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A trip to Thai Binh – Mỗi ngày là một niềm vui!

Coins for Change has partnered with several schools in Northern provinces and hopes to create more. This weekend the volunteers from Ha Dong, travelled to New World School in Thai Binh to attend their English Festival.

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With little intel about where or what we would be doing the volunteers, a single mother and head coordinator of Tay Ho bundled into a car and headed offf. Since joining Coins for Change every day has become an exciting adventure and we knew today would be no different. Lynn, head coordinator, informed us we may have to run an activity for 10-14 children. On arrival we discovered the activity would be for 300 children, we laughed, a little nervously and tucked into lunch.

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New World school’s English festival runs every three months and is a way for the students to showcase their improvements to parents, an opportunity to make new friends and learn more about global citizenship. Much to the joy of Ha Dong’s volunteers, this weekend’s festival has a big twist.

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This time, New World’s festival had a large focus on gratitude. The festival started with a trip to SOS Village, an orphanage community for over 100 children. Expecting the worst we were all pleasantly surprised. Foreigners funded a village community for these orphans. With seven children to one ‘mother’ in each house, with fields to play in, space to grow vegetables and plenty of books for the children.  This was an eye opening experience to many of the New World students. Many, as young as seven years old were carrying around iPhones and clearly came from a wealthier background. Hoa Trần Hoàng, the owner of New World School informed her students how lucky they are to have the lives they have and how they must seize the opportunities life has given them. The school used this weekend’s festival as a fundraising event for the village and has been kind enough to teach the children of SOS village English for free.

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The festival then moved to a nearby hotel, where dancing, singing and English games followed. By partnering with schools is less touristic areas of Vietnam, Coins for Change has created an opportunity for children to interact with foreigners from around the world and practice their English. Throughout the event, the volunteers were engulfed in children who wanted to practice English and take pictures together. Not only a great opportunity for the children read more here but for the volunteers. Due to partnerships like this, volunteers like me are able to travel to many provinces, experience places such as SOS village and have regular adventures.

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Coins for Change is a fast growing NGO, making organisation a little difficult. But, if you are ready for adventure, to see the ‘true’ Vietnam and willing to drop your plans of sleeping in for a spontaneous road trip, THIS is the charity for you. As Nguyen, one of the beneficiaries I live with, put it Mỗi ngày là 1 ngày vui, which roughly translate to every day is a day of fun.  Since being here I have seen more than I could have imagined, met inspiring people and contributed to something far bigger than me.

 

by Emma Best

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