SCHOOL BRIGHTENING UP
- The workcamp named “School brightening up” is projected to take place at Lao Cai boarding school in Muong Khuong town, Lao Cai province. This workcamp is organized by VPV, in cooperation with the Center for Global Education Link (GEL). Muong Khuong town is 50km to the Northeast of Lao Cai city, with the border line of 86,5km with China to the Northwest. As a mountainous town, Muong Khuong has a lot of mountain ranges and narrow valeys. There are 14 ethnic groups living in the town, with H’Mong being the biggest group. Lao Cai boarding school was founded in 2009 in Muong Khuong town to provide educational environment and shelter for children in Lao Cai province to come to learn and stay. Currently, there are nearly 500 students attending this school, grouping in 14 classes from grade 6th to grade 12th. The students are from all 14 ethnic groups, with H’Mong and Nung students being the majority. If they don’t stay at school, they will have to travel between 20 and 40km every day to get to school. The students speak their own languages at home; at school, they are taught and speak Vietnamese. They are taught English as well but due to the lack of practice and interaction with foreigners, their English is not well developed yet.
- The title of the workcamp, “school brightening up”, literally refers to the idea that we would carry out some activities to make the school look nicer and brighter such as painting wall murals, redecorating the playgrounds, planting flowers,… In a broader sense, it relates to our bigger goal: through these activities, we expect to create a nice, cozy and friendly atmosphere at this school, which would encourage the students to stay at school and enjoy studying. The main activities include: • Cleaning the playground • Planting flowers and small trees on the playground • Decorating the playground with flower pots and recyled materials (old tyres, plastic bottles…) • Painting wall murals (around classrooms) • Creating English learning corners (painting wall murals with numbers or vocabulary in English; or creating an English bookshelf…) • Exchanging cultures with local students and people (with traditional games and performances) • Other activities based on volunteers’ ideas and the school’s needs.
- Volunteers will stay at the school dormitory with basic living conditions. Volunteers should prepare for basic bathroom and toilet facilities. There will be bunk beds and mosquito nets. Volunteers should bring a sleeping bag. Electricity, internet, clean water is available but limited. There is no water heater, no air-conditioner, and no washing machine. Volunteers can eat at the school canteen or eat out at some restaurants nearby (1 or 2 km from the school). Food will mostly be locally sourced and cooked. Those who have special diet should inform VPV beforehand.
- In the evening, we will have some bonding activities like Vietnamese lessons for international volunteers or group games. Volunteers are encouraged to come to the workcamp with ideas for group activities of the camp. Weekend Volunteers will have 2 days off on Saturday and Sunday at the end of the 1st week of camp. Volunteers can stay in Muong Khuong area to discover the local village. There are a number of caves, mountains and water falls for those who like trekking. There are mandarin gardens, night market and Sunday market for those who want to discover local life. Muong Khuong is not a tourist attraction, which makes it a perfect place for those who want to learn about authentic life of local people. Alternatively, volunteers can travel to Sapa, one tourist attraction in Lao Cai province. Volunteers can travel to Sapa on Saturday morning and come back to the school on Sunday afternoon. Sapa has stunning lanscape and scenery but at the same time it is very touristic. Nevertheless, it can still be a place of interest for those who want to experience some lively night life or to have a pizza bite on the weekend. Volunteers can also leave the village on Friday afternoon and take the bus back to Ha Noi or other provinces to see other remarkable places in Vietnam. If volunteers stay at the village over the weekend, food and accommodation are still provided. Those who travel to Sapa or other provinces will need to take care of their own food and transportation.
- Volunteers should be motivated, responsible, open-minded and flexible. At the same time, volunteers should be in good health conditions.
Volunteers For Peace Vietnam (VPV) is a non-profit, voluntary organization founded in 2005 with the aim to promote voluntary service as a mean of cultural and educational exchange among people, for peace and friendship, and as an approach to address social problems. VPV is a full member of the UNESCO’s Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) and of the Network for Voluntary Development in Asia (NVDA). VPV is also a partner of the ALLIANCE of European Voluntary Organizations, the International Cultural Youth Exchange Federation (ICYE) and Service Civil International (SCI) VPV is officially recognized by the Government of Vietnam/Permit No. BM330. VPV is organizing international workcamps and SLMTV placements in different projects (teaching/education, healthcare and HIV/AID prevention, organic farm and sustainable agriculture, conservation, community development, etc). VPV is also sending Vietnamese volunteers abroad.
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