I know that it’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned my volunteer work, and you’d be forgiven if you thought that I’d forgotten all about it. I am proud to say that I have kept up with it throughout my time here in Vietnam. Recently, I’ve traveled to Vinh Long with a group of doctors and helped hand out free medication for the elderly and indigent; went to Thu Duc district with an NGO (Ngan Hac Giay) to feed and provide school supplies to poor “Khmer” children; also went with NHG to give clothes, food and medicine to homeless people in Saigon in the wee hours of the morning. In addition, I’ve been teaching English to disabled adults at DRD (Disability Resource and Development) and was involved in the establishment of an English club there.
However, as I am in the process of starting up not one, but two businesses in Saigon, I am afraid that I must for the foreseeable future concentrate on building my businesses and therefore will be unable to continue my volunteer work until things stabilize and I can free up more time.
At the moment, I am tutoring 2 female students here in Saigon, Binh and Linh. Binh is a very sweet 22 year old lady who is physically disabled and Linh is a bright 10 year old year girl who was abandoned by her parents and is currently being cared for by her grandparents. Both are from very poor families, and cannot afford to pay to attend a proper English school. I hope to be able to find one or more persons to take over the tutoring sessions.
Binh’s English is actually at a very high level. Her grammar is impeccable; she mainly has problems with speaking and listening comprehension. I’ve been tutoring her twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays. I spend 1 1/2 to 2 hours for each lesson. Half of the time is spent practicing grammar, and the other half I just sit and converse with her. She mostly needs someone to practice speaking with. She is disabled and doesn’t really have any available means of transport since her parents both work. She lives in District 8 and tutoring sessions would have to be done in her house. She goes to school during afternoons on weekdays and weekends. She is available from 8am-11am, Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
I was introduced to Binh by Co Bich, the supervisor at DRD. It’s Co Bich’s desire that Binh’s English will improve enough that she can eventually take over English teaching duties at DRD, which would allow them to be less dependent on outside volunteers. Another issue is that Binh’s father is elderly and the sole means of transport for Binh. Unless he is driving her on his motorbike he has to carry Binh around on his back. Co Bich fears what might happen if Binh’s father is one day unable to provide for and take care of his daughter…so we hope that by teaching Binh English, we are able to instill in her the confidence and skills she will need to be able to obtain a good job in the future. Binh has expressed an interest in applying for and attending college as soon as she is done with High School.
My other student Linh is a beginning English learner. I have only been tutoring her once a week for the past month. She is a very shy but bright 10 year old girl and has picked up a lot of English in just a few lessons. As previously mentioned, Linh’s parents abandoned her when she was a child and is currently in the care of her grandparents. Her grandfather is in very poor health, with a severe case of diabetes. Linh’s grandparents are obviously very proud of their granddaughter and want nothing more than to give her all the opportunities they can so that she can eventually rise from the poverty level they currently exist in.
Linh lives in Binh Tan district. I have only had time to tutor her once a week. I believe her schedule is flexible. She should be available on weekends and most evenings. Depending where you live, her grandparents might be able to drive Linh to your house/apartment to be tutored.
If anyone reading this can tutor or knows of someone that can tutor Binh and Linh please contact me ASAP. They are both very enthusiastic and hard workers. I hope to be able to free up some time in the future and continue to help these 2 very deserving young ladies, but until then I need someone that can generously devote some time to a very good cause.