[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


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.



Painting bottles


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


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


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


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 


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.


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




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)

[Sunwah GYLN Japan] Sharing about the trip in Kyushu, Japan

While people in many countries were busy with “trick-or-treat” during Halloween, four members from Japan (Tokyo) Chapter, Tomo, Taiki, Peace, and I, participated in the Kyushu International Gathering trip 2016. It was the very first gathering to be held in Japan, and we were excited to have all of the chapter members flying all the way from their countries to ours. Unfortunately, most of the members were not familiar with the region, so it would not be as successful as it was without Sunwah Foundation and the generous dedication of Kyushu chapter. In this regard, I would like to also thank Ms. Betty Chan, Executive Director of Sunwah Foundation, and all the staff of Sunwah Foundation for organizing such an event and especially Dr. Choi for always giving us enormous opportunities to go beyond our comfort zone. Here, I would like to tell you about the trip and what I learnt from the trip by comparing this conference with the previous one in Hanoi.

On Oct. 29th, most of the members arrived at the Fukuoka International Airport. On the first day of this gathering, members went to one of the famous shrines in the region, Dazaifu Tenmangu. Then, they went to a museum to see how Fukuoka prospered over the years. At night, they went to the city for a little sightseeing. Unfortunately, I was not able to join them for this eventful day, but when I got to the dorm very late at night I could see that members had already been getting so close to each other.

Oct. 30th was the day full of discussions on future leaders. In the beginning, five chapters gave presentations about what they have done in the past year. The scheduled speakers were three, but Angel from Macau Chapter and I felt the need to also explain what we had done, so just 9 hours before the presentation, we had decided to prepare ours as well. I guess you could imagine how much coffee we needed to drink in the next morning. The following morning session started with Ms Betty Chan’s introduction. As always her style is “short and sharp”, it did not take long before the baton was passed to the members to start presentations. All of the chapters were well prepared; especially members of the Hanoi Chapter and Ho Chi Minh Chapter were great in a way that other chapters had so much to learn from their well structured and organized model. Later, we discussed about “Global Citizenship”. How can we be one? The conclusion we had was to understand other cultures and nationalities, while keep your own intact and well complimented. This was a challenging topic because at the end we realized it took time to accept and understand others especially if you were in the environment where everyone else had different background and values. Thus, we had a lecture by Prof. Gordon Houlden, a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing and current professor of University of Alberta, Canada. He shared his experience living in Asia and how he became one of the Global Citizens. There was a lot to learn, and also some challenging questions were asked from the floor. After that, we had the Welcome Dinner with the governor of Fukuoka together with many more leaders from different fields.


On Oct. 31st, we had a ceremony at Kyushu University and a memorial conference about Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the well-known Chinese revolutionary as well as the first President of the Republic of China. We celebrated the ground breaking ceremony of the Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Center located in Ito Campus, Kyushu University. Then, various scholars around the world gathered to discuss about Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. I was amazed to learn how much influence he had, not only in China and Japan, but also in other Asian countries and all over the world.

On Nov. 1st, we had another conference to commemorate Dr Sun Yat-sen’s 150th anniversary of birthday in the city of Fukuoka which is “Conference on Kyushu as a Frontier of Asia Pacific Cooperation”. In the afternoon, we had some free time to go sightseeing, so we went to the Fukuoka city museum and it was already time to say goodbye.


This was my second time to join Sunwah Foundation’s international gathering as a member of Japan Chapter and this time it was my great honor to welcome members from other chapters to my country. When I think about the term “Leader” there is a moment I feel that what we can do as individuals might not have that much influence to the world. However, this conference made me realize that if we do not do anything or not try to understand others nothing will change. Whenever I am in the community of Sunwah Foundation, I feel that we, as a group of future leaders, do accept the difference of individual uniqueness and this is certainly a leap to the next generation instead of grouping up people in a category and see them through the lens of stereotypes. I am glad to be a member of this Foundation, making connections around the world will gradually break those lenses and eventually each one of us will spread a positive change to the society.

Akari Hirata (Japan Chapter)


Sunwah GYLN International Summit (30 Oct – 1 Nov 2016)


A. GYLN Internal Discussion Session 

Venue: Ito Campus, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

Date: 30 October 2016

Time: 09:00 – 16:30

  • Ms Betty Chan, Executive Director of Sunwah Foundation to introduce new development for the Global Young Leaders Network, including Sunwah’s support for business start-ups business by members.
  • Presentations by Chapter representatives on their activities during the past year and what members have learned from organization of events.
  • Group discussions on global citizenship: What is global citizenship? What are the challenges? How to develop?

B. GYLN Exchange Session with Prof Gordon Houlden, Director of China Institute, University of Alberta

Venue: The New Otani Hotel, Fukuoka, Japan

Date: 30 October 2016

Time: 17:30 – 18:45

Topic: How to develop a balanced and positive global outlook

C. Attend Kyushu Forum on Dr. Sun Yat-sen

The Kyushu Forum on Dr Sun Yat-sen comprises two conferences. The Conference on Dr Sun Yat-sen’s International Legacy and Inspirations for the Future and the Conference on Kyushu as a Frontier of Asia Pacific Cooperation.

  1. Conference on Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s International Legacy and Inspirations for the Future

2016 is the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Dr Sun Yat-sen. The Conference is organized by Kyushu University and the Institute of Dr. Sun Yat-sen Studies of Zhongshan University with Sunwah Foundation and Kyushu Economic Forum as co-organisers.

Venue: Inamori Hall, Ito Campus, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
Date: 31 October 2016

Pre Conference Ceremony
13:00-13:30 Ground-breaking Ceremony of the Jonathan KS Choi Cultural Centre of Japan at Kyushu University

Moderator: Prof. Reiko Aoki
Speech by President Chiharu Kubo, President of Kyushu University
Speech by Dr. Jonathan KS Choi, Chairman of Sunwah Group and Sunwah Foundation
Speech by Mr. Susumu Ishihara, Chairman of Kyushu Economic Forum

Session1: Moderator: Prof. Takeshi Hamashita (Zhongshan University)
1. Prof. Lin Jia-you, Former Director of the Institute of Dr. Sun Yat-sen Studies of Zhongshan University
Topic: Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s International Awareness and Its Key Implications (30 mins)

  1. Prof. Takeshi Shizunaga, Graduate School of Humanities, Kyushu University
    Topic: Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s visit to Fukuoka and the history of China-Japan academic cooperation in Kyushu University (30 mins)
  2. Prof. Nguyen Van Khanh, Former Rector of University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) and Director of the Institute of Policy and Management (USSH)
    Topic: Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Vietnam Revolution (30 mins)

Coffee Break

Session 2: Moderator Prof. Akihiro Iwashita (Kyushu University and Hokkaido University)
4. Prof. Leo Suryadinata, S.Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological, University, Singapore
Topic: Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s international legacy and inspirations for the future: Some examples from Southeast Asia (30 mins)

  1. Prof. Gordon Houlden, Director of China Institute, University of Alberta, Canada
    Topic: Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the West: A 21st Century Canadian Perspective. (30 mins)
  2. Prof. Takeshi Onimaru, Graduate school of Integrated Science for Global Society, Kyushu University
    Topic: Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the Revolutionary Networks in East and Southeast Asia in the 1920s and 30s (30 mins)
  3. Prof. Li Xin-chun, China Institute of Economic Transformation and Opening
    Topic: Guangdong Province: First mover and entrepreneurship -The birth place of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (30 mins)

Q&A session 10 mins

18:30 – 20:00 Reception at Inamori Hall

  1. The Conference on Kyushu as a Frontier of Asia Pacific Cooperation

The Conference will be held at the Kyuden Mirai Hall in Fukuoka, Japan on the next day, 1 November 2016, to explore opportunities for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region from the inspirations of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and his connections with Kyushu. The Conference is organized by the Kyushu Economic Forum, co-organised by Sunwah Foundation and the Japan Hong Kong Society – Kyushu and supported by Kyushu University for about 400 participants. Dr Jonathan Choi will deliver a keynote speech on Hong Kong’s partnership with Kyushu and the Asia Pacific Region at this Conference and there will be a panel discussion with speakers from various countries on Kyushu as the Frontier of Asia Pacific Cooperation.

Members of Sunwah GYLN Hanoi Chapter met with Mrs Carrie Lam and attended the Asian Youth Orchestra Tour 2016’s performance in Hanoi

On 17 August 2016, on the occasion of Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong SAR Government’s visit to Hanoi, the Asian Youth Orchestra had staged a concert at Vietnam National Academy of Music.  As a member of Sunwah Global Young Leaders Network, I had the honor to attend the concert and met with Mrs Carrie Lam. For me, it was not only an ordinary concert but I also learnt a valuable lesson in terms of international relations.

Being invited by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO), our Sunwah GYLN members arrived early for the pre-event meeting with Mrs Carrie Lam. In spite of her glamorous and powerful appearance, our feelings when talking to her was somehow like talking to a family member. She had such a gentle voice that we felt being respected, which encouraged us to develop ourselves as the young generation of the country and opened up to opportunities for youth development between Vietnam and Hong Kong.


Mrs Carrie Lam met with Sunwah GYLN Hanoi members before the Concert

After the meeting, we moved to the Grand Hall where the concert took place. The concert’s conductor – James Judd greeted the audience and they started with Symphony No.8 by Dvorak and Symphony No.6, Pathétique by Tchaikovsky. It was not the first time I went to a classical music concert but I still regarded it as a surprising fortune to be there. The audience gradually fell into the rhythm played by the youth from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Macau, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam.

After the performance, the conductor and the orchestra introduced themselves, which was the most interesting part of the night to me. Mr. Judd asked the only one member from Vietnam to stand up beside him as a translator to help him introduce other members.

The concert was over, everybody headed to the gate. I asked some Sunwah GYLN members to stay behind as I would like them to have a talk with the AYO member from Vietnam – Do Ngoc Thao My, whom I know personally. It was a long time since I last saw her, she had really grown up!

I think, apart from organizing events on our own, we also need to attend the events professionally organized by others to learn from them and help ours to be more successful. The Asian Youth Orchestra Tour 2016 is one of the lessons like that and we want to thank Sunwah Foundation for this precious opportunity.