[Sunwah GYLN Canada] Our Continent from North to South 2019

From March 16th to 24th 2019, our Canada Chapter continued the Education Project, “Our Continent from North to South” in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with the aim to provide healthy environmental learning for underprivileged children in rural and isolated communities. We returned to the Boca de Tomatlan school, where our first visit took place. We followed up with progress and continued the refurbishment work of the library space. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Yelapa School Community, we began the second part of our project, focusing on the environmental health aspect, in the Primaria and Secundaria schools, located in a small village at Yelapa, Jalisco. We aimed to provide the essential hygienic supplies. The schools also had a huge need on general school supplies. Overall, we brought over 200 interactive English books, abundant school supplies and feature-rich laptops for the schools in Boca and Yelapa.

Since we were back from our visit from Boca de Tomatlan School in Puerto Vallarta last year, we have realized how big an influence we are capable of making in the children’s lives just by simply providing essential supplies and materials, as well as having the warm interactions with them. It was eye-opening to see the children‘s level of enthusiasm and how appreciative and grateful they were for our presence there. This confirmed the importance of visiting the local communities directly and showing the children love and care. This year, once again, we partnered with Isa Mundo Foundation (isamundo.org), a well-established non-profit organization based in Vancouver and Ottawa. After the last trip, our influence created exposure of GYLN’s work and received appreciation from the local community. Nearby schools located in Yelapa, a small fishing village southwest of Puerto Vallarta, would like to have us visit and support. The school community needs similar refurbishment work as the Boca school, and they are desperately in need of general school supplies. So, we decided to extend our project to support the schools in Yelapa.

Three months prior to the trip, we started planning with the local school teachers, Cynthia from Boca and Kelley from Yelapa. Between us, there were a lot of communications through emails such as discussing the direction of our project, estimating the budget, and organizing the logistics for the trip. We went all around Vancouver to gather donations of English books and purchase school supplies. In the end, we managed to gather five suitcases of books, school supplies and refurbished laptops to the schools.


Some of the donations collected

1. Boca de Tomatlan School

We were excited to be back at the Boca de Tomatlan School to continue the work on the library space from last year.

This year, we provided an air conditioner for the school library, as there has always been a strong need for this here. During summertime in Mexico, the heat and humidity become really intense and cause computers to break down on operating easily; which is complicated to fix later on. This has been a major problem that the school has to face. The new air conditioner resolves this issue and we can ensure that the laptops we brought will last longer.

We also funded a projector used for lessons and a printer for preparing handouts and notes for the students. We also provided brand new chairs and a medium sized chalkboard, as well as an extra bookshelf and a cabinet for books and supplies. Moreover, we brought over an English world map and Atlas for the classroom so Cynthia can incorporate them in her lessons.

Besides, we have brought over 100 English books as well as some Spanish books for the school during this visit. It was wonderful to see the storage cabinets we bought last year filled up with a variety of school supplies.


Setting up the laptops for the Class

We were very excited to see the students in the classroom filled with energy and full of smiles. We split the students into small groups for conversations and activities to reinforce their English writing and speaking skills. Although the students were all at beginner’s level, they were extremely friendly and welcoming. It was a heart-warming experience for both the students and us to reunite after one year.

We wanted to create something meaningful and long-lasting at the school and so we decided to start a wall mural activity with the students. After some discussions with the teacher, we agreed to create an environmental-themed mural, symbolizing everyone’s role in shaping and protecting our environment. The children were very enthusiastic about the activity and all took turns contributing to the painting. They loved to work with paint and showed their creativity in designing the mural. In the end, we were very proud of the mural. It added a warm and beautiful touch to the classroom.


Painting the Mural with the students

We had a few physical outdoor activities with the students and played soccer on their playground.

Through the experience of the games, we noticed a few things with the outdoor space needed to be improved. The playground is elevated from the ground. Since there was no fencing on the side, the soccer ball kept falling off the playground and the children would jump off constantly to catch the ball. It is dangerous as the height from the ground was quite high. Students might accidentally fall off from the playground while playing and injure themselves. Many of the outdoor spaces were made of huge loosen rocks and the students were constantly jumping around. We suggested that in the future, a project can be done to build a flat surface over the rocks, so the students have a safer space to go about.


 Saying goodbye to the students on the road

2. Yelapa School Community

Yelapa is a small fishing village by Puerto Vallarta, and it is only accessible by water taxi or private boats. The school community has four divisions: Kindergarten, Primaria, Secundaria and Prepa. Because of limited space, Secundaria and Prepa students share the same classrooms. We visited two campuses: Primaria and Secundaria/Prepa. The main objective was to improve the environmental health aspect of these two schools. For this visit, we began with providing basic hygienic supplies. We installed soap dispensers and toilet paper dispensers in the washrooms at both campuses. The students would be introduced to proper hand washing technique and habits to maintain personal hygiene. We also provided garbage cans for each classroom. Also, the water pump at the Primaria campus was broken down so there was no running water at the school. We planned to provide them the funding and resources to fix the pump. On the side, the printer at Secundaria school was not functioning and we started to look for a new printer for the school with supplies of paper and ink. The schools were also in need of books and general school supplies. We brought over 100 English books and many school supplies, including notebooks, pencils, markers, chalkboard erasers, crayons and much more.

When we arrived at the pier, Kelley was there to meet us. The roads in Yelapa were not well-developed and there were no cars for transportation. People got around by riding ATVs, horses or mules. We carried the luggage to Kelley’s English school called “Mi Escuilita”, and arranged an ATV to transport the luggage to the Secundaria school.


Loading the School Supplies to the ATV

We participated in the spring festival organized by the Primaria students on the beach. They were dressed up as different forest animals and insects, celebrating the coming of spring.


Meeting the “King” and “Queen” of the Spring Festival

We visited the Secundaria/Prepa school first. It was located deep in the village and we had a long walk up to the school. When we arrived at the school, we greeted the principal and she gave us a tour of the school. We went to the washrooms and checked our newly installed soap dispensers. We also discussed with the school principal and the teachers about their needs and potential future plans for the classrooms. 


We organized the books, school supplies and laptops.

There were three classes in total in Secundaria. For each class, we interacted with the students and explained the goal of GYLN and the work we did. They were curious about our involvement and some even wanted to join. We had a great time interacting with them, it was a nice experience to exchange ideas and experiences. Then, we distributed the books to individual students, and they were so happy to own an English book.


We also visited the Primaria campus and we carried the books and school supplies over to the school.

One of the challenges we faced was the uneven roads in the village, where it is difficult to drag and carry the luggage. On arrival, we introduced ourselves to the teachers and discussed the conditions and future plans for the school. Then, we started to assess the condition of the campus.

We visited the classrooms and the dining room, including a little kitchen for the teachers to cook. The teachers also washed their clothes in the same room and hung them outside to dry because there was not enough room in their small living space.


The space where the teachers washes the dishes and their clothes

We checked the washrooms and set up the soap dispensers.

For this school, we saw a lot of safety issues that should be addressed immediately. We were shocked to find that because the space was so limited two teachers were living inside a very small room whose ceiling was falling apart and may collapse at any moment. The living environment was dangerous and unpleasant, and thus the turnover rate of the teachers was quite high.

The pathway in front of the bathrooms of the school was elevated from the ground, without any safety protection. The teachers informed us that a lot of students got injured by accidentally falling offs. Ledges should be installed to ensure the safety of the students. Safety should always come first before education, so this is a high priority for the school. 


Discussing the Need of Fences/Ledges

3. Casa Connor

Casa Connor is a facility for the program called Pasitos de Luz (pasitosdeluz.org), a non-profit charity that provides care for children with disabilities from low income families in Banderas Bay, Mexico.

We volunteered at Casa Connor again, and we were happy to see all the children and staff again. This time, we also got to meet Peter and Teena, the founder of Casa Connor. From discussion with the owners and local staff, we knew that they were trying hard to fundraise for the program, because they provided the service for families for free and the cost to maintain the facilities was high. Hence, they were finding ways to lower the cost such as growing their own garden to self-sustain their food supply. Together with Isa Mundo Foundation, we donated a Vitamix Blender to the facility.


  Visiting the Children in physical therapy sessions

We helped feed the children.

Although this project trip went smoothly, we faced a few challenges. When we were planning the visit for Yelapa, there were many concerns regarding to the logistics: whether we could bring the heavy suitcases on the boat, how to get the suitcase on and off the boat at the pier, and the prices to include the suitcases. We made sure the suitcases were packed appropriately. In the end, we managed to bring three heavy suitcases filled with books and school supplies to Yelapa. It was also physically challenging to visit schools in Yelapa as some roads were very inclined and there was a lot of walking under the hot weather.

Overall, this was a productive and fulfilling experience for us. For Boca de Tomatlan School, we were amazed at how the library space was transformed from an unused storage space by the support of GYLN. For Yelapa, it was a wonderful experience to explore the village and visit the schools and the wonderful teachers and students. There is still so much work to do in Yelapa School Community. The washrooms need to be refurbished completely since plumbing does not work. There are safety issues at the Primaria school and installments of safety fences are required for some areas. The condition of the teachers’ homes is desperately in need to be improved. Most of all, they are always looking for donations of books and school supplies for the students. We will keep in contact with Kelley to continue our support for the schools.

We are so grateful to have the opportunity to provide a healthy learning environment for the students. The most inspiring moments were when the children showed us so much love. They were appreciative and thankful for everything. This showed us the importance of going back to connect with the local communities to show our love and support for the students.

We would like to thank all the donors who donated books and school supplies for this project, and also Cynthia and Kelley, the teachers in Boca and Yelapa for all their efforts in organizing and planning this trip with us. We also appreciate the sponsorship of flight ticket discount and checked baggage exemption from Air Transat. 

Once again, it was a successful partnership with Isa Mundo Foundation, and we look forward to continuing our collaborations to serve the communities more.

Sunwah GYLN International Summit 2018 in Canada

In the middle of August 2018, two members of GYLN HCMC Chapter, Yen – Vice Chairwoman of HCMC Chapter – and I had an interesting trip to Canada to participate in the “Canada International GYLN Summit 2018” organized by Sunwah Foundation.

The preparatory work had started several months before the Summit and I learned a lot from the way Sunwah Foundation organized the summit. Experiencing and working towards the summit made me eager to share my experiences with the HCMC Chapter and all my friends.

We were thoroughly informed about the other members, any changes or updates in the itinerary, and what should be prepared before the trip

This trip provided us with an opportunity to experience the international environment and expand our network with all GYLN chapters from Hong Kong, Macau, China, Japan, UK and Canada.

Moreover, we also had a great chance to understand various cultures, to see the Canadian perspective regarding diversity and to listen to the world’s leading entrepreneurs, academics and economists discussing a new global and regional business model.

Sunwah GYLN members and members of Peter Lougheed Leadership College of the University of Alberta had a good time exploring Edmonton

On August 19th, all GYLN members arrived in Edmonton. We started the first workday by presenting the annual GYLN Chapter’s report and sharing innovative ideas on tourism in our own country’s popular travel destinations. Ms Betty Chan, Executive Director of Sunwah Foundation, opened the first day with an inspiring message: “If you can’t do it, practice until you can do it. If you can do it, then practice until you can do it perfectly. If you can do it perfectly, then practice until you can do it perfectly every time” (Yuzuru Hanyu, two-time Olympic champion in Figure Skating). I just keep thinking about that quote and the way Ms Betty used it in order to encourage us to spend more efforts on our work.

Afterwards, we gradually listened to interesting and innovation ideas on developing tourism from different chapters. There were some chapters which used a mobile application to introduce and enhance the tourism experience. Personally, I was most impressed by the Japanese Chapter’s idea. They used an Anime Character as a cultural symbol to attract people’s attention and create a chance to introduce Japan. The idea is simple but practical!

Hong Kong Chapter and Japan Chapter presented their Innovative Ideas on Tourism projects

HCMC Chapter presented their idea about Son Doong – the largest natural cave in the world and the idea how we could improve tourism in the whole Caves-eco system (Quang Binh province), not just focus on the largest cave.

Yen (above) introduced interesting activities and training model of the GYLN HCMC Chapter through last year and Tuan (bottom) presented the Son Doong tourism project

In the afternoon there was time for cultural exchange activities. We visited to the Art Gallery of Alberta. They were exhibiting the oil paintings of a Canadian artist named James Wilson Morrice, from the 19th century along with several artworks from the local people.

On August 20th, all GYLN members joined in the Opening Ceremony of the Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Centre of Canada at Telus Centre. It was one of the most important events of our trip, marking the cooperation between Sunwah Group and the University of Alberta. More than 200 seats in the conference room were filled up during the Forum: “New Models for Building Global and Regional Business”.

Dr Choi delivered his keynote speech at the International Forum “New Models for Building Global and Regional Business – China & Beyond”

In this session, Dr Jonathan Choi, Chairman of Sunwah Group and Sunwah Foundation, mentioned of building a wall or roads in human history which aimed to mention about the consequence of the trade war that resulted from the United States versus global cooperation in general and cooperation between China and Canada in particular. In the end, there was a signing ceremony held for the collaboration between Sunwah Foundation and Peter Lougheed Leadership College for the College to be the Consultant Partner of GYLN.

University of Alberta President David H. Turpin, Chinese Consul General of Calgary Lu Xu and Dr Choi at the Opening Ceremony of the Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Centre of Canada

After the Opening Ceremony of the Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Centre of Canada, GYLN members and the visitors had some free time to explore the building as well as the Art Exhibition “Mountains and Water: Visions of the Land in Canada and China”. GYLN and the members of PLLC also had a chance to interact with Dr. Choi about leadership and the vision on developing a Canada Chapter. He emphasized that mutual understanding is the key to success in international exchange and collaboration in the global context.

Dr. Jonathan Choi talking to the GYLN members after the Opening Ceremony

The GYLN member from Hanoi Chapter listening to the story of Chinese painting

In the afternoon, we took part in the first part of a 3-day leadership training course organized by Peter Lougheed Leadership College (PLLC), an open discussion was held with all members about the topic of the International Forum in the morning.

GLYN members had a great time joining the Leadership training course by the PLLC

On August 21st, the second day of the training course came with a question of: “What is leadership?” and “what are characteristics of leadership?” For the answer of both questions, Dr Cristina Stasia, Director of Instruction, Peter Lougheed Leadership College used some photos for illustration. For me, the photo of Princess Diana shaking the hands of an AIDS patient said a lot of things. At that time, people had strong biases with that disease and when Diana shook the hand of an identified AIDS patient, she used her public platform to challenge that irrational fear. I learnt that a typical leader should be the pioneer to change the mindset of others, as well as to create a bridge to connect disadvantaged people to the community.

What I liked most during the afternoon class was a simulator discussion for hosting the Winter Olympics. We had to play a role as a national representative, and joined the negotiation table for hosting the Winter Olympic. Each person had a different purpose and had to argue for their own benefits. I strongly admired Tanisha, one of the PLLC students when she used her knowledge about Calgary to persuade the committee to vote for her country. To sum up, I think that leadership in the globalization era requires not only solid knowledge but also soft skills for penetrating cross-cultures, thereby creating understanding, sympathy and advantages in working with international partners.

Many interesting activities gave us a lot of chances to share ideas, emotions, perspectives and to know each other

On August 22nd, at the last class in PPLC training course, we studied how to find ideas for social projects and to run them effectively through 2 sample projects. One of them was a project aimed at funding leftover food from grocery stores to poor people run by UoA students. They developed a mobile application to help people to find food-donation stores easily. With that solution, the students could scale up their project faster and helped more people; it also made a positive impact on local people about the food waste issue. I realized that applying technology to social projects would raise the effectiveness of the operation and save a lot of time.

Afterwards, GYLN members were divided into 7 teams to plan a social project, which was then presented within 2 mins. Within the limited time, each team had tried to keep their ideas brief and express them clearly and understandably. Teachers would give feedbacks later and all members asked critical questions about those projects. It is a really good way to practice your presenting skills under high pressure. I also suppose that handling critical questions could point out drawbacks of the project and help to improve and complete it.

The course was completed when awards were given to the top 3 members with outstanding leadership qualities who were Tomohiro, Sharon and Liam. Later, Jocelyn was proposed by members to get the fourth award. In the afternoon, GYLN members experienced a local festival in downtown Edmonton and enjoyed a stand-up comedy show.

After 3 busy days training and studying in Edmonton, all GYLN members departed to Banff to observe the way Canadian people operate their tourism business and had some time to relax. The natural mountain atmosphere plus the stunning views there boosted us and gave us a shot of energy. Conquering the Tunnel mountain, going to restaurants with local cuisine and treating the body to the hot springs were such unique experience.

All members enjoyed the hiking very much

The next day, we visited Lake Louise, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful lake is surrounded by soaring mountain peaks which create majestic scenes similar to what you see in movies. I took a short adventure to the end of the lake, closed my eyes for a few minutes to immerse myself in nature. I felt that the country is peaceful and lovely.

All members of GYLN Vietnam Chapter (Hanoi and HCMC) and the international GYLN members at Lake Louise. The amazing beautiful landscape already took our breath away.

Time flew so fast and we had to say goodbye to each other. Many thanks to Sunwah Foundation for organizing and providing support during this trip. Thanks to the PLLC teachers for teaching us a lot of interesting lessons and thank all the GYLN members. I’ve learnt many amazing things from you all. See you again soon!

 

By Tuan Nguyen, Sunwah GYLN Ho Chi Minh City Chapter

_______________________________________

Letter from Alberta, Canada

Best place to find leadership and friendship

Following the last International Summit in Fukuoka 2016, GYLN members from all over the world gathered again in Alberta, Canada, from 18th to 25th of August.

There are 2 parts of learnings in this program.

1. Innovative Ideas on Tourism

Each chapter has brought an innovative idea about tourism (HK, Macau, China, UK, Canada, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Japan). Here are some examples from the presentation.

Cave Tour in Vietnam

The world’s biggest cave is located in the central part of Vietnam. That area with many caves was created 250 million years ago, and since then it has witnessed the long history of Vietnam.

In the ancient times, it was used as a holy place of Buddhism, but in 1960s, used as a military hospital in the Vietnam war. Now, the area is a symbol of peace and development.

Although that area was used by humans for centuries, the world’s largest cave was discovered by the locals in 1991. If you open the Lonely Planet of Vietnam, it should be found in the front page with beautiful pictures.

However, if you want to go inside that cave, you need to wait till 2020, and pay around $3000 for 5 days. Why so popular ? Why so limited ? Those questions are quite natural to be asked.

Our Vietnam chapter tried to answer that in the presentation.

Local Characters in Japan

Thinking of tourism, it is very easy to imagine great sceneries, mamusement parks or historical places. So what if your hometown needs tourists, with no such resources?

Japan chapter proved that those resources are not always necessary, using the example of tourism using local characters. 47 prefectures in Japan have their own unique characters. Also, some cities or even towns have their own.

Some of the characters are so famous that tourists are coming in order to take picture of the characters or buy some goods of them.

The popularity of local characters has come from a city. Japan chapter explained why a character of that city became famous from the interview with the city government.

One of the reasons is that characters are loved by every generation. Tourism is not only business, but also entertainment. If you think of tourism ideas, you should care about people.

The other reason is that cities and towns have cooperated together to attract more people to the character of each other. Sometimes they hold festivals to make local characters known to public.

We have found that touching people’s hearts is important for tourism.

2. Leadership

We have learned about leadership in the program. There are many styles of leadership, but they can be divided into 2.

The first one is leadership with authority. It is quite easy to think what leaders with authority are like. They have social status, or economic power to lead other people. In this case, you have to be elected or promoted inside communities.

The second one is leadership without authority. This kind of leadership is open to everyone. You do not need to wait to be elected or promoted. You have a chance to be a leader in everyday life.

However, it is not very easy to be a leader. Sometimes you need more courage to act like that. In our surroundings, there are many social problems which a lot of people are missing and which are waiting to be found.

Once you recognize the problem, knowing and acting are different. You may become nervous considering whether you should stick to it. Ignoring what you saw and just walking away look very comfortable. With your full courage, you can go one step forward to solve the problem.

In this situation, the existence of second leader is very important. If the second leader appears and he or she help you to act on it, then your activity can become a social movement and will attract more people.

We learned about leadership and followership through a lot of activities. Lastly, each chapters has come up with ideas and plans for the social service back in our hometowns.

Sunwah GYLN members’ visit to Banff National Park, Alberta

Overall, Canada is the best place to learn friendship also. Friendship is the foundation to be a leader or a follower. Classes in the daytime and communication with a glass of drinks in the nighttime were strongly connected inside our mind to become an international leader.

Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity. See you soon somewhere on earth.

 

By Tomohiro Matsushima, GYLN Japan Chapter

[Sunwah GYLN Canada] Our Continent from North to South

From March 21st to 27th 2018, our Canada Chapter has collaborated with the Boca de Tomatlan School in Mexico to provide a healthy learning environment for the underprivileged students. We have transformed an unused storage facility into a library by renovating the entire room with new painted walls, desks and bookshelves, and brought over 200 interactive books, feature-rich laptops, and abundant school supplies.

Our chapter had been brainstorming ideas on how we could support underprivileged children and communities. In November 2017, we made some connections with the founder of a well-established Canadian non-profit organization for children and youth around the world, named Isa Mundo (http://isamundo.org/). This organization has been supporting schools and communities in developing countries for more than 10 years and partnering with Canadian scouts group, Engineers Without Borders, Rotary International, etc. We – members of the GYLN Canada Chapter – were very much interested in assisting some of its projects in Mexico supporting schools in teaching, reconstruction, cultural sharing event. After discussions and with Sunwah Foundation’s sponsorship, this would be a great opportunity for us to extend the scope of helping local communities in Mexico, where resources were relatively less abundant than in Canada.

We were very glad that the Founder of Isa Mundo, Mr Paul Lorilla was willing to guide us. His experience in working with school education projects and communicating with local people has provided us a lot of learning opportunities. He suggested that the Boca de Tomatlan school in Puerto Vallarta – the only school in that area – needed a lot of resources and reconstruction for the establishment of a library. This was for the children to enhance their English literacy and explore the world through books. Thus, we decided to take this project and focus on interacting with the students so as to set up a library for the Boca school. We named it “Our Continent from North to South”, with a slogan of “Lending a hand, one step at a time” aiming at uniting people around us and helping the communities. The project has been carried out from March 21st to 27th, 2018.

The initial preparation of this project was not easy. We had quite a few meetings and email discussions with Paul and Cynthia for 2 months for planning the materials we needed for the library, as well as calculating the budget and organizing our accommodation and transportation. We also went around Vancouver City to gather children’s English books and school supplies together with refurbished laptops from Isa Mundo for the school.

Books and school supplies gathered by GYLN Canada Chapter for the Boca de Tomatlan School

When we checked-in at the airport, we had four large luggage pieces full of donated materials which exceeded the weight limit allowed. So we had to take out some of the books. In the end, we managed to bring more than 200 books and hundreds of school supplies.

Flashcards we made for teaching English vocabularies for the Boca de Tomatlan School’s children

Upon arriving at the school, we first went to see the room planned to be the library. Many essential items of a library such as adequate number of tables, bookshelves, books, fans, etc. were missing. Some of the chairs were also broken and woodchips were sticking out that could potentially hurt the passers-by. We also noticed that the lights were cracked, and the windows were not secured. The door was unable to close as it was not properly built. As we planned to bring laptops into this environment, one of our first tasks was to ensure that this room could be secured.

The room at the Boca de Tomatlan School planned to be the library

There would be a lot of work to renovate this area but we believed that this time we could at least achieve part of it.

Then we started moving the materials we purchased, and built the security cabinet for the laptops. It took quite a long time to do it.

GYLN Canada Chapter members built the security cabinet for the library

One book shelf was prepared and we put the books we brought on.

Then, we installed the tables we bought, the laptops we prepared and the chairs for the children in the library.

Sunwah GYLN Canada Chapter members were setting up tables, chairs and laptops for the library

We were very glad to have chances to interact with the children and it was a heart-warming experience. We visited the elementary students first, introducing ourselves and showing them pictures of us in Canada – where we were from. The children were excited and listened attentively to our stories.

Interaction session between Sunwah GYLN Canada Chapter members with the school’s children

Most of the children could communicate in English with limited vocabulary. We then separated them into groups for playing interactive games and teaching them some English words. We also got to know some of them at a closer level.

Additionally, we met the secondary school students who just learnt the concept of time in English and we played the game “What time is it, Mr Wolf?” to reinforce the words.

We made hand-prints on the banner

After arranging most of the books and laptops in the library, the children were very excited. They came in to read the books and try to use the computers.

After the work in Boca, we also visited Casa Connor (Pasitos de Luz, http://www.pasitosdeluz.org/) – a non-profit child-care center for disabled children from low-income families in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The children often suffered from acute physical and psychological illnesses and many were unable to access to the mainstream education system. The conditions of some children were quite severe that they could not move or eat by themselves. However, they were happy to see visitors and liked to take pictures. We talked to them and helped feeding them at lunch.

Sunwah GYLN Canada Chapter visited the children at the Casa Connor child-care center

The staff there also gave us a tour around the center and discussed what needs to be improved.

On behalf of GYLN Canada Chapter, we also made donations to Dasitos de Luz Child Sponsorship Fund for the children’s food and clothes.

All project participants together with the center’s staff and children

After this trip, we realized that our assistance could make a big difference to the schools and local communities. However, that was not enough. The library still needs more books and laptops as the school has about 100 children who would like to use the resources. We visited only one class and the laptops were not enough for the children. The library now contains valuable laptops and needs to be secured. Cynthia has been a volunteer for the school and she wishes that the school would be able to hire a part-time Spanish teacher to lead and manage the school program on their own. There is many more works that can be done to provide support for  the children so that they can continue with their educational goals.

Under Sunwah Foundation’s sponsorship, this was our first project in Mexico and we would like to thank Isa Mundo for the collaboration and guidance on this. The partnership went very well and we believe that we can continue to work together in the future to serve the communities better.

Kelvin Au (Canada Chapter)

[Sunwah GYLN HCMC] Dream Garden Project _ Phase 1

Description: The Dream Garden Project is the winner of last year’s internal project debate contest to become the main-SCA project of the HCMC chapter in 2017. The project aims at nurturing children’s mindset of loving and protecting the natural environment, at the same time, educating them about the ecosystem, biological system and gaining knowledge through hands-on experiencing sessions of tree planting and natural science experiments in the garden. Children also learn how to grow vegetables and later use them to improve their healthy diet.

Duration: The project has been implemented in 2.5 months (10 weeks), from late July 2017 to Mid-October 2017

Location:  Vinh Son Child Center, Binh Thanh District, HCMC, Vietnam

Target group: 35 children from 8 to 12 year old

Activities

Week 1:

– Every child chose a nickname and participated in activities.

– Show kids how to use terrestrial globe. Learning about solar system forming

– Kids play game “carnivore and herbivore”
Week 2-3:

– Learn about the food chain

– Get to know all kinds of climate and related habitats

– Learn about water cycle and energy

Week 4-5:

Decorate bottles for planting

– Learning how to grow plants

Week 6-7:

– Kids divided into 3 groups to plant seeds and put the soil into the designed bottles and wheels.

– Dye the flower to know how the root and the trunk for a tree, stem for flowers work.

Week 8-9:

– Do gardening together

– Clean the rooms and school yard

Week 10:

– Visit Vegi – an organic farm

– Play at Kiz citi – give gifts and notebooks with all wishes to the children.

Inspired by an idea of helping children learn about nature, “Dream Garden” project was planned and implemented by the GYLN HCMC Chapter. This social project aims at bringing opportunities for disadvantaged children to learn more about the ecosystem, environment and planting technique.

During the project, many challenges arose. The first challenge was that most orphanages in Ho Chi Minh City lack needed space for running the program, including teaching and practicing space. We had to spend more than 3 weeks on looking for the most suitable place. The chosen place was Vinh Son Orphanage located in the city suburbs. That is the charity school providing free education for more than 100 children aged from 7 to 12 who have not had opportunities to go to public school.

On the first day of the project, despite careful preparation, we had to confront some difficulties. We found it hard to deal with hyperactivity and the lack of general knowledge in most of those children. At that time, patience was the key we had to have. In the first two weeks, we tried to teach them some basic knowledge about biology combined with interesting learning activities in order to make the lessons easily understood. Our little students started to show more curiosity after each lesson, many questions were raised concentrating on knowledge such as the growth of the plants, food chains in nature, the energy cycle and so on. We also motivated them to engage in lessons by giving little gifts for hardworking individuals and preparing lunch for them every week.

With the vision to raise their awareness about the environment, we used recyclable and eco-friendly materials during the project. In practice time, children were encouraged to design their own pots from recyclable bottles. They showed their enthusiasm and great creativity when practicing. We divided the garden into two parts. One part was cultivated for vegetables planting. The other was used to plant bonsai trees. The previous abandoned land now became a colorful and lush garden built with love, dreams and hope of all participants.

The last lesson was not held at school as usual. We took the children to an organic farm in Tan Binh District to provide them with an opportunity to learn outdoors and engage with nature. They were instructed to distinguish various kinds of vegetables, seeding, using organic fertilizers, watching nursery garden, observing sprinkler system. In the afternoon, we went to Kiz Citi – an entertainment center associated with vocational education for youngsters. They enjoyed the games available in the center. Then, the project team summarized the whole program, complemented those who had good improvement, gave presents and took a lot of photos.

The project was implemented in two months, including 16 lessons relating to the ecosystem, environment and planting techniques and 8 planting activities. The garden was created with 6 various kinds of vegetables and 12 kinds of bonsai. During the project, we received many positive feedback from the headmaster and children at the orphanage as well as the teaching staff. Especially, there is one autistic child who participated in our project. His parents shared that they took their child to many hospitals and disabled centers in town, but his condition did not improve. After participating in the Dream Garden project, he showed signs of being open with his family members and being more sociable and friendly to make friends.

We will attach the importance of improving so that our lessons will provoke the curiosity of children more and more. In the next stage, the target is to bring this project to more 250 kids in HCMC. Moreover, we hope that our dedication will contribute a better future to a young generation.

Photos

Teaching

Painting bottles

Gardening

Field trip

Anh Tuan [HCMC Chapter]

[Sunwah GYLN Hanoi & HCMC] The Opening Ceremony of OneSky Early Learning Center Danang, Vietnam

About OneSky

Half the Sky (now OneSky) was founded by Jenny Bowen in 1998 to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. Today, Half the Sky has become OneSky, a global NGO that has transformed the lives of many thousands of marginalized children and helped a nation to rethink its entire child welfare system. OneSky has directly transformed the lives of more than 138,000 orphaned and abandoned children and trained over 19,000 caregivers. After 18 years of working to understand the best way to give orphaned and abandoned children a second chance during their childhood, OneSky is taking what they have learned and expanded their mission to help children of factory workers in Vietnam.

About OneSky Early Learning Center

OneSky Early Learning Center Danang is a new and sustainable model center which aims at approximately 250 at-risk children who live in the Hoa Khanh Industrial Zone in Da Nang to provide a safe place to play and learn for small children. The center is designed to transform the lives of vulnerable children near factory zones whose parents labor in factories. This model can be scaled to serve more and more children across the entire country.

Date: 9 September 2017

Venue:  OneSky Early Learning Center, Le Cong Kieu Street, Hoa Khanh Bac Commune, Lien Chieu District, Danang, Vietnam

Participants: Government officials, representatives from local authority, parents who labor in factories and children

Rundown

7:45am: Registration & Welcome performance

8:15am: Ceremony starts

8:25am: Speech by a representative from the People’s Committee of Danang

8:35am: Speech by a representative from the Department of Education and Training of Danang

8:50am: Speech by the Global Chairman of Half the Sky Foundation

9:00am: Speech by the Consul General of the United States Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City

9:10am: Speech by a representative from factories

9:20am: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

9:35am: Lion dance performance

10:30am: Opening of OneSky Early Learning Center Danang

10:40am: Guests visiting the Center

Thoughts by Phan Tuong Yen and Tran Thi Thanh Huong, representatives of Sunwah GYLN – HCMC and Hanoi Chapters

On 9 September 2017, Ms Katie Nguyen, Assistant to Sunwah Chairman, and two representatives of Sunwah GYLN Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Chapters, Ms. Tran Thi Thanh Huong and Ms. Phan Tuong Yen, attended the Opening Ceremony of OneSky Early Learning Center in Danang.

The Ceremony was conducted in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Attendees were strongly impressed by the choir of nurses/ teachers and children of the center. Everyone was so excited to see this wonderful place providing early learning and care for vulnerable young children of the poor factory workers.

After the ceremony, the GYLN representatives paid a visit to the center which is effectively designed to utilize natural lights and maximize the space usage for facilities and leave sufficient room for a children’s playground. Children at the Center were very nice and so adorable; they behaved very well and always greeted teachers and adults with smiles.

Mrs. Mary Tarnowka, United States Consul General in HCMC, delivered a speech

There, we had a chance to meet and talk with Ms. Carol Kemble, Chief of Global Partnerships of Half the Sky Foundation. Ms. Carol Kemble was so impressed and excited to listen to our sharing about Sunwah GYLN and its 9 chapters at all corners of the world, especially the HCMC and Hanoi Chapters, with the projects that have been conducted such as Social Services Days in 2013 and 2015, the Photo Contest & Exhibition for students across Vietnam in 2015, GYLN-HCMC Chapter’s latest project namely “Dream Garden”, and especially the project to build kindergarten in mountainous areas done by Sunwah some years ago. Ms. Carol Kemble also shared many wonderful thoughts and stories about creating positive values and spreading those values to the community, about the responsibility of everyone in the society. We were really inspired by this spirit.

The Guests of Honor and the children of the OneSky Early Learning Center performed “We are the world” song

Not only talking with Ms. Carol Kemble, the Sunwah team also had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Guy Russo, Global Chairman of Half the Sky Foundation and Ms. Natalie Campion, Chief Development Officer of Half the Sky Foundation. Mr. Guy Russo was interested in and very impressed at the projects on children and youth that Sunwah GYLN has done over the years. He shared the reason why OneSky has developed and implemented nurture and education programs that help to change the lives of vulnerable children. The Sunwah GYLN representatives also talked about its mission to exercise community activities and suggested the possibility of collaborating with OneSky on future projects, especially those involving children and youth. The conversation was extremely interesting and opened opportunities for potential cooperation between the two sides.

Mr. Guy Russo, OneSky Foundation Board Chair, delivered a speech

After the Danang trip, we were very impressed at the organization of the Opening Ceremony which was simple but effective and touching. We found out that the OneSky organization has many projects on early education and education for children with special needs. Moreover, they have a quick approach to arrive at projects providing daycare for children of workers in industrial zones – which is in high demand but not yet much in existence in Vietnam. Additionally, we were inspired and learnt a lot how they turned their ideas into a project and implemented it effectively. We will share our experience with our fellows in Sunwah GYLN.

Guests at Honor at the Ribbon-cutting Ceremony

The OneSky Early Learning Center

Tran Thi Thanh Huong (GYLN Hanoi) & Phan Tuong Yen (GYLN HCMC)

 

 

 

 

[China Chapter, Hong Kong Chapter, United Kingdom Chapter] Field visit to the Fuyang AIDS Orphan Salvation Association, Fuyang, Anhui

FIELD VISIT TO THE ASSOCIATION 

Background of the association

“Blood-selling” was one of the main causes to the Anhui Province HIV epidemic among underprivileged agricultural workers in the end of last century. Facing the challenge of little prevention, undereducation and restricted access to antiretroviral treatment, the outbreak brought a high prevalence of mother-to-child transmission, as well as death, to the Province.

The Fuyang Aids Orphan Salvation Association (AOS) began its work by providing HIV-positive children with physical examinations in Beijing and securing pediatric anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment. In the course of one year, over 100 children looked to AOS for support, and now support is given to over 600 children and their relatives and families. The total scope of the support extends to over 6,000 people. Of the 600 children affected by HIV/AIDS, around 25 children are infected with HIV/AIDS. The majority of AOS children do not have HIV/AIDS, but are “affected” by HIV/AIDS, meaning they come from families where either one or both parents are infected by HIV/AIDS. The AOS children come from 300 separate families and over 40 different villages throughout Fuyang and Henan province.

This research aims to understand the challenges and services needs of the children receiving support from the AOS along their growth.

Details of the field visit

The two-days visit was co-organized by the Beijing Chapter, Hong Kong Chapter and United Kingdom Chapter of the Sunwah Global Young Leaders Networks (GYLN).

Day One (27th May 2017)

After our arrival to Fuyang in the morning, we paid a visit to AOS’s Director Zhang Ying’s house. Director Zhang is currently taking care of 5 AIDS orphans. One of them was sent to Beijing for medication at the time of our visit. During the visit, we had an enjoyable conversation with the children, and gained understandings on their lives.

We also visited the office site of AOS and met the workers there. A meeting was held afterwards to prepare the events and investigations on Day Two.

Day Two (28th May 2017)

We spent the morning in center to play games with the children and understand their background. Since some of them are living in the villages away from the city center, it took some hours for them to travel to the AOS center. To build trust and relationship with the children, we had prepared group activities and drawings together with the children. Following the group activities, the scheduled survey was conducted with the children.

In the afternoon, we paid two home visits to the orphans living in Lixin County. Firstly, we went to the home of boy Dai. Dai is living with his grandma and little sister, while his parents are both out of work. The second family we visited was the Wu. In the evening, we caught up with Gao, one of the kids staying in Director Zhang’s house, in the train station, and returned to Beijing afterwards.

Ice-breaking games with the HIV affected children and group photo with the HIV affected children

METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS OF THE IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS 

Interviews with workers in the association

Director Zhang is the founding director and person-in-charge of the AOS. In the previous decade, she has devoted herself to sponsor the children affected by the HIV epidemic in Anhui.

Currently, there are 7 staff working in the AOS. They are responsible for the disease control and prevention among those affected children and adolescents. Wang, one of the previous service recipient in AOS, is now working in AOS as fulltime staff. Her parents died because of HIV infection when she and her 2 siblings were young. Fortunately, three of them are free of the virus. From her sharing, we understood that the children would gather and do homework in AOS office during weekends. She also shared with us the situations of the children. One of the service-receiving children, who is now 16, was a drop-out from school since primary one. Some other children were reported to have dropped out from school due to financial difficulties. From this information, we learn that the HIV status poses more harm to children’s education in grassroot, which require more support and service.

Scheduled survey with the HIV affected children

Home visits and interviews with the HIV affected children

Lixin County is 2-hours ride away from Fuyang, where the AOS office is in. We paid visit to two of the HIV affected families there.

Dai is a 16-year-old boy living in the County, who is living with his grandmother and little sisters. He and his family live in an old, 2-floor house built in concrete. The hygiene environment was unfavorable and there were flies around. His little sister, instead of staying indoor, was playing on the muddy floor. His parents were infected with HIV through ‘blood selling’ in the early 2000, and were not diagnosed until giving birth to the two children. Two of the three children were infected with HIV from their mother, while the youngest daughter, although was not HIV positive, was diagnosed with meningitis and therefore cognitively impaired. The scarce farmland in the village makes it impossible to rely on income from agriculture. To earn more income, the parents are working in the city and could not afford to meet once a year. Despite all the hard work of the adults, the financial burden of the family still put strains on the next generation. As a result, Dai only managed to finish his primary school study.

Another girl, Wu, is living with her mother in the house nearby. Her mother was infected by HIV a decade before from ‘blood selling’, and transmitted the virus to her daughter. Since the diagnoses of the Wu’ HIV status, the father of Wu divorced with his wife and left the family. The elder brother of Wu, therefore, chose to work in Nanjing and beared the family responsibilities. Currently, the family could barely make a living with the financial subsidy from the Government, and AOS, and the payment from part- time jobs. However, the family is now in debt for the house renovation in preparation for the elder brother’s wedding. The financial burden is heavily bothering their lives and poses damage to their quality of life. Also, the limited promotion on anti- stigmatization, little education and mental support to the children living with HIV, make Wu an introverted girl, worrying of her HIV status being exposed.

 Home visit 

METHODOLOGY AND RESULTS FOR THE SURVEY

Twenty-three responses from the HIV infected children were collected from the AOS. Among them, 14 (60.9%) of them were female. The mean age was 14.3 years old, with an expected education level to secondary 4; however, their average education level was only up to primary 4. Six of them (26.1%) lived with both of their parents, 10 of them were living in single parent family (43.5%), while the others are living with other family members (N=3, 13.0%) and with Director Zhang (N=4, 17.4%). 14 children (60.9%) were not given any pocket money.

In terms of medication seeking, only 4 of the interviewees (17.4%) found problem with access to medication. However, 13 children (56.5%) felt to be stigmatized during hospital visit. Their mental health was assessed with The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). From the results, 7 children (30.4%) reported to have depressive mood, while 3 (13.0%) had higher tendency of having minor depression.

The results indicate that more support should be put on the anti-stigmatization in healthcare institute and the mental support on children living with HIV.

INSIGHTS 

Since 2003, AOS has been providing medication to the children living with HIV. However, as informed by our study findings, we realize that the services needs of HIV affected children are now for education, and mental support.

With reference to our study findings, we made the following suggestions:

1. Classify the level of emergency to support services as if:

Level of emergency to support services

Criteria

 

 

Level I

○ HIV positive children and adolescent

○ Children who discontinue their study

○ Children who are affected by the financial burden of their family due to the HIV epidemic, regardless of their own HIV status

 

 

Level II

○ Children who are not infected by HIV, however, are suffering from physical or mental disabilities

○ Children who are not infected by HIV, however, are not empowered with life- sustaining skills or abilities

Regarding the above classification system, GYLN members will form support groups and design care plan for these children enlisted in Level I. For instance, in supporting the children living with HIV, counselling and emotional support will be provided with the aid from professional consultants; while for children who are suitable for education, assistance could be provided to support their continuation of education.

For the children classified to be in Level II, support should be given on one-on-one or one-on-several scale. For the adolescent who have discontinue to go to school, support should be given in order to support their study in technical schools.

2. Explore future opportunity to work with AOS and provide necessary support to the functioning of the Currently, AOS is working with Smart Education to provide training on drawing to the service receiving children, so as to support the future development of the children.

3. Sunwah Foundation may consider establishing a fund to support the children affected by the HIV epidemic in China.

Chang Shuai [China Chapter]

[Sunwah GYLN Cambodia] The smile of the children in rural community pre-school

On 30th July, 2017, Sunwah GYLN Cambodia Chapter had visited to Tropiang Krosang Community Pre-school in Kompong Speu Province, about 65km from Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. This community pre-school is providing the pre-school education to around sixty 4~6-year-old children in Tropiang Krosang village by a 60-year-old teacher.

In the early morning, eight of Sunwah GYLN Cambodia Chapter members and volunteers had departed from Phnom Penh, and spent nearly three hours to reach the community school, since the access road to that village was in bad condition in this rainy season.

When we arrived the school, those children were very happy, and warmly welcomed us. Our team started playing many games with them, like coloring the pictures, counting numbers/consonants/vowels reversely, jigsaw puzzle etc., we felt so impressed with their ability that is almost as strong as the ability of grade one or grade two primary school students. After interacting with them about two hours, we finished our event by delivering them some studying materials and snacks, and taking many group pictures happily. Finally, the authority, teacher, and students had expressed their gratitude to our team and Sunwah Foundation for organizing this event, and they also invited us to visit them next time.

Through this event, GYLN members and volunteers understood more about the studying situation of these children, and we could see their smile and happiness when our members were playing with them and providing them many materials. We hope we could have another chance to visit them again, and we hope Sunwah GYLN can do more meaningful events for other disadvantaged groups. Meanwhile, we will try to build up our GYLN Cambodia Chapter team with creative and committed youths.

Nita Lon [Cambodia Chapter]

[Sunwah GYLN Hanoi] Raising awareness of fighting human trafficking “Broken Puzzles” – The interactive puppet theatre

Date & Time: 16:00 – 18:00, 30th July 2017 (World Day against Trafficking in Persons)

Venue: 1st floor, ULIS – Jonathan KS Choi Culture Center, 144 Xuan Thuy, Cau Giay Dist., Hanoi

Human trafficking is one of the acute issues that many countries have been coping with. Considerably, Vietnam is primarily a source country for women and children trafficked for commercial, sexual exploitation and forced labor. In order to fight against this inhuman behavior, it is urgent that everyone jointly take action, especially the young people who are communication ambassadors, contribute and play a far more important role than others.

Core team members of “Broken Puzzles”

Awareness of this issue motivated Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter members to launch a project regarding human trafficking. To exactly reflect the situation of this matter, Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter co-operated with Hagar Vietnam to run an interactive puppet theatre performance which aimed at raising awareness of anti-human trafficking. The performance was named “Broken Puzzles”, held on the 30th July 2017 – precisely on the World Day against trafficking in persons.

Hagar, an international non-government organization, established in 1994 and registered in Switzerland, provides individualized and long-term support to women and children survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual abuse. In Vietnam, Hagar’s important partners are government agencies such as the National Child Helpline under the Department of Childcare and Protection, Social Work Centers in the provincial Departments of Social Protection (under the Ministry of Labor-Invalids and Social Affairs); non-government organizations and social enterprises including Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, Tea Talk & CoRE, REACH, etc. In particular, Hagar Vietnam is a long-time partner of Vietnam Women’s Union, a government body that operates throughout Vietnam at four administrative levels including central, provincial, district and commune ones with a total membership of above 13 million women and is mandated to protect women’s legitimate rights and strive for gender equality. At present, Hagar is partnering with the Yen Bai provincial Women’s Union on a project to provide support to survivors of human trafficking, violence and abuse.

The first day of training session about the basics of human trafficking

All core team members of this project came from the Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter. They were provided with two days of training by Hagar Vietnam to gain human trafficking basics and understand more about behavior change communication. The trainings took place at the meeting room on the third floor of the ULIS-Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Centre. During these trainings, there were various activities designed such as situation analysis, problem solving, team work and presentation about all issues related to human trafficking.

Small group discussion on the second training day about behavior change communication

“Anyone of us could be a victim or accidentally become part of human trafficking” is the message that Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter would like to send to everyone through the project named “Broken Puzzles”. It was conveyed via an interactive puppet theater to provide an insight into the human trafficking to the audience in a new approach, hence raising awareness of preventing human trafficking, as well as strengthening the role of the arts in propaganda. All of the core team members of Broken Puzzles were trained and guided on the technical requirements of controlling the puppets by Ms Pham Trang My Linh, an artist who graduated with Bachelor of Arts Theatre and Film making at Sarah Lawrence College.

The rehearsal of the puppet theatre

The puppets of “Broken Puzzles”

During two months of running Broken Puzzles, in order to spread out the information about this project, as well as raise awareness of human trafficking for everyone via social media, all of the Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter members actively made a creative and detailed communication plan through various activities such as making a video about the Vietnamese students’ knowledge of human trafficking, drawing a picture diary telling a story of a human trafficking survivor, collecting internet infographics and videos regarding this issue, etc.

“Where is the exit for the broken puzzles?” was drawn by a core team member of “Broken Puzzles”

After two months of hard work, the interactive puppet theatre’s program was officially launched at the Conference hall on the first floor of the ULIS-Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Centre on the occasion of celebrating the World Day against human trafficking, 30th July 2017. The performance attracted lots of audience from various universities, organizations and local community. It also honorably welcomed the attendance of Mr. Tim Galvin, Immigration Liaison Manager of Migration Section in British Embassy in Vietnam.

The audience of the interactive puppet theatre “Broken Puzzles”

At the beginning of “Broken Puzzles”, in order to help the audiences shape a view of this event, the representatives of Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter and Hagar Vietnam delivered brief introductions about their own organizations and the objectives of this project, as well as the outline of “Broken Puzzles”. In particular, Hagar Vietnam emphasized the importance of the contribution of young people in fighting human trafficking and highly recognized the passion, commitment, creativity and proactivity of core team members of Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter in this project.

The representatives of Hagar Vietnam (left) & Sunwah GYLN Hanoi (right) delivered their speeches

Following the speeches of the representatives of Hagar Vietnam and Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter was the main part of the event: the interactive puppet theatre performance.

The official performance of “Broken Puzzles”

As the name suggests, the story in the performance was open-ended to get the audiences to involve themselves in an interacting session in which they could use their knowledge of human trafficking and use the puppets to complete the unfinished story and give it a creative end.

The interactive session of “Broken Puzzles”

On top of that, the audiences attending the event were in high spirit to listen to true stories shared by Ms Nguyen Thu Huong, an insider of Hagar Vietnam who has been working directly with human trafficking survivors, and to watch a video showing the current status of human trafficking in the world. They also got a chance to express their perspectives and raise questions to discuss with her. “Broken Puzzles” provided an optimal opportunity for the audience to gain useful knowledge about human trafficking in order to protect themselves and the people around them.

The Discussion session between the audience and the insider of Hagar Vietnam

Noticeably, the project captured the attention of various Vietnamese social media channels and was broadcasted on various TV channels such as VTV1, VTV3, VTV4, VTV6, Vietnam news, QPVN. Following are the links of the news for more details:

  1. VTV1 (24 hours Movement) – Vietnamese: https://youtu.be/TmoswpGPZCA
  2. VTV3 (Morning coffee with VTV3) – Vietnamese: https://www.facebook.com/cafesangvoivtv3/videos/1992801440954570/?fref=mentions
  3. VTV4 (News at 9pm) – Vietnamese: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYPiSDEOq7k&feature=youtu.be&t=14m17s
  4. VTV6 (Dòng thời cuộc) – Vietnamese: http://vtv.vn/video/dong-thoi-cuoc-01-8-2017-237425.htm (15:00 – 15:16)
  5. Vietnam news (Domestic news) – Vietnamese: http://vnews.gov.vn/nhung-manh-vo-kich-roi-tuong-tac-ve-phong-chong-mua-ban-nguoi
  6. QPVN (National Defense News) – Vietnamese: https://youtu.be/RChSvGPCJus

Joy Nguyen (Hanoi Chapter)

[Sunwah GYLN HCMC] Social services projects from early – mid 2017

  • The visits to Dieu Giac Pagoda Orphanage Center (18 Jan and 5 Feb 2017)

The Sunwah GYLN Ho Chi Minh City Chapter paid two visits to the Dieu Giac Orphanage on the 18 January and the 5 February 2017. The Orphanage is the home for over 100 children ranging from preschool age to over 18. Through conversations with the nuns here, we understood more about the children’s lives and circumstances, as well as what they need both physically, mentally and emotionally.

In order to help these children to have a more cheerful Tet Holiday, on the 18 January 2017, our members of Sunwah GYLN HCMC Chapter had gathered and organized play groups for children and decorated the orphanage to welcome the Holiday. We also joined hands with the nuns of the orphanage to cook the traditional “chung” cake and delivered 240 gifts set (including clothes and sandals) for the children.

On 5 February 2017, we organized another visit to the Orphanage to deliver and present some bookshelves and books sponsored by Sunwah Foundation (about 100 books) to the children.

The nun at the Pagoda center asked us to convey her sincere thanks to Sunwah Foundation and GYLN for having organized meaningful activities and sponsored the children at the center. The visit and delivery of gifts (including sandals for the children to go to school, and pretty clothes) took place in a very cheerful, exciting and meaningful manner. During the visit, the GYLN members also showed their skillfulness at guiding the children to decorate their common living area and make their own handmade cards and calendars for Tet holidays together with the children.

12 GYLN members and more than 50 children at the Dieu Giac Orphanage had a lovely evening together. After the delivery of the gifts, we played games, decorated the kitchen with the kids and listened to their stories. Through these activities, GYLN members could understand more about these children’s daily life as well as their thoughts, their problems and saw how they support each other to create a “Home” with a lot of love and caring despite their own circumstances. Not only did these kids feel happy but also GYLN members learned so many things after the visit. We would like to do more things for these kids, as well as for other disadvantaged groups. Just seeing these children’s happy smiles truly warms our hearts for the rest of the day.

(2) The loving porridge (10 and 11 June 2017)

On 10 and 11 June 2017, Sunwah GYLN – HCMC Chapter members cooked and delivered free porridge to patients in Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital. We prepared ingredients and cooked porridge for 5 hours on 10 June. It was a bit difficult at the beginning, but within a short time, we made ourselves acquainted with the process.

We delivered the porridge to the Oncology Hospital in the morning of 11 June 2017. Although that time was still early, many people had already been there to receive us. Most of the patients are elderly who are suffering from serious health problems, living in difficult conditions and some are even unemployed.

“I have been here for 2 months to do medical treatment for the goiter. My children live far away from here, so I have to take care of myself. I don’t have much money. Thanks to you, today I don’t need to worry about my breakfast”, an elderly woman said.

Finally, we completed our plan to bring more than 500 packs of porridge to the patients within approximately 2 hours. We became more aware of the youth’s responsibility to society and committed ourselves to dedicate as much as possible to help people.

Anh Khoa (HCMC Chapter)

[Sunwah GYLN Canada] VR Exploring Event VRDEVEDU

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been a hot topic being discussed a lot in these two years. As a GYLN member and having background in software technology, I brought up the idea of exposing this new technology to more young people and accelerating the social progress in terms of technology. After the discussion with the members of Canada chapter, they agreed that this would be an interesting idea, and so we started planning and proposed it to Ms. Betty Chan, and then she approved it.

First thing we needed to decide was the instructor. One of us knew an instructor, Mr. Andy Chen, who had been teaching people on building apps. We contacted him and he showed us how many VR apps he had made already. We were confident that he could be our instructor for this event, and he agreed to do this with us at a low cost after we explained to him it’s a non-profit free event for people. There should also be some teacher assistants (TAs) walking around and guiding the students step-by-step, while the instructor was teaching on the stage. Jesse, Jack, and I, who all studied computer, tried to build the demo app and became the TAs.

Besides learning to make the app, we also visited multiple locations for a suitable venue to teach and accommodate people with lots of chairs and tables for the computers. Eventually we chose SFU Harbour Center located in Downtown Vancouver because of its convenient location and available time. After we settled down the venue and date, and decided the name of the event – VRDEVEDU (VR Development Education), we started the promotion on Facebook, WeChat, and Eventbrite. We found out that Facebook was the best media to spread the news and present the details to the public. Our tickets were all sold out on Eventbrite within a few days. We should follow this promotion approach for future events too.

On the event date, there were about 60 people came. Most of them did not have experience in software development, and we the TAs were running around to guide them on every step.

Most of the participants had never tried any VR app before. We invited two companies who had been doing VR related businesses to come and demonstrate the advance usage.

This was our first event of Canada Chapter. We introduced to the participants about GYLN, and they were amazed that the event was organized by a group of young GYLN members. Some of them even helped out in this event and wanted to involve in planning future events with us together. We recruited some members through this, and they were already suggesting some meaningful ideas to do.

Kelvin Au (Canada Chapter)