I was in Vietnam not too long ago, together with Bulgari for their Save The Children initiative. When I was invited to go on board this field trip, I agreed immediately. Charity or Volunteer programs most often than not, is a YES for me, especially now when my schedule allows for it.
We visited Dien Bien, and travelled to the schools there. I love spending time with children. I have always felt that children teach me more lessons in life than I think I know. It is lovely to see things through their eyes and to remind myself to keep that alive always.
I planned an origami session with the primary school children. I taught them how to fold a butterfly. It was amazing how they picked it up so quickly, some were so quick to copy the folds after observing how I had done it, even when it became complicated. The best part of it (for me) was when they completed their own butterfly and opened it with glee in their eyes.
We visited the Kindergarten next. I did something simpler, story reading, with the help of a translator. I had wanted to read my own illustrated book in the initial planning stage, but based on text alone, the organizers felt it was a little too philosophical for the children. So I brought along another picture book to read to them, and prepared my own book Sol’s World: Somebody to Love as gifts for them. Yes, I brought all 50 books with me on this trip.
After they looked at my book, they said they wanted to draw like I did, and so a drawing session ensued. We ended it by folding their drawings into paper aeroplanes and had some fun to wrap up the session. Fun and creativity go hand in hand, always.
Hygiene is such an essential part of life. The clean water that we have, we take for granted. I paired up with Thai representative, Ple Hattaya, to teach the children how to wash their hands properly and tried to make it fun and enjoyable for them at the same time. I do hope that they will make it a habit in their daily routine.
The lady beside me is the principal of the primary school. We were learning about the family situation and the difficulties they faced. It was heart-breaking. I made a small donation to the school after this, for them to buy books and learning materials for the children. It isn’t much to make a huge difference or change the entire education system there, but sharing this and creating more awareness can hopefully encourage more volunteers to come forth and help.
It would have been great if we could spend more time with the children there. Nevertheless, I’m glad I made it there this time round.