to the Thanh Tan hot springs, going to Canh Duong beach, and a two-day trip to Vinh Moc tunnel, Nhat Le beach, and Phong Nha cave.

The first summer activity was a fun-filled day at Thanh Tan hot spring. At Thanh Tan the children and Hue Help’s volunteers enjoyed several water games, such as swimming, water slides, and throwing water balloons. Of all of these, the water slide was the clear favourite among the children!

anh 11

On 29th June we had the next activity, this time to Canh Duong beach. On the beach the children and volunteers played beach football and a game of tag. The children were especially happy catching sea creatures like jellyfish and crabs along the beach.

Although those activities were a lot of fun, the trip the children were most excited about was a two-day excursion to Vinh Moc tunnels, Nhat Le beach, and Phong Nha cave. This was the first time the children had gone on a two-day trip! And the trip certainly did not disappoint their high expectations. It was full of interesting experiences, such as exploring the tunnels of Vinh Moc, teambuilding games on the beach, and boating on the river to visit Phong Nha Cave.

After this summer of fun activities our children will begin the new school year full of happy memories, ready to work hard, and already looking forward to more trips next year!

A New Relationship Between FFAV and Hue Help

FFAV  DSC 5656

FFAV (Football For All Vietnam) are currently benefiting from an agreement which sends Hue Help volunteers to assist the FFAV coaches on the pitch. Last week, FFAV welcomed two of our volunteers, Adam and Josh, to the project. Both are university students in the UK on their summer holidays and both have coached children’s football in England. The duo will also teach English to some teams throughout their 2 month stay in Vietnam. They will use a lively curriculum unique to FFAV that incorporates football vocabulary and elementary conversational structures.

The club coach at The Arts Center facility, Mr. Thinh, is enthusiastic about the prospect of working with foreign coaches. He noted that their involvement will bring about an injection of energy into his players. Adam and Josh have already introduced a wealth of new training exercises, and were quick to compliment the ball composure and maturity shown by the teams coached by Mr. Thinh.

Hue Help and FFAV hope to place one or two new volunteers when the next volunteer cycle starts to build on Josh and Adam’s excellent contribution. We would like to thank Mr. Phuong, Eddie and Mr. Thinh from FFAV, as well as the Thua Thien Hue Department of Education and Training and The Art Center for their support and cooperation to make this possible.

For more information about FFAV, please visit their website here.

Swimming for Safety Update

Our Swimming for Safety programme is now well underway. This year, we have trained up 34 teachers in the local secondary school system in Phu Loc, a district in Thua Thien Hue province. These teachers work at 10 schools, teaching up to 120 children per school.

In Phu Loc, there are no public swimming pools. To teach swimming, we have to use open water locations. We are now using 4 beach sites, 4 river sites and 1 site on the lagoon. Each location poses it’s own logistical challenges. Every area is made safe and risk assessed by qualified staff prior to the swimming course commencing. A combination of local and technical knowledge has enabled us to put together a system that has made a variety of natural locations suitable for swimming tuition.

IMG 0212
A temporary swimming location in Loc Bon commune.

Each child in the programme receives 18 swimming lessons, and the lesson plans have been devised in cooperation with the IFSTA.

We are now monitoring each location in cooperation with Thua Thien Hue Red Cross, visiting each site to ensure that any problems that arise are solved and providing assistance where necessary.

Following the completion of the course, we will also hold a closing workshop in Hue which will provide an additional opportunity for the teachers and local officials to provide feedback on this year’s programme, helping us improve the plan for next year!

Hue Help and IFSTA run swimming teacher training course in Phu Loc

Last week, the first major challenge of our new Swimming for Safety expansion programme was completed: we successfully trained and qualified 34 swimming teachers and 2 assistant teachers within the local secondary school system and Red Cross in Thua Thien Hue province, central Vietnam.

DSCN6011
Teaching CPR to swimming teachers in Phu Loc

The teachers, most of whom are secondary school physical education teachers, took part in an IFSTA (International Federation of Swimming Teachers’ Associations) teachers course, which follows a syllabus specifically designed to create an international swimming standard. On the 6 day course, 2 days were spent in a public swimming pool in Hue city centre, and the other 4 days were held on Canh Duong beach, one of our open water swimming teaching locations in Phu Loc.

The course was a challenge – all the course manuals and resources had to first be translated into Vietnamese. As the course was delivered by an English swimming teacher tutor, a translator was required to translate everything verbally into Vietnamese. Thanks to the dedication of the of our partner (Thua Thien Hue Red Cross), the secondary school teachers, Garry Seghers (the IFSTA tutor) and our local staff, the course was ultimately carried out successfully!

Aside from providing knowledge on how to teach swimming, the course also provided the teachers with water rescue skills and knowledge, the ability to perform CPR to adults and children, and knowledge on how to make an open water location safe.

We would like to thank the STA and IFSTA for their support with this training course, as well as Thua Thien Hue Red Cross for their excellent preparation for the course.

We are now busy setting up all the locations for the programme to begin in a couple of weeks. Watch this space for more updates. In the meantime, here’s a couple of news stories that have picked up on this course already:

Qatar Tribune

Educare.News (Vietnamese)

Red Cross Vietnam (Vietnamese)