After writing to the Minister of Education a short time ago in order to talk about the lack of practical application in English textbooks in Viet nam, Vo Thi My Linh also implemented to set up a project to teach freeEnglish to children, especially poor ones. She shared the initial results of this project after the completion of the test phase.
You recently launched Volunteer House Vietnam project with the desire to teach free English to poor children. Could you share how the project was begun?
Volunteer House Vietnam project provides the free-of-charge English classes for children from 9 to 12 years of age, especially poor ones. When joining this project, travellers, regardless of whether they are, Vietnamese or foreigners, are proficient in English and able to teach English to local children or work together with locals in exchange for free accommodations. The aim of the project is not only to help poor children improve their English skills but also to change travel habits such as check-in / sightseeing in order to make out of her/his trip a more personally enriching experience and challenge yourself.
Since the project started in February of 2015 , more than 500 volunteers from all over the country have registered to be its members; five free English classes – three classes in HCM city and two in Ha Noi come into operation; 80 free accommodations from 18 provinces have been offered to the VHV. Our goal is to implement the project across the country and each province has at least one English class of Volunteer House Vietnam.
When setting up this project, we are not interested in how many children would be received the free English course. The average primary class of VHV has 15 students, so only 75 students graduated each year. This project was launched to help spread the message that English is very important, it is time for you to universalize it as the government has resolved to eliminate illiteracy long time ago. A girl had to give up her job because of her poor English skills, more than anyone, I understand that person has many disadvantages of being bad at English.
When quitting the job, I wished my parents had reminded me that English is so important in our life, so I should try my best to learn by heart. But that day my parents only cared about how to make enough money to live and did not know why studying English is important.
What was the biggest challenge have you ever faced while executing this project?
Of course, doing a volunteer work is not easy at all, especially the project has not raised any funds until now. I think it is more difficult to manage a charity than to run a business. If you manage a company, recruit employees, employees shall not be dismissed so easily. But I have no money to pay for volunteers in this project. How they stay with the project is difficult.
I also felt sad when some parents whose children attended to free English classes started with unreasonable demands, such as they could not pick up their children in time, why we don’t teach many ways to help their children get good grades in school.
What did your supporters and the project’s contributors say? And with your non-supporters, did you listen to their opinions?
There have been many reporters that had interviewed me. They praised because I did a good thing for society. But it was in the newspaper only. But in fact, all reporters seeing me asked a question: After returning to home, you were out of money. Why did not you find a job instead of doing voluntary work?
This question reminds me of childhood memories. One late afternoon, I watched an old man walking around the neighborhood and picking up trash so the neighbors had a clean alley for Tet holiday. Those people in my neighborhood seeing his action came to see him and show their gratitude. But when talking to each other, they said, “The old man was crazy anyway, his house was so dirty because of not being cleaned, but he picked up trash for whole neighborhood”. Of course, my friends and me join hands with volunteers to build the project, as well as his old man picking up trash. Nobody is sad because of others comments because we do not try to do good things to get back to the kind words. We do it because if you do not, we are afraid that we will be attracted towards bad things.
I also realized that the older generations shook their head and wonder what is happening to the younger generations that are more interested in entertainment and leisure activities and did not contribute towards making the country prosperous. I want to tell them that more than 500 young volunteers are participating in my project. We are going to learn how to establish the project. And now the remaining question is: Do they want to help the younger generation do this?
Thank you for your sharing