Mr. Luc Gheysens, who is originally from Belgium did travel to 80 countries and now decided to live and contribute to Vietnam as a voluntary teacher. He stated that there is nothing more beautiful and rewarding than helping children to learn, particularly when they are underprivileged.
Why do you chose to be a voluntary teacher in Vietnam?
I have chosen to teach English to underprivileged children in Vietnam because it fits my purpose in life perfectly. I like to help people grow, particularly children. I am now 60 years old, I have been very lucky in life and I have had a gratifying life in the business world. Now, I have decided to give back some of what I have received. I want to share it with the worldwide community, and children are an important part of the group I want to help. There are many countries in the world, and I have visited many, but the Vietnamese have impressed me with their desire to grow, to focus on development and reaching higher goals at personal level and national level. This is why I have decided to make Vietnam my home for as long as I can be useful and participate in the development of the people here, particularly children.
What interests that you found in teaching at VHV?
I was introduced to VHV by one of the volunteers and I was immediately attracted to this project. There is nothing more beautiful and rewarding than helping children to learn, particularly when they are underprivileged. I have met many children who want to learn, and I also met their parents who explained to me how much they want to help their children and give them a better chance in life. I like VHV because it is a group of wonderful people : they want to teach and help children, and they do not expect any material reward in return. This is volunteering at its best. More importantly, I have been able to teach children, but I have also been able to teach the teachers. It is great to see many young people who want to teach as volunteers, but they need a bit of training in order to be efficient teachers. So I was asked to design and deliver a course for volunteer teachers. This has been a wonderful experience because I have been invited to be part of the organization and make it more efficient. Many young volunteer teachers have a good heart and they want to help. But having a good heart is not enough. They also need teaching competence, and it was wonderful for me to teach these young volunteer teachers, because they represent the generosity and the dynamism of Vietnam !
Have you done the same thing in other countries?
I am originally from Europe, and I also did a lot of volunteering when I was there. This is not something I am doing only now because I am older. My volunteering when I was a young man were not so much in teaching, but in helping people with physical or mental handicaps. I worked many years for a community of people who help find education and work for physically and mentally disabled people. You see, it is important for any man or woman, young or old, to give back to those in need. It gives a sense of purpose to one’s life, and it makes the world a better place to live in.
I knew that there was a teacher’s day in Vietnam because I was here last year in October and the students told me about it. I think it is a wonderful initiative and a useful event, because teachers play a particularly important role in the development of a country and its people, and this needs to be recognized and celebrated at least once a year.. We do not have ‘teachers days’ in Europe, but on the last day of the school year many parents and students offer flowers as a sign of gratitude for the great work the teachers have been doing for the children during the course of the year. In other words, it is a national day, but it is a personal attention given by most of the parents and the students to their teachers.
What do you think when you are dedicated as a Vietnamese teacher?
Being a dedicated teacher in Vietnam has been one of the most exciting periods of my life. In may developed countries, education tends to be seen as a low-priority sector. On the contrary, in Vietnam I have seen teachers and students who are fighting to increase their competence and reach higher levels of quality in their ability to speak and communicate in another language. This has reinforced my feeling that Vietnam is the right place to be for me, and the experience so far has been tremendously positive.
Vietnam Volunteer House is an independent project which is founded by a young Vietnamese girl. It has been operating efficiently for 1 year with no funding. Can you share your view on the value of this organization?
My view of VHV is simply admiration and pride. Frist of all, I admire the fact that it as a single person’s effort to do all this. It takes a lot of determination and energy to get such a project off the ground, and Ms.Linh is doing it very well. Secondly, I admire the fact that there are now thousands of students who are taught every day or week by the VHV organization, since this is a remarkable achievement. Thirdly, there are more than 700 volunteer teachers all over the country who are giving their time and their energy to VHV and it is wonderful to mobilize this energy. Many young people have a natural desire to help and to be useful, and VHV gives them just that : a way to be an agent of change for the children, their family and the country as a whole.
So yes, I admire VHV very much. But like in every volunteer organization, it is not enough to have a good heart and to give your time. You also need to be competent at what you do. I have discussed this with Ms Linh and she has recognized the fact that it is very important to educate the teachers too. Together with her staff, I have been able to design a course for teachers, and we had three very successful sessions. I am sure we will have more.
To summarize, I appreciate VHV very much because they are not just helping children. They are also helping the teachers to grow their competences. Thereby, VHV achieves two goals : improve children’s communication skills, but also the young teacher’s ability to organize, create, manage and deliver great language learning lessons. Two very noble purposes. !
What do you think about the value of education in the development of a country?
Education is one of the most important factors in the development of a nation. if you look at the data provided by international organizations such as the United Nations, the wellbeing of a country is shown as directly linked to their education budgets. And this is not so surprising. The success of a country is not only due to its national resources, such as oil or gas or agriculture, but more importantly, it is linked to its human resources. How will the young men and women of today be able to face the challenges of tomorrow, and how can they be trained to do that. Education is the only answer. And VHV is part of that wonderful effort.
|Mr. Luc Gheysens has more than 35 years’ experience in managing teams in various sectors. Particularly experienced in multinational and multicultural positions such as: operations manager at Aquared Ghana; General Management and P&L responsibility for the EMEA Subsidiary of Imation; Managing Sun/Oracle’s storage business across 3 continents : Asia, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America; General Manager of the Belgium and Luxemburg subsidiary of StorageTek….|