Monday, November 15, 2010

Xin Chao from Hanoi!

Thank you to all the volunteers who have participated in our Global Volunteers Vietnam Program. From September 2009 through September 2010, a total of 47 volunteers served on five teams. For each one, this was a most memorable service experience.

Hanoi is a vibrant city, full of history and contrasts, where the ancient and the modern co-exist side by side. The September team had the great privilege of partaking in the city’s 1000th anniversary celebrations! For ten days, the city “exploded” with a multitude of historic and cultural events, parades, performances , laser shows and fireworks while dedicating new bridges, theaters, and museums… For the volunteers who joined the proud Vietnamese people in celebrating this momentous event, it was a unique experience!

We have consolidated our relationships with our hosts in Hanoi:
Nguyen Binh Kheim High School (NBK) in a residential district where Mr. Hoa, the Principal of the School, and Mr. Hoa, the Head of the English Department, continue to look forward to welcoming our volunteers. Many of the English teachers – at first somewhat shy about working with our volunteers - have now become enthusiastic partners as they realize that they are learning a lot from the volunteers. The children enjoy showing their appreciation to their “teachers” and everyone is always sad on the last day of the service program! The evening “cross-cultural exchange” when older students come to the hotel to take the volunteers on a walk around the historic neighborhood continues to be a success. Foreign Trade University (FTU) has the reputation of being the best University in Hanoi, and is growing very fast. As more volunteers have been lecturing there, the English teachers have learned how to better integrate them into their programs. The students are respectful and appreciative of the opportunity to improve their conversation skills and have been engaging the volunteer teachers in meaningful exchanges. The volunteers on the last team there were invited by some of the students to tour some of the cultural sites around the city.

During the past year on the Vietnam Program, Global Volunteer’s contribution towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals are as follows: On Target 3 – To ensure education for both boys and girls to complete a full course of primary education, we contributed 1148 hours of conversational English and taught other subjects to over 2200 students.

Francoise Yohalem – a Volunteer Team Leader who had lead twice to Hanoi – looks forward to her next assignment there. She advises: “Hanoi is moving fast… unfortunately trying to catch up with Saigon. Go there before it changes too much! You will enjoy the charm, the quaintness, the historical and cultural sites, but, most of all, you will be touched by the kindness, sincerity, and generosity of the Vietnamese people.

Our hosts, community partners, teachers, children, and other Vietnamese whom you have taught or helped while there want to thank you for the help they have received and hope you will visit again. For those of you who cannot do another service program soon, please do continue your service as a sponsor through the Global Volunteers Child Sponsorship program or by telling others about your Vietnam experience as an Encore Team member. We welcome your support in any way. We need your help in our ongoing work in Vietnam.

- Stephen Raja Chinnappan,
Regional Manager – Oceanic Pacific, Asia and Africa