In the afternoon after work, Mr. Mauro Trentin, the opreator director of NCI Packaging Vietnam Company, taught English for the children in a small house on Phan Ngu Street, D1. That classroom is from VHV project found by a twenty-six-year-old girl, Vo Thi My Linh.
After travelling to Nepal and returning from a snow storm in Himalaya mountain range last October, My Linh has been mentioned a lot in the media.
Mr. Trentin thought that this English class was just only for the disadvantaged children. “There is the limitation of communication between those and the foreigners. At the first time we came there, the children were extremely hesitated and so were we. However, they became more exciting when hearing us playing music and learning English songs. I think music is the best way to connect people. We all had a very good time that day.” Mr. Trentin said.
Like Mr. Mauro Trentin, other tourists to Vietnam such as Jo, Rick, Peter, Elise, etc… are always willing to take part in our VHV.
From the story in Nepal
Vo Thi My Linh told that Nepalese often invite the foreign tourists, who volunteer to teach English for children or work on their farm, to stay in their houses. Those foreigners just pay a little for their trip. “I met some young Russian who stayed in Nepal for 2 or 3 years to design and build a local school. This way is spontaneous in Nepal. I thought that if we had the same way, it would be very useful”. Linh said.
She stayed in a poor village in Nepal to work as a volunteer. “That village surrounded by mountains is separated from others. These children who do not know about smart phones or Internet still indulge in learning English while many young people blame their laziness of learning English on their poor living condition. They pronounced the words after their teacher and tried to learn by heart those words. They even did not have notebooks.” Linh reminded.
Then the local people held a Spelling Contest which Linh could see it with her own eyes. The children had to walk pass 3 mountain passes to participate in the school contest. A teacher read the words and who spelled correctly would win. “But I will have the image of the teacher getting the reward, a dictionary, engraved upon my mind. The dictionary which is ignored by many Vietnamese is an absolutely valuable reward to the Nepalese here. Although there are a lot of difficulties, their English is quite good. Their dream is not to travel abroad or get a good job in the foreign company. They want to learn English to discover the world, to read English books and to introduce their country to everyone.” Linh said.
To the project in Vietnam
Linh determined on carrying out the VHV project from the experience on the trip to Nepal and her disadvantage. VHV model expresses her encouragement Vietnamese children in studying English and appeal to all Vietnamese for giving their hands by hosting the tourists who will teach our children free English.
VHV started in February, 2015 with over 500 volunteers and more than 80 houses. There were 3 English classes in Ho Chi Minh city and 2 more in Ha Noi. Linh told that lots of young people have admired her after her survival from the snow storm in Nepal. Therefore, she thought that she could work with them to build up VHV.
Based on the saying:” House for travelers, English for kids”, VHV is a non-profit project found to teach English free for children, especially the disadvantaged ones who have no chance to learn English. This is also a cosy house for the volunteers and the backpackers who can speak English. They do not have to pay for the accommodation but they have to pay for their meals (about 60.000 per day) and teach English free or work with the local people.
For examples, Gia Han, a student in VHV just only spoke 4 sentences in English in the first interview at the class, but after 2 weeks studying with VHV volunteers, she could talk about herself and her family confidently and fluently.
Mrs. Lan whose daughter is learning English in VHV said, “People who have low income like us cannot afford to pay for the language centres. If VHV can be maintained and expanded, the children will have good free classes.”
Linh had a variety of difficulties when starting this project. Many volunteers did not completed their tasks, the poor children were not obedient, there were not enough classes for the foreign volunteers or the difficulty in getting permission for the foreigners to teach English. However, she did not give up.
Linh and others are paying for all the expenditure of the project and make the lesson plans by themselves. VHV is going to coordinate with AIESEC, one of the biggest organization for students in the world, in Ho Chi Minh city to attract the foreign students. Each student will work full time voluntarily in 4 or 6 weeks.
VHV project attains a goal that by 2020 each province in Vietnam will have at least one English class free for the children especially the children aged 6-12 with the volunteers and the tourists.
“Some people asked me that what i thought if that project was unsuccessful. I told them, anyway it expressed our best trial to make the society better instead of doing nothing.” Linh said.