A short drive from the central city of Danang, Hoi An has rightly earned a reputation as one of Vietnam's most picturesque towns. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Hoi An draws visitors to its lovingly preserved mix of Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese and French architecture - evidence of the town's fascinating past as a major trading port.
From the 17th to the 19th century, Phai Pho, which is Hoi An's old name as a riverside port, was frequented by traders from as far away as Holland, China, Japan and India, who came for Vietnam's silk, porcelain, pepper, cinnamon and medicinal plants. While the trade dried up when the river filled with silt, the town distinctive architecture remains intact, having miraculously survived the wars of the 20th century.
Hoi An's quarter features many traditional shops - houses with facades made from carved ironwood. The front rooms of these houses served as shops, while the families lived on the second floors. Central and back courtyards allowed both sunlight and fresh air to penetrate. To this day, many houses have a pair of carved wooden yin yang symbols which are thought to protect the house's inhabitants from ghosts and bad luck.
The officially Socialist government, run by the Communist party, has made recent reforms which open the economy for trade and some building wealth. Volunteers will see, however, that the old and new Revolutions have left many rural peasants behind in their idealism of minimum living standards. Our projects help these people.
What to Expect?
Volunteers, depending on number of volunteers per group, will be engaged in a variety of projects, from teaching English pronunciation and colloquialisms, the building of playgrounds and better homes to replace substandard housing, refurbishment of buildings for use as schools, work on kindergarten and primary schools, as well as village markets and other infrastructure to help raise the standards of living throughout rural Vietnam. (Kindergartens are not currently funded by the Vietnamese government). Disadvantaged youth living in rural areas outside of town are allowed to attend the schools we work on at no cost.
All volunteers will teach Basic English and play games with the children, and assist with our new new Portable Mobil Libraries Projects, called "Books to Live". This program is most appropriate for those over 18, unless traveling with a parent or guardian, and those who feel reasonably confident about their overall fitness level. The work can be demanding and the climate is hot.
As part of this project:
a) We're so grateful to anyone who can bring some children coloring books and crayons and anything that have to do with the libraries with them when they come. Books that can teach the teachers how to educate the children from grades 2-9, and about the world at large (such as geography). Other good things for the teachers and students are things like: good pens, nice note books, arts and school supplies, used or new
b) Visit with several schools. After visiting the schools, we have been asked to help write "evaluations" to indicate how, what and why they may to improve the education system in the Vietnamese countryside, and how to use these new "Portable Libraries Project" in schools in Vietnam successfully. This report will be a very important for the Vietnam Education Ministry Department. This is about a long term commitment to help educational programs for the future of Vietnamese countryside children, who have little access to education.
c) Help set up a simple library system and instructions on how to set up the books in each portable library. When the libraries come to each school, we have been asked to help train the teachers to use the books and system correctly. The schools want all the children to read 1 book per week and to make a book report for each book. What did they learn about the book and why? What did they think? We will award to the child who read the most, writes the most reports and to those who express themselves well. We have been asked to make a "books log" to hand out to the teachers and students in each school where we have our portable library set up.
d) Setting up libraries with Dong Phuong College
- Program ID: # 1877
- duration: 1 to 2 Weeks
- location: Hoi An Hoi AnVietnam16° 23' 38.1516" N, 107° 38' 38.5548" EVN
- Fitness level: Light ImpactModerately Fit
- Closest Airport: Da Nang (DAD)
- Costs From: $1000 to $1500
- Program Type: Community Development ProjectsWomen's & Youth Programs
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