Vietnam Volunteer Program

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About

The centre located in Ba Vi, Hanoi that is supported by our partner and the volunteers, provides ongoing support and rehabilitation for the most vulnerable members of this already poor community.
Without the help of volunteers like you, these children who are unable to care for themselves, will be left without their basic needs being met.
This is a 'hands on' program where volunteers will be able to form real and meaningful relationships with the children who are cared for by the centre.
The general needs of the children at the centre are met by the centre staff themselves. These tasks include feeding, cleaning and clothing. Of course we will also assist the centre staff with feeding and and the hygiene of the kids however our main focus will be providing liberal doses of love, rehabilitation, education, and therapy programs. Whilst previous experience is not needed, any volunteers with specific therapy skills are greatly welcomed.

Impact

Questions & Answers

Absolutely! If you take a look at some of the reviews you can see past participants from NZ, Australia, the UK and France.

Reviews

91%
based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 8.7
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.7
  • Value 8
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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James
10/10

Vietnam Experience

Helping the English language teachers at the Truong Tieu Hoc elementary school in Hanoi was a real treat. If you think Vietnamese students are reserved and introverted, think again. They are just as energetic and mischievous as are American students. That said, they marveled at having Americans teaching them English pronunciation. Between classes students relished playing the game rock, paper, scissors. Winning the game with an American was like an American winning the lottery with much cheering and new competitors stepping up. The experience was gratifying and well worth my time and efforts.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Luke
9/10

Ba Vi Vietnam

I spent 11 weeks at the orphanage in Ba Vi. The orphanage is home to some 200 disabled kids of all ages.

The local program staff are excellent. They are committed to helping the kids at the center and are willing to help volunteeres with all questions or concerns, no matter how small or big. They are concerned about volunteers' experience and work hard to help overcome any challenges volunteers encounter. They are also very helpful to arrange for any travel around Vietnam and to recommend where to visit.

I spent most of my time at the center feeding, changing, playing with, teaching, and building relationships with the kids. Volunteers are able to take on some bigger projects, such as taking children with serious health issues to see doctors nearby in Hanoi, but all of these projects require approval from the government appointed directors of the orphanage.

Overall the experience was unforgettable and extremely positive. Despite some difficult living conditions, the kids are eager to get to know new people and try new things. They find happiness and love for each other and for incoming volunteers. It is among the most inspirational things I have ever seen.

Difficulties encountered included the initial shock of seeing the condition of the kids -- some of whom are very underdeveloped for their age -- and the conditions at the center -- the center has few resources to treat kids with severe disabilities. After the initial shock faded, the conditions only made the experience more important and more valuable. It's clear that the center needs all the help it can get, and whatever volunteers are willing to give is gratefully received by the kids.

I would recommend visiting Ba Vi if you want a volunteer experience that requires you to step outside yourself and experience a way of life that is far different from what most volunteers are used to. The love you give and work you do for the kids will be rewarded ten-fold through their joy.

How can this program be improved?
I would ask that more information be provided before the program begins about the current state of the country. The information provided about the weather, services available, food, water, lodging, etc. was great but I found a deficit of information about Vietnamese culture and the mental attitudes that shape the country. It's not easy to explain these issues but some primer before arriving would be very helpful.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Ellie_W
10/10

A truely amazing experience

I first visited Vietnam in 2011 where I met a guy who had been volunteering with GVN. Just seeing the work that they were doing made a huge impression on me and I always said I would go back. Two years later I was given that opportunity. Teaching English in Vietnam with no previous teaching experience was an incredibly challenging experience but well worth it! The in country staff are so helpful and are always there when you need them. Even now, I am still getting updates on the progress of the students that I taught and how they are progressing. You will be surprised at just how much of a difference one person can make. I'm still just as inspired as I was my first trip and hope that one day I may return and volunteer again.

Yes, I recommend
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BJ
7/10

Everyone can contribute!

I was worried before going that I may not have relevant skills to really contribute to the projects or to the well being of local kids, but the program volunteers were very helpful to find the right placements for me and match my expectations and constraints (only two weeks in Hanoi / 3 months pregnant) with the needs of the different programs. I spent time at school with young children facing challenge of autism, and taught english at another school for young adults facing divers challenges in life. I also visited on week end an orphanage to bring them some second hand plush, musical toys from my daughter and some other toys I had bought in the local supermarkets. I couldn't do a lot in only two weeks but I am very sure that all kids, teens, teachers and volunteers do appreciate any kind of help and support. I think that they can see the other participant's appreciation of their contribution, they feel stronger in their own commitment and continue this critical work long after short term volunteers like me have left. I also learnt a lot from other volunteers I met: their passion, their generosity, their strength were a great lesson to me.

How can this program be improved?
not much follow up after program is possible. For those who got involved a long time, maybe it's frustrating not having a blog or facebook page to keep receiving news from the local team but also from the local program, know how the kids are doing, what's the status of this or that project... that could also be a way to encourage donation or ad hoc support when needed after the placement and possibly encourage the volunteers to join again.
Yes, I recommend
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asmitchener
10/10

Best Experience of my Life

I first volunteered with GVN in Vietnam when I was 18 years old. I was fresh out of high school and was about to embark on a trip of a lifetime. I had no idea what to expect and had never traveled abroad alone before. As my plane left the ground at home in America I immediately became nervous about the journey I was about to start. After flight delays, illnesses and one hell of a long flight I was finally in DaNang where I was to be picked up by GVN. The second I was entered the house in DaNang all of my anxiety went away and I immediately felt at home. Little did I know I was beginning a life changing experience. I would recommend GVN to anyone. I have since been back to vietnam twice and am about to go back this summer for a third time. Vietnam holds a special place in my heart and I have GVN to thank for that.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Aroha
8/10

Tuy Hoa Vietnam

The operations staff at GVN's partner organization were fantastic. So welcoming and empathetic and incredibly hard working. The staff in NZ were great too but sometimes a little slow to reply to requests for information or help once i was out in Vietnam. I could have done without the 40 odd emails that were sent to me by GVN prior to departure...not enough time to read them all! The main difficulty i encountered were lack of other volunteers to bond with. There were only 2 volunteers there (a couple) who were not very social and spent most of their time locked in their room. Thank goodness for the Vietnamese staff who were great company! Overall a fantastic experience and even though i initially felt thrown in at the deep end (thought i would be looking after babies but ended up mostly teaching) i am really glad i did it and it has inspired me to find a job within the chairty sector. Keep up the great work GVN!

Yes, I recommend
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Michelle
10/10

Vietnam - Love you long time

I went with GVN to vietnam back in 2005 when the program was in it's early stages. Now in 2011 6 years later I still think of the kids and my time in vietnam and the people that I spent that time with. The housing was basic in NZ standards, but high in Vietnam. We were well looked after, driven to our placements, all our meals paid for and the weekends off. All the staff of GVN were amazing and the other poeple from all around the world were fantastic as we all had the same reasons for being there, doing our little part for the better of the world. GVN is a great way to back pack around the world with a differnce and the feeling that you are getting ivolved and learning more of the society you are in than just travelling through. I still think of the kids and wonder where they are now, and how the programis going. I miss you all and will love you all forever, the experience will remain with me till the end of my time. I just hope that I can do it all again in the future.

Yes, I recommend

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