Weapons of Mass Production: Volunteering with Green Youth Collective

IMG_5139IMG_5141IMG_5140

Yesterday (Sunday) I volunteered in District 9 with Youth Green Collective. It was so nice to get out of the city and get some fresh air. The land is tucked away inside a small Vietnamese village with plenty of coconut trees, banana trees and right on the Dong Nai river.

Green Youth Collective is a small, non-profit with the goal of creating awareness and interest in green and sustainable products and practices in Saigon. Ultimately, the aim of the business is to train local disadvantaged youths to assemble, install, and maintain green roofs, vertical and container gardens.

Their first project however, is a plot of land in district 9, which they will use as their headquarters and for training. “GYC has realized that for all we hope to accomplish, we need a large space to carry out our experiments, demonstrate our products, and educate our future employees. The land in D9 is 6000 square meters, and will be our education center for hands-on learning.This will be a space designed to inspire the youth and anyone who comes to visit. We envision hosting both local and international courses in areas such as permaculture, natural building, natural product making, design, organic gardening, meditation, yoga, traditional crafts, or whatever area someone is motivated to host a course in. The Green Youth will also be trained here, so for a few months before they begin their job of installing our products, they will get hands on experience with the soil, seeds, building, maintaining, planning and designing.”

This is what some of the plans look like;

https://www.facebook.com/notes/green-youth-collective/things-to-do-at-the-d9-land/566962910007352

Its a really interesting and exciting project. I will be really curious to see how things are going in a month, three months, even six months down the line when I am back in Taipei!

Progress so far…..

handwash station

handwash station

two clay stoves have almost been finished

two clay stoves have almost been finished

banana tress have been planted around the shower but while they are growing, coconut leaf walls has been put up for shade and privacy

banana tress have been planted around the shower but while they are growing, coconut leaf walls has been put up for shade and privacy

shower floor

shower floor

some beds have been made but nothing has been planted just yet

some beds have been made but nothing has been planted just yet

Imagine the delicious meals you can cook when the all the raw materials you need are growing right in your kitchen!

Yesterday, we started to make the compost heap.

clear the patch and put up post around the edge

clear the patch and put up post around the edge

I forgot to take a picture of the first layer, which was dry sticks and branches to keep the compost a little off the ground and let air circulate.

green leaves

green leaves

a little lime

next: a layer of brown leaves

cow dung mixed with water goes on top.

Then repeat! We covered the compost heap with coconut leaves to keep the heat in.

I hope to get out to district 9 again before I leave at the end of this month. Watch this space………

Advertisements

Little Rose Update

This week we are………..Making phone calls!!! Slowly getting through the long list of business. No donations YET but there are some companies interested in setting up internships 😀

IMG_4972

In other news, one of the cats at the shelter had two super cute kittens!

IMG_4968

Happy Halloween from Phú Nhuận English class!!!!

This morning I brought some candy and masks to school, they went crazy for them!

BUT, the absolute highlight was 10mins after class was over, spotting someone’s Grandma in one of the side streets wearing a mask and creeping up on her family. SOOO funny!

IMG_4974 IMG_5064 IMG_5065 IMG_5066 IMG_5070 IMG_5071 IMG_5072 IMG_5073

What’s New at The Little Rose Shelter?

859237_432135320197593_950748433_o

The Little Rose Shelter actually belongs to a partnership called The Shelter Collection. It consists of two shelters here in Saigon; The Little Rose Warm Shelter (for girls who have been victims of abuse) and The Green Bamboo Warm Shelter (a similar set up for young boys who have been street children).  http://www.sheltercollection.org/

Currently, there is enough money for the next 15 months, but after that, the current funds from the Danish Vietnamese Association (DVA), will have run out. So, it is time to find new donors! Mr Ole Riis, of The Shelter Collection is here in Vietnam to do just that and I am helping as much as I can.

Tomorrow we will start the first phase of our fundraising initiative. We will be making phone calls to Danish businesses in Vietnam to first verify details and make sure we have the correct person of contact and we will also give a brief run down on The Shelter Collection and ask if it would then be ok to send some information in the mail. This is a great way to break the ice and introduce ourselves, especially on a Friday when everyone is in a good mood! Once we have contacted all of the Danish contacts on the list, we will begin on the other companies. The first step is to establish a good rapport with the right people, and to send them some basic information. After that, we will speak with the interested parties, hopefully at one event, and give a more detailed presentation.

The new leaflets are being printed at the moment and look great. If you’d like to have a look, I have included the link below.

shelter-eng

The next thing we need to do is organise some kind of fundraising event which I am excited to get started on once we have mailed all the leaflets. This will most likely be aimed at expats here and will happen some time in November. We are brainstorming at the moment and I have hopefully found a few venues interested in helping out.

Watch this space……:D

Versatile Blogger Award-Thank you for the nomination!!!!

versatile_blog_award

THE RULES:

1. Display the Award on your Blog.
2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who nominated you.
3. Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award.
4. Link your nominees in the post and let them know of their nomination with a comment.
5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself

A big thank you to Deborah, http://myriad234.wordpress.com/, for the nomination!!!

7 things about me 

1.  I have lived and worked in 5 countries. Most recently, as an ESL teacher in Taipei, Taiwan.

2. I am currently in Vietnam volunteering, and have previous experience in Cambodia, Australia and Taiwan.

3. I studied Dance Studies at the University of Wolverhamption in England. I still love to dance as a hobby, and recently had some salsa lessons!

4. I love to travel and have visited almost 20 countries, I hope to add at least two new places a year!

5. I am new to blogging, and writing in general and finding it both challenging and rewarding. 

6. I love tattoos, I have three but want lots more! 

7. I love music, epecially going to concerts and festivals.

Since I am so new to this I have chosen my Top 5 Blogs (instead of 15), all focusing on development and volunteering;

1.http://orphanagetourismcambodia.wordpress.com/?wref=bif

2.http://littleroseshelter.wordpress.com/

3. http://aidspeak.wordpress.com/

4.http://kimnguyenbrowne.wordpress.com/

5. http://how-to-volunteer-overseas.com/

Congrats to the nominees!

The Little Rose Warm Shelter

IMG_4379

I first learned about Little Rose through a friend that I met in Taiwan. I was telling her about my plans to volunteer in Saigon and she recommended them as a reputable charity doing a great job.

Sexual abuse of young girls in South East Asia is a huge problem, and Vietnam is no exception. The Little Rose Shelter, established in 1992, is a safe place for young girls who have been victims of abuse. Here they can go to school, learn English, learn real skills to help them get better jobs and most importantly, feel safe and secure. There is a huge focus on helping these girls recover mentally and physically from the horrors they have faced, and rebuilding their confidence.

This documentary was made by a volunteer who was at The Little Rose Shelter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGCBxFHIN2Q

IMG_4375

After a few attempts to get in touch I was finally able to visit the director Mai and discuss volunteering. We had a conversation about what they needed and how I could help. My main role will be as a fundraiser, which am really excited about! I have done fundraising before, in Taiwan and Australia and have been brainstorming ideas and researching for the past couple of weeks.

I also teach English to some of the adult staff twice a week, which is going really well. They are very eager to improve their English and I feel it will be in invaluable for them when dealing with new volunteers, or potential sponsors. I dont have much direct contact with the girls, as the volunteers who work directly with them need to be properly qualified  but I do see them going about their daily chores, cooking, homework, all the normal stuff. They are sweet girls and always greet me with a smile and a few phrases in English.

I hope to also help the office staff to keep their websites up to date so that future volunteer and benefactors can keep up with the goings on at Little Rose, and so that Little Rose is always in the front of peoples minds.

I met with a fundraiser from the Danish Vietnamese Association the other day and we had a great talk about Little Rose. I hope to be involved in some upcoming fundraising events and feel as though I will learn a lot from him. Big things coming up in the near future!!

a mural done by some of the girls
a mural done by some of the girls

Friday morning English class @ Phú Nhuận

I taught my first English class this morning! After just over a week in Vietnam, I’m finally getting some work done and it feels really good! I now have a regular Friday morning class for an hour with some super cute kids.

The class is made up of about 15 students, between 7 and 13 and they don’t speak any English. Some of the older kids know some basics but it’s mostly just complete beginners.

The kids at this school either can’t afford to go to regular school, or have some learning difficulties which make it hard for them to keep with their classmates. The teachers there receive a small salary, but it is very small and they are basically volunteers too. The government covers the cost of water and electricity but everything else comes from donations.

I taught them some basics, the days of the week, kinds of weather, what’s your name and we sang a few songs. It was all very simple and they picked it up really fast. I had heard from a few people that Vietnamese students are really nice to teach, and they weren’t wrong. They were a little shy of course, but unlike my students of their age in Taiwan, they still made an effort to raise their hand and answer with a loud, clear voice.They are really eager to learn and very interested. They asked me a lot of questions! I think I’m going to love teaching them.  I have no teaching assistant so I had to make sure I asked all the necessary questions today! Their supplies are pretty limited. They have a black board and chalk, some pencils and notebooks and some crayons to share. I will definitely bring some speakers and my phone for music next week!

I’d also like to help them kit up their classroom a little with some posters and teaching aids in the coming weeks. Really looking forward to the next few months 😀