What you did at Phuc Tue caring center?
I worked as a volunteer at the Phuc Tue caring center for 2 weeks. I was in a small class with only 5 kids. Although they were a bit older than kids – more like teenagers, but their mental level was like small kids due to their disabilities, such as severe autism. I did some creative activities with them, such as drawing and solving puzzles. Thus, there weren’t any toys to play with, so I bought pencils, painting books and puzzles. That s was a great success, as they loved to be activated with thing, which things they could solve.
What difficulties did you meet and how did you overcome them? What did you behave when you see something which is against your value?
I was very well prepared before signing up as a volunteer, as I have done similar volunteer work before. So, there wasn’t really anything at the care center, which I founded difficult or chocking. But if it’s the first time going abroad for volunteer work like this work, then I will say it’s very important to understand the Vietnamese culture and differences between western values and Vietnamese. There were times where I thought that the Vietnamese teachers were a bit too rough on the kids, so it’s important to be mental prepare for this culture differences.
Beside playing with the kids, I tried to communicate with the teacher in the class. Although the teacher didn’t spoke any English, I managed to have small dialogues through google translate. It helped me understand what the teacher wanted me to do.
What did you gain?
Memories for life. The kids were so sweet and really needed the love and attention, which I tried as much as I could, to give them. Working with autistic children and being part of “their world”, was really something of an experience.
What suggestions do you have for upcoming volunteers?
Have an open mind and be mental prepared for anything, and most of all accepting the culture differences.
The kids really need toys and activity things. It’s difficult to find that in Hanoi, so I will recommend bringing some from home. LEGO would be a huge success, as the kids can develop their skills by building different things out of the bricks, and LEGO don’t break. Pencils, drawing books, puzzle are also needed.