It wasn’t the usual Thursday routine of going to the gym and grocery shopping. I woke up feeling great, knowing that I would be somewhere in Ha Nam in a couple of hours, meeting children who have never met or spoken to foreigners before. I collected boxes of books from the store and got onto the bus with Thinh, the founder of Better Life Vietnam. We are on our way to Liem Tuyen Primary and Secondary School located just an hour from Hanoi.
We arrived at Liem Tuyen Primary School first where we met the principal. We were warmly welcomed by the students who were sitting in the courtyard waiting anxiously. They were very excited and engaged quickly with the volunteer teachers. It was an amazing feeling seeing their faces lit up when they received the books and browsed through them eagerly. I took the opportunity to teach them what were in the books such as numbers and fruits.
We walked to the secondary school, a minute away, where we were welcomed by teens standing outside of their school. They were running in and out, welcoming you with hellos and more greetings, using as many English words as they can. They were very curious and took every opportunity to interact with you even though they were actually quite shy! They asked if they could take a picture with me. Before I knew it, I was in more than a dozen pictures. After distributing the books, we went into the classrooms and interacted with the students through speaking activities. Our aim is to expose them and encourage them to speak more English. Due to time constraint, we had to leave after one session. It was such a shame as I could tell they wanted to learn and interact more. But I do believe, there will be future opportunities.
Overall, it was a meaningful day trip out to get a first hand experience of how the communities outside of Hanoi are doing. I would definitely participate in future activities organized by Better Life Vietnam as they really reach out to local communities.
Better Life Vietnam aims to improve lives of underprivileged communities in Vietnam through improving education conditions and for children in rural areas. Besides providing free books to the schools under the BLV Books Library project, they also have a scholarship program where they provide scholarships to needy students to continue their studies. For interested parties, they also have a scheme where volunteers can teach English at local schools to help increase their English Language proficiency.
My conversation with the founder, Ms. Thinh, was a very encouraging and heart warming one. She explained the vision of Better Life Vietnam and how she wants to help the underprivileged communities out there.
A big shout out to individuals with similar passion and calling to get in touch with Better Life Vietnam. We can all help make a difference for the young ones out there in the rural communities, create a better future through education, one step at a time, one child at a time. Have a good life. Cheers!