Flip Your Flop and make the world go round

Students in San Sa Ho 1 Primary school with their new rain boots

Students in San Sa Ho 1 Primary school with their new rain boots

In July 2018, our education team organized a conference named Flip Your Flop to serve teachers in Lao Cai and Ha Noi. During the last days of the conference, our team members and the participants of the conference raised enough money to purchase rain boots for 202 students in San Sa Ho school, Sa Pa.

This week, shortly after the school year started, the rain boots arrived and were handed to each student. These boots will keep the students dry and warm in the coming winter.

Our team of teachers not only transformed the fellow teachers they were engaging with, they inspired them to transform someone else’s life.

Thank you education team!

Transformation in the Education Domain - San Sa Ho

San Sa Ho making headlines. In this meeting between school principals and government officials, the noted highlight in education in San Sa Ho was the increased enrollment rate and attendance rate in the three levels of schools.

This result is due much to the teachers' hard work and dedication for their students. In the past years, we have been able With our team engagements and projects, we are privileged to contribute to their result. 


Highlights from the article: 

School attendance rate is high: 95% in Kindergarten, 97% in Primary, and 88-93% in Middle School (a 3% increase since 2005)
Enrollment rate: 100% of 5 year old into Kindergarten, 100% 6 year old into 1st grade, 97% students into middle school, 45% students graduates from middle school and go into high school and trade schools.

Mr. Ly meeting with San Sa Ho government Officials

Original article:


New School Model - How the community is changing in Sa Pa - Education Domain

After years of engaging in the education domain in Lao Cai, the local community has now taken on the idea of student centered learning. Past and current engagements such as buffalo donation, nutrition program, construction projects improve the school campus and build relationships among the community at the same time. 

We can see not only students and teachers growing on their own, but also how they are growing together and with their community

For new school model schools, community is an important element of school education. The community is involved in the planning, consultation, and control and evaluation of the school's educational activities. Parents have a great understanding, interest and support for educational activities.

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Sa Pa Department of Education and Training held a seminar on teaching the new school model in Vietnam and the school model associated with the practical level of the school year 2017-2018.

In the school year 2017-2018, Sa Pa Department of Education and Training actively instructs the implementation of teaching in the new school model in Vietnam, in which attention is directed deeply teaching and practice, one of the measures only It is the training, examination counseling to help teachers on-site in the implementation of teaching innovation and how to guide students to learn. On October 27, 1977, at Ta Phin Primary School, Sa Pa Education & Training held a symposium. Organizing the symposium is one of the measures to promote professional activity in accessing and implementing innovation. Promote the emulation movement in schools;encourage, encourage and create opportunities for teachers to exchange and learn; Teachers are trained, self-taught and creative. Through workshops to help management detect, Scaling up professional guidelines and that is really the core of expertise in elementary schools. Through the workshop, staffs and teachers will have the opportunity to exchange, share and learn from each other, to express and confirm their professional competence and evaluate the implementation of the innovation topics at the grassroots level. Department.

The workshop took place in one day, all members participated in the workshop, were able to experience the learning activities of the students, study the lesson and evaluate the effectiveness after the lesson. individual student. After class, the whole workshop will take part in the student experience. Guide students to follow the clubs in the School-related model of tourism. Through the activities of the club, students have been practicing on such topics as: brocade embroidery club; the dance club with ethnic instruments Hmong, Dao; The National Herbal Medicine Club, Dao Ethnic Minority Club, Children Guide Club ...

Throughout the workshop, the schools agreed on the steering: managers and teachers at schools implementing the new school model made many efforts, actively approached the study, bravely change the way, overcome difficulties to exploit the positive aspects of the model suitable for students, really towards learners, detect and promote the progress of learners; Teachers are flexible, proactive in the management of learning activities, have notebooks to record, monitor and comment to promote the learning process of students; Record the content that needs to be adjusted in the document as this is a new set of documents to put into practice. Most teachers have understood and applied clearly the innovations in teaching methods, promote the positive of students, overcome the one-way transfer knowledge transfer to the organization for students to self-study, to promote their own capacity and qualities, so through the school model teaching new schools have accreted nursing the team;Teachers are encouraged to be self-reliant to meet the needs of their students; Students are given the task of performing self-study, self-interacting with materials, confidently performing and protecting opinions in group activities; individual students support each other in learning, confident, confident in communication; open, share with others, listen to opinions of others ... Students are given the task of performing self-study, self-interacting with materials, confidently performing and protecting opinions in group activities; individual students support each other in learning, confident, confident in communication; open, share with others, listen to opinions of others ... Students are given the task of performing self-study, self-interacting with materials, confidently performing and protecting opinions in group activities; individual students support each other in learning, confident, confident in communication; open, share with others, listen to opinions of others ...

Schools are truly an environment for children and adolescents, all educational activities aimed at developing the capacity to help students learn how to live together, to learn together peacefully, democratically, understand and respect the difference of any individual. In addition to learning activities on knowledge and skills; Students also learn the value of being human, sharing with the community; The spirit of solidarity to protect the country.Respect the difference of all students: here all students are respected, given their opinions. Each class, each school as a miniature society, all students have the same rights and duties.

For new school model schools, community is an important element of school education. The community is involved in the planning, consultation, and control and evaluation of the school's educational activities. Parents have a great understanding, interest and support for educational activities. In terms of teaching content, the community has participated in developing the content of experiential teaching, supporting addresses with business establishments and production establishments in the locality, helping schools in the educational work. Career guidance, support for experiential teaching with relevant knowledge lessons. Some state administrative agencies have good coordination, as a basis for comprehensive education for students. Some individuals have made great contributions as they came to school to teach folk games, dances; Tell your story history, ... 

New school model in Vietnam, School associated with tourism  deployment in Sa Pa is really a school for children.The learning content, the educational activities are directed to children. Caring and respecting the survival and development of each student; Follow-up to discover, support to students progress each day. Teachers have dropped out on lectures and lectures, focusing on organizing activities, observing, guiding, supporting and motivating the learning process of each individual student.

                                                      Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan (Sa Pa Education and Training) 

Original Article in Vietnamese


Gratitude - Family Domain Engagement with NCS Summer Camp

Norfolk Summer Camp 2018

Photos from 2018 Summer Camp with NCS and SS3

Gratitude. What a simple word that’s thrown around with nonchalance. I guess you could say that most people in America have reason to be grateful given the freedoms and wealth of our nation, but it took traveling to the other side of the world for me to gain a better understanding and clearer perspective of what it really means to exude sincere gratitude.

Upon arriving in Vietnam for the 3rd time, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what I would encounter. And I was right about a lot of things- the traffic, the food, the humidity. However, one thing that I could never have anticipated was the very simple lesson God wanted to remind me of through the exemplary children of SS3.

Our service trip began with 3 full days of summer camp with the children at SS3. We were able to work with kids of all ages, which made it energetic, chaotic, but oh so fun! After the camp was over, we took some of the older children to Cuc Phuong for an overnight trip where we focused on team building and forgiveness. We did different activities with them to promote these ideas all while interspersing pool time, delicious food at the restaurant, and countless games of ninja. During these days of loving on and playing with the kids, I was constantly struck by one particular thing- their gratitude. Their gratitude for our team being there.

Their gratitude for a smile or an outstretched hand for them to hold. Gratitude for play time instead of working to make sure the orphanage runs smoothly. I remember looking into so many cheerful eyes and thinking about how dire their situations were in comparison to the lavish life I’m blessed to have in America. Why weren’t they complaining about their living conditions? Why weren’t they sulking about their REAL problems? This struck me so hard, and I came to this conclusion- they are grateful and I am so often not.

As I walk away from another wonderful missions trip in Vietnam, I can say that the father has certainly done his work. I know that anything done in his name will be fruitful, so I just trust that our team made a lasting impact on the kids of SS3. I know that these children found their ways into each of our hearts and will be covered in prayer as we leave them. I came here to serve- to be his hands and feet in a foreign land on the other side of the world. However, these children reminded me to be grateful in every situation, because let’s be honest, if they exude gratitude, so should I.


A month in Vietnam - Austin Mitchell's internship in Hanoi

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July 5th 2013

Austin and Hoang Anh hanging out at Summer Camp

HANOI, June 2018 - Austin Mitchell first came to Vietnam on a summer camp trip with GVI. Since the first trip, he has developed a passion for children in Vietnam. After graduating from high school this summer, Austin has decided to intern with GVI Vietnam for a month, leading up to this year's summer camp with Birla. Follow Austin's story below and see how a high school graduate can impact lives in Hanoi.

Being mission-minded, to me, means taking those skill sets, weaving them together, and meeting needs.

I’m sitting here at Helio Cafe, right down the street from the school where I’ve been teaching for the past couple of weeks. Having commandeered a corner table here for myself, I use it to eat and read after my classes on weekdays. And the classes, which include anywhere from fifteen to thirty sixth-grade students, are reason enough for some quiet time! In all sincerity, though, as a GVI intern it’s been incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to fill a volunteer post teaching English at Dịch Vọng Middle School, where I’ve gotten to know about eighty students who are just starting their perilous stint in middle school. As Hanoi becomes more and more of a global city, English language programs are very much sought-after by school administrators, and so I’m glad to be able to model ELL skills with my students, with the help of some awesome high school freshmen.

Linh and Hương, the high school volunteers who’ve helped me with the classes.

Our lessons, which will conclude the day after I write this post, have taken place in the form of practice conversations and group activities. We’ve written comics, compared Vietnamese and American holidays, and acted out charades. All of our activities are based in small groups, which I understand the students will remain a part of throughout the school year. The kids’ eagerness to participate, and their surprisingly broad English knowledge (some of these 12-year-olds are fluent!) have made a big impression on me. Seriously, I’ve know high school seniors who can’t engage in a foreign language like these middle-schoolers can. I’ve also come to appreciate the superhuman levels of patience my teachers have exercised for the past twelve years. Very quickly I’ve learned why my teachers did that thing where they stood in menacing silence and dared us to keep talking over them, and also that thing where they always managed to assign me to a different group than my best friends. I guess the realization—that teachers are as courageous as shark tank cleaners, and probably less appreciated—comes a few weeks too late. (I picked up my diploma from school two days before flying to Hanoi.) While I’m not even an adult yet, I’ve been consistently mistaken this month to be in my mid-twenties. I guess this is due partly to my ultramature, wise-beyond-my-years personality, and also due partly to the fact that I’m 10 inches taller than the average Vietnamese adult.

Students from class 6I write words to accompany the blank comics on the worksheet.

Here, students gleefully made their classmates contort after we reviewed English words for the parts of the body.

Class 6B at 7:59, right before the lesson started.

It’s honestly kind of poetic that my first attempt at adulting should take place on the other side of the globe from Texas, in a city where I’ve stumbled from one daily life task to another. When going out for lunch on my own, choosing a restaurant is a roll of dice, especially when nobody can seem to understand my American accent. The word “broken” isn’t strong enough to characterize my command of the Vietnamese language, but it’s almost appropriate for characterizing the motorbike I nearly knocked over this morning as I dismounted it in front of the middle school, in full view of students and staff. Speaking of which, as an almost 200-pound human it’s amazing how much power I have over traffic patterns from the back of a motorbike. I’m like a rudder; if I lean right even slightly, that entire side of the street has to slow down, which gives me the immense privilege of being audience to a beautiful sixty-part ensemble of bike and bus horns.

This tasteful selfie shows my altitude compared to everyone else on the road, including the driver, whose head, as you can see, only goes up to my chin.

This tasteful selfie shows my altitude compared to everyone else on the road, including the driver, whose head, as you can see, only goes up to my chin.

Tan and his family have graciously bent over backwards to help me feel comfortable as part of the household, part of GVI, and part of their neighborhood community. That means being together for meals and chores, morning exercise at the neighborhood lake, and a road trip this weekend with the whole family! And being part of GVI meant help getting to a doctor when jet lag combined with mysterious allergies and cold symptoms to form an infection trifecta for a few days.

But as soon as I was feeling healthy, I started classes and visits to Birla Children’s Village, where I’ve been involved for seven years now. Most of the Children (the main demographic in the Children’s Village) are gone for the summer holiday, leaving behind about ten elementary kids and a dozen or so seniors, who’re busy studying for college entrance exams. So I’ve been operating in unofficial capacity as Minister of Playtime from 3 to 5. It’s during this time that I’ve really actualized my potential to alternate between human jungle gym and human safety net under the metal jungle gym used by the primary schoolers to perform death-defying feats. I’ve also learned new techniques for enticing children to help with chores, and have noticed a knack for making up games on the spot that won’t leave anyone crying. And I've figured out that while “anh bé” means “baby boy,” “anh bế” means “carry me.” So when the youngest resident at Birla, a three-year-old, shouts it at me I shouldn’t just nod and give him a thumbs-up.

For the kids at Birla who don’t go home to their families during the summer, I’m told it feels sometimes like they’re languishing, just waiting for everyone else to get back and for structured life to resume. So, like, they’d prefer to be in class to just sitting around in the humidity. So this aspect of my internship with GVI gives me an opportunity to use my skill set (being extremely charming, among other things) to get them up and moving at a set time every day. The childcare domain is as important as education, I think; in both ways, there’s a channel for showing love while also practically enriching the lives of kids, be that with social skills, exercise, or educational content. Being mission-minded, to me, means taking those skill sets, weaving them together, and meeting needs.

Game night at Birla Children’s Village.

I’m not sure why, but my legs are these kids’ vehicle of choice.

Here I’m popping a squat next to two elementary kids in their second day at Birla, alongside their older house-brothers.

120 Hours - A story of friendship

Huy and Weston in a bumper car during the first trip in 2015

Huy and Weston in a bumper car during the first trip in 2015

HANOI, June 2018 - In 2015, Weston Dove traveled to Vietnam for the first time on a trip with his school to engage with children living at SS3. He first met Huy on this trip and they became friends. 

Over the last three years, their friendship has allowed Huy and Weston to have significant impact on each other's life. 

Check out the video below to see their story and catch a glimpse of our Summer Camp for children living in orphanages.

Not Your Usual Christmas Present – A Look at the Good Deed Project

This Christmas season, we hosted a party and gave presents to 34 children living at SS3. But these gifts were not ordinary gifts. As part of our Good Deed project that started in 2016, the boys and girls at SS3 built a wishlist for Christmas. This step was to send them a message that “We value you and your personal opinion and character”.

After writing down the items they wanted for Christmas, the children had to save up with their good deeds. Point was awarded for every good action such as (keeping rooms clean, chores, good grades, helping others, community service, etc. ). Point was taken away if they broke the rules in the orphanage or at school. This project was intended to reward good behaviors and discourage negative behaviors.

For 6 months, score was kept and updated every week. By Christmas, the top 5 performers with the highest score received the most amount of gifts, according to their wish-list of course. The next 5 received less gifts, and the rest received 1 item from their wish-list. The children were ecstatic, because not only they received the gifts they wanted, they saw the fruit of their hard work. This was to another step to say “You have value, and your voice does matter”.

Through this project, we were able to gain trust from the children. Before, every time we held an activity or organized an event involving the children, they had a difficult time listening and following directions. By the end of this year, we observed a shift in their attitude. They listened with attention, followed our instructions with respect and punctuality.

The feedback from the orphanage staff indicated that most of the children started to take chores and responsibilities seriously. We observed a change in the orphanage staff as well. They were stressed out because the children wouldn’t listen and showed “rebellious” behaviors. But now they are asking us to help them, so they can do a better job as moms.

We'd like to thank our donors and sponsors who made this project possible; your support have transformed the hearts of the children and staff living in this orphanage.

A Boy Name Hieu - Little Rainbow Story

In my class, there is boy named Hieu. He has is 2 year old, has a small and bony posture. The first days were painful; he was stubborn and every time he didn’t get what he wanted, he would get angry, lay down on the floor and start crying. Every time we had guests, Hieu retreats to a corner by himself. He didn’t want to interact with strangers. I was perplexed when he behave in this way. “What can I do to better help these kids? What will happen tomorrow?” I asked myself.

I tried different methods with stern rules, with punishments, with tenderness, with love. At the end, I chose love to help these children change. With patience and persistence toward Hieu, I started to see the small changes in Hieu. Instead of crying out loud on the floor, he now smiles and laughs a lot. Instead of isolating himself in a corner, he is now playing with people. I have seen and learned the power of love. I believe that not only Hieu, but all the children in my class will be transformed.

Business Team Engagement

The seminar on Startup Ecosystem at Vietnam Women Union gathered a wide range of attendees, from senior staff of the Union, leaders of Women Business Association and female business owners. During the seminar, one of the activities was pitching a startup company in front of prospect investors.

Each group of attendees had a 2 minute pitch to sell to their investors. The products given them were ordinary everyday items such as forks, knifes, spoons, and scissors. Every group was highly engaged to come up with a pitch for the product. Our team was impressed by the enthusiasm extruded by the speakers of each group.

The session continued on with Barry Goldberg introducing the different components of a startup ecosystem. The

During their week serving in Hanoi, the Business Team engaged with Center for Women and Development (CWD) for the first time. The day long workshop focused on Sales and Marketing. Vicky Scott and Sharla Chambers took turns explaining the Sales Cycle and Marketing strategies. The key point of this session was shifting the mindset of business owners from seller focused to customer focused. For businesses in the Vietnamese culture, this concept is difficult to adopt and practice. The key staff from CWD, including those who manages their hotel, restaurant, shops and services were divided into 3 groups to apply these methods and techniques to their own case study.

“We heard about customer focus here and there, but we never had the chance to look at it as a whole system like this. We also had no idea how to apply those ideas to reality, but today, we can use our own businesses to implement these changes.”

Each attendee left the workshop with a copy of the materials and an action plan to apply what they learn to better sell their products and services. The Business Team did more than just transferring knowledge. As the session went on, CWD staff discussed different challenges and issues that they were facing. This was a confirmation that our team has helped the staff to reconsider their approaches and practices to business. Such discussions are the stepping stones for future changes and impact.

Kathleen Hindman, a Managing Director in Texas prepared college seniors for a job interview. After the workshop, students at Vietnam Women Institute understood the preparation and steps toward a job interview.

The Business Team also held a mock interview between Kathleen and Che Walker to illustrate how a job interview would be conducted and how they can have an effective interview to secure the position.

The Q&A session was loaded with questions from the students. Time ran out before our team could answer all their questions. This shown us the interest an eagerness of these bright college students toward the workforce.

Both the CWD and the Women Institute has extended their invitations for our Team to come next year. For future engagement, we need people with business experience and background. For more information, please contact us at info@glocalventures.org

This year was the first time our team has engaged with CWD. Such opportunity has opened the door for future engagement. We also had the chance to better understand the organization and its operations. CWD is similar to a social enterprise; they have the business services such as hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, retail shops. On the other hand, CWD also operates social services such as a domestic abuse and human trafficking rescue center, a kindergarten, a library and consulting services. Their mission is to serve the underprivileged women in Vietnam, which aligns with GVI’s mission. Perhaps in the future, they can become one of our strategic partners.

The beginning of Little Rainbow Kindergarten



Little Rainbow Nursery Teacher

On September 15th 2017, my class opened. I started the new school year with five children (age 24 to 36 months, one with autism, one with Down syndrome). I was excited thinking about teaching children in a spacious classroom.

But no. Because there were only five children, I was advised not to use the large beautiful classroom. I taught them in their own sleeping room. Every day, I came to the classroom, gathered my teaching supplies, prepared the activities for the day and then brought everything to the sleeping room and held class there. The room was small, multiple cribs surrounded the room and left only a few feet of space in the middle for me to use.

After 3 weeks, the new director visited the orphanage and saw our class. She notified me that she would move these five children up to the new classroom. From that day, I could teach these children in a better environment.

Our class have only 5 children; but they were underdeveloped in every aspect: language, cognition, ethics, etc. This was a challenge for me. Every day, I tried to play and communicate with the children here. The children were excited and happy when they come to class, play, and explore with me. I hoped that more children would be able to come to this classroom.

A few days later, the vice director of the center came to our class. She saw the children laughing, playing, and jumping around the room. She said she’d send five more children aged 18-24 months to the class and join the afternoon activities.

I was delighted because we now had five more children in the class and I had the opportunity to play with them and teach them. My class now has 10 children. Every day, they grow and learn to listen more. I love them and I really like this job.

Talent Show - Family Domain Engagement

The talent show, is it just for fun? Absolutely not.

Every year, we host summer camps for children living orphanages in Hanoi. The first night of camp usually include a talent show. This is where children, staff from orphanages as well as our volunteers show their talents and skills. The entertainment value is great and that’s the impact that can be seen easily. But let’s dig deeper into the real impact that you make as a volunteer.

To understand the solution, we first have to understand the problem. Orphaned children face tremendous challenges; everyone knows that for a fact. When you think of an orphaned child, what does he or she look like? Are you picturing a sad face? Old dirty clothes? Perhaps a hungry child? If you have been on our orphan trip, you are probably giggling reading this right now. Our common perception of orphans deceives us into thinking orphans are less than normal. That same perception puts us onto an imaginary throne to reach down and lift these orphans up. But is that really the case?

What we have learned through the years working orphans is that their challenges are often relational. One of the most common problem is a lack of self-esteem. If there is one thing all orphans has in common, it is that they had a broken family. A child is a seed full of potentials and possibilities; a family supports and foster that seed to grow and become a tree. But when there is no one to affirm these boys and girls of their great abilities and potentials, they grow up thinking they are not capable. The results are orphans who have the technical trade skills but struggle to find a job, orphans who never used their talents, and orphans denying themselves of their success. On the other side of the spectrum, we have seen orphans growing up trying to impress their friends to prove themselves. Both ends of this spectrum are problematic and we never want to see our children in either one of them.

Have you ever felt like you are not good enough? Have you ever tried to impress your friends because of your insecurities? Are you the orphaned? By now, you can see that these boys and girls are struggling with the same deep issue that we struggle with. The same power that created you, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Shakespeare, created them too. These young guys and gals hold as much potentials as you do.

Congratulations! By seeing orphans in an understanding and loving way, you already stepped off that imaginary throne. Now let’s get back to the talent show. Through this talent show, we give our children an audience who values and appreciates them for who they are, because they are beautiful and talented individuals. We do not have judges for our talent shows, because we celebrates their uniqueness, not condemn their differences. We share our own imperfect, clumsy, not so awe-inspiring talents with them, because we are just as broken as they are, just in different ways. 

The impact does not stop there. Leading up to the summer camps, our children spent months practicing and preparing for their performance. We also provide classes to teach them arts such as music, drawing, and dance. Through these classes, we were to teach them critical values such as perseverance, social responsibilities, and self-discipline. These are the values and skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.

Now you know why the talent show is such an important aspect of our summer camp. Are you ready to change a child’s life? Contact us for more information on this trip at info@glocalventures.org

Happy New Year!

If you are wondering why we are wishing you Happy New Year in February, it’s the Lunar New Year in Vietnam. In Vietnamese, we call it Tet. This is the season for family to gather and celebrate. Along with traditional food, each family will have a peach tree in their house. The houses are decorated with festive red and yellow décor. 

One of the cultural traditions is to write on the first day of the New Year. Therefore, we are writing to you, our glocal family today. This past year was a wonderful year for our team in Vietnam, the four domains we focused on (Education, Medical, Economics and Family) saw tremendous transformation. The relationships with our local partners have flourished as well, allowing us to engage deeper with each domain and community.

Looking back at 2016, we are most grateful for you, our family and friend. Because of your talents, we were able to build, to heal, to teach, to serve. Because of your support, we could transform thousands of lives. Because in everything you have done, you have done in love, thousands of hearts were transformed. We put together a video to show you’re the impact you made here. While the facts are impressive the real impact you left was even more powerful.

Thank you for your time, talents, and resources. We truly appreciate you.

This New Year, we wish you and your family a wonderful year. Let’s walk boldly into the year of the Rooster as one family, a glocal family.

A month in Vietnam - Shaylie Maskell's Internship

1.      Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Shaylie Maskell, I am 19 years old, born and raised in Canberra, and just entering my second year at university, studying Secondary Teaching, History and French. I have been teaching dance for the last few years and love to perform, whether dancing, singing or acting. In my spare time I love to read, write, go for long walks and hang out with my friends.

2.      What did you do during your internship with GVI?

I assisted Hue with teaching English to the Rainbow Kinder and My Dinh Nursery children. I also taught a dance class to the older children at SS3 and hosted and English Club once a week. I also enjoyed a lot of flexible free time which I used to explore the area I was living in, prepare for lessons, talk to my family and friends, and walk around the more touristy areas.

3.      What were your reasons for coming back to Vietnam?

God has inspired me with a love for Vietnam. I love the culture and the people, and they always make me feel so welcome every time I come there. I love to be able to help people, and to work with kids, so assisting at SS3 has been an awesome experience for me! Plus all the Vietnamese food is delicious!

4.      What was your favorite memory/experience?

I think one of my favourite memories was when I came into SS3 on a Saturday and all of the Rainbow Kinder children cried out “Chi Shaylie!” and ran up to me, hugging me, fighting for who got to hold my hand and dragging me around the courtyard. It was just so wonderful to see their smiling faces as they showed me around their home, I felt honoured that they enjoyed my company and wanted to welcome me into SS3. I also have fun memories of the English Club lesson where I showed the students Australian slang to see if they could work out what it meant, and discovering how ridiculous Australian English was!

5.      What impact did you hope to make in the community you served?

I really just hoped that God could use the Holy Spirit to shine through me and show his love to the people I worked with. I hoped to be able to share experiences with the community around me, to be able to help them grow their enthusiasm for English and to show them that there are people who care for them from all over the world.

6.      How did the community/children impact you on this trip?

In a big way! Apart from learning more about the culture, cuisine and language, the people inspired me to take a look at my own life and culture and improve it. I was inspired by the welcoming, friendly, kind people who opened their homes to me, and whose love for God and each other was strong. The kids’ resilience and friendship despite their unfortunate situation really made me feel especially conscious of what I can do with my privileged background to help the people around me.

7.      How did going to Vietnam shaped you as a person? 

Going to Vietnam helped me to really understand what life is like for the Vietnamese people and how their communities are so tightly knit by their experiences, but are still always so welcoming. I have come to realise the power of community, and the need for God’s love to be the thing that comes first and foremost in all lives. I carry this with me as I go about my life in Australia, and hope that I can use it to inspire others around me.

8.      Why do you think people should volunteer and serve in Vietnam?

I think that people should volunteer to serve in Vietnam because they will have a big impact on the people there. No matter how much you underestimate what your service would have, the snowball affect that can come from one person’s visit, from one person sharing their time and love with the Vietnamese people, can have a great reach than anyone could imagine. If you want to change the world, you can do it one person at a time!

9.      In three words, please summarize your experience as a GVI Intern in Vietnam.

Love, belonging, happiness

A lab to transform generations of nurses - Success Story of Our Partnership In The Medical Domain


Aside from mobilizing volunteer instructors to Nam Dinh Nursing University to teach, GVI also mobilized graduate students and faculty to the US for study tours. In 2014, Nam Dinh University opened the first clinical simulation lab in Vietnam. This simulation lab exhibits the physical transformation in Nam Dinh and serves as an ideal example of how GVI volunteers can use their profession and serve as catalyst for community development. This Stimulation Center will transform hundreds of nurses every year, who then use their skills to transfor millions of lives . 

The story behind this simulation lab is full of resilience, perseverance and creativity. Above all, it’s a story of a community taking charge to build a better future. Follow us through an interview with Ms. Chinh, director of the simulation center in Nam Dinh Nursing University.


Ms. Chinh

Simulation Lab Director

Tell us about how this simulation lab started?

The lab started as an idea in 2011. Our school wanted to create a facility to provide skill training for post-delivery care. We started out teaching skills and observing from recorded demos shown on a projector. In 2014, after working with the staff and faculty from Baylor University, we learned what clinical simulation is and the foundational knowledge and equipment needed to operate a simulation lab. A group of key staff was created to plan and build this simulation lab. With the support from GVI and Baylor University, we now have a simulation lab with 20 staff members.

Before this simulation lab was established, what needs did you see as a medical instructor?

We observed and realized a weakness in our students. Once our graduates started working in hospitals, they only knew to performing technical skills and failed to observe the patient’s expressions and feedback.

Before the simulation lab, students learned as individuals. They would go into labs, practice their skills on mannequin models individually. For example, needle insertion was practiced on a mannequin or a model arm. This method did not provide any feedback for the student; they had no way of knowing if the procedure was incorrect or causing pain. We wanted our students to be proactive learners and change their attitude toward patients. It was difficult for students to associate a low fidelity mannequin with a real human being. When students worked with separated arms, legs, heads, they could learn how to insert a needle, but not how the patient is responding to said procedure.

Professor Vivian Gamblian introducing their stimulation lab practices (2014)

What were your reasons for building this simulation lab?

We decided to open this center for two reasons. The first is to give students experiences and situations that are similar to the real environment they will operate in. Students will learn that they are caring for an entire human being, not just performing one technical skill or one part of the body.

The second is to allow room for error. May the student fails to perform a procedure, due to whatever reason, they are not causing serious harm to an actual patient and affecting the healthcare quality in an actual hospital.

During this journey, what were some obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Since we have never had a simulation lab before, we did not have a management model to derive from and we decided to create our own. We wrote a guide book for simulation to provide instructors with guidelines on what a simulation session is, what steps and preparation are needed. These guidelines were provided by Baylor instructors, but since simulation is brand new in Vietnam, we made adjustments to fit these guidelines into the local context.

The next step was creating scenarios. We developed our first scenario, tested it with a group of instructors, sat down together and provided feedback on how to move forward. For this first scenario, we duplicated a scenario provided by Baylor University and found out that such scenario was not compatible in Vietnam and did not closely reflect the real world environment for future nurses. We made adjustments and ran the adjusted scenario with a group of students.

I treasure the precious memories from this first simulation. The students were lost as they walked into the lab, even after we have instructed them on their roles and responsibilities. A patient model started screaming and the students simply did not know what to do and they froze. We realized that these students, unlike instructors, had absolutely no idea what clinical simulation was. We made more adjustments to fit our students and our classes. This was when we realized that we needed at least two instructors, one to explain and teach the students and another to control the technical simulation.

Small things such as recreating a wound was a learning experience for us! Our female staff used makeup, lipsticks and our creativity to recreate a wound but it did not look real. We consulted Google and learned that we need specific materials, and we have since built up our materials.

The models required a learning curve as well. The first models couldn’t talk or show expressions as a real person, but they did provide feedback in numbers and ratios. Students had a way of knowing what they did was right or wrong.  But these were still individual models, the students did not see the consequence of their actions, such as putting too much pressure on the heart and killing a patient. We provided this kind of feedback with instructors acting as family members and yelling at the students “What did you do? My husband turned purple and now he is dead!” These practices and experiences gave the students a clear look at their responsibilities as nurses.

Let’s talk a little bit about our volunteers from Baylor University. What else have these instructors bring with them other than academic and professional expertise?

They brought a lot. They have changed the learning dynamic in our school. Our students used to be very passive learners; they would only receive information from instructors. But since Baylor instructors had been here, our students and even instructors have changed. Our view on the current teaching methods changed. We now have a mutually respectful relationship in which the student and the teacher are equal.

The cultural exchange was also another benefit. Our own instructors have overcome their initial shyness working with foreign coworkers. The American instructors on the other hand have understood the Vietnamese culture and the relationships between students and teachers.

Over the past years, how have our volunteers (instructors) help your school?

Honestly, everything GVI and Baylor have done to support us exceeded our expectations. For example, we had absolutely no clue what simulation was before, and after these instructors came and passionately worked with us, we realized the importance of simulation and when we proposed the simulation lab, the idea received tremendous support from our school. I’m not saying this to give these instructors a pat in the back, but the reality is they have brought light to people in this this corner of the world. All the amazing transformation in the past years would not be possible without GVI and their volunteers.

Baylor Professor Renee Jones teaching a class of graduate nursing students

In the future, how do you plan to develop this simulation lab? How can we help you reach your goal?

First is human resources. We would like to have more training on the management, organization, and practicing simulation. We could learn a great deal from having instructors from other schools here or sending our instructors overseas on a study tour.

Second, our current staff lacks experience in simulation. They understand the concept of simulation but have never had any experience within an actual lab. We hope to have a group of experts to show us the actual simulation in the lab setting in Vietnam. We can use the feedback from these experts to find out how we can make this lab most effective.

Thank you for your time and dedication to this project, we hope the best for the Stimulation Center and your school!


UPDATE (January 17, 2017):

  • The Stimulation Center at Nam Dinh Nursing University is the largest stimulation lab in Vietnam (in terms of scale).
  • The Stimulation Center received tremendously positive feedback from nursing students. They love the experience and a lot of them ask to stay overtime in the lab. For the first time, these students had the opportunity to learn together and teach one another.
  • “They [the students] remind me of the first group of instructors visiting the stimulation lab at Baylor for the first time, how we froze on our feet and how we panicked with added pressure.” – A professor at Nam Dinh Nursing University.