The group 25 students from National University of Singapore volunteered in Hai Duong from 10 to 24 December, 2017.
One of the most important tasks was to help the local worker at the construction site (building one kindergarten), with those work: moving bricks, sand and mortar from outside to constructing area. Also, they helped level the soil, clean the surrounding area to make everything in order and have a nice look.
Volunteers are leveling soil and arranging bricks
Other activities happened mainly in the central kindergarten which was about 1.5 km away from the contruction site. Here, they leveled sand in order to make a good foundation so that the school can build a football yard in the future. They helped carry soil from unneccessary places to the neccessary ones. December is quite cold, with unpredictable rain. Thus, whenever the weather was more favorable, the group painted several old statues in the playground and did gardening, including removing grasses and planting flowers. Sometimes, they even worked in the rain to make sure all work would be done as scheduled.
During two weeks, the whole group had some sections to make handmade toys for children to use for dancing in school’s break time.
They set one casual “nickname” for this activity, be it “making Pom Pom”.Even though this task was repeated, and not very exciting as the others, volunteers tried their best to finish about 300 Pom Poms (1 student need 1 Pom Pom).
(The photo was taken when our group are making "Pom Pom" )
Before coming to Vietnam, volunteers called donation to get some toys for children. They also prepare 300 kits of information on the importance of keeping good hygine to deliver to 4 and 5 year-old children. The group had 2 afternoons to play with children, and organize one carnival for them. They set up 5 stations with 5 different games for students to rotate to join. Children, teachers and the whole group had a lot of fun and laugh.
Before the group left, kindergarten organized one event not only to exchange culture but also say goodbyes to them. On that event, all Singaporean students together with some teachers wore Vietnamese costumes and performed traditional dances that they had practiced some days ago. They learnt very quickly and danced quite well. The group experienced some traditional games with students and teachers. It was fun! Furthermore, they did not forget to perform something that represented Singaporean features and cultures.
Volunteers playing games and having agroup photo in AoDai- traditional costume
Local villagers were very happy to receive the support of volunteers. They appreciated their effort and contibution to the work at the village. They are glad to welcome the next group coming to volunteer and exchange.The camp was a good chance for volunteers to experience the locals’ life and help the community. Despite of the cold weather, some differences in terms of living condition, langagues and culture, etc volunteers kept up high spirit and energy. Some of them shared that they felt like they made a real difference there, at the same time, they learnt more about Vietnamese culture and lifestyle.
In general, the program was successful when volunteers found the project worthwhile. They have gained a lot of expereriences and realized what are important to them, for example that they value more what they are having at home and how locals can live well in very simple living conditions. Above all, volunteers built up good connections with local people as well as children at the village. In the end, their expectations, which were helping villagers, experiencing local culture, challenging their limits and pursuing self-development were fully met.