I have been in Vietnam a couple of days now and so far it has made a huge impression on me. (Many pictures here if you want an impression) To be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. I had never been to Asia before even, and never have been in contact in any shape or form with orphanages. Funny that before you go out you do have an expectation of what you will see, I guess everything revolves around perception. How you look at something and how it comes across.
The first couple of days were spent observing. Talking to the people of Orphan Impact to figure out what their challenges are delivering computer skill training in these orphanages in Vietnam. We visited two orphanages to see how these classes are delivered, and personally I spent time just observing the kids to see how they are consuming it. What struck me is the drive / the fun these kids had. We watched the change of a group and these kids were waiting at the door and as soon as the hour was over they literally ran in. What Orphan Impact does for these kids matters. As Tad of Orphan Impact said, it makes such a big difference for these kids that in one orphanage they have seen the runaway / elope literally drop down to 0 and that was attributed by the Orphanage director to the classes provided.
Another thing that stood out during these days was how these kids used the computers, what they were doing during the classes and what kind of material they used for their assignments. It is great to see that they are not just doing the exercises but also use the time for “social” purposes. Seeing those kids switch between their email / exercises / facebook was great. Seeing them use Google to look-up a picture of Messi to use that in their assignment was eye-opening. These kids were very resourceful in many ways.
Talking about resourcefulness, something that struck me walking around in Vietnam, the level of entrepreneurship throughout the country / city is extremely high. On every street corner and every street facing window you will see someone trying to sell something. Mini-startups in a sense you could say. I guess talking about perception, when you are on a holiday and you are being asked every minute if you want to buy something it can be annoying. It is good to realize that this is their way of surviving. Look at it from their perspective when you run in to a situation like this.
During our kick-off event multiple Vietnamese entrepreneurs were invited, and I know some may think that what we do won’t make a difference in the long run, I can tell you that it already did. During our kick-off event their was an introduction by the VMware team, Team4Tech and Orphan Impact, which as I have explained earlier is a US ran non profit organization that employs local (Vietnamese) people to teach these kids. One of the entrepreneurs said and I quote: seeing people from the US (and other parts of the world) coming to Vietnam to help our people makes me realize that I can do more myself for my own people. That by itself was worth the trip if you ask me.
That is it for now, just a short summary of what we’ve been up to far. The upcoming days will be spent discussing what their problems/challenges are, how we potentially can solve this.
*** I know many of my fellow technology lovers have a big heart. I would like to ask each and everyone of you who has enjoyed reading my articles to donate something to either Team4Tech or Orphan Impact. ***