Hanoi, November 2015. Social worker Kurt Pafford led a team of three to hold workshops in Hanoi to provide information on Child Abuse and how we can build strong familes. Sharing his own stories as a child growing up in an abusive environment, Kurt was able to connect with students, teachers and parents on a deeper level. On their first day, Kurt Pafford, Kelly Gibbs and Taylor Rosier explained the foundations of a strong family to the students, teachers and parents at Ban Mai School. The most fun part was when Kelly, who works as a nurse, talked about different love languages. Children and adults alike shared their own love language and how they want to be loved. The team were very impressed by the student’s English skills and confidence.
Taylor Rosier, who is a firefighter and paramedic, had the hard job of talking about traumas and hurtful experiences everyone had in their lives. While uncomfortable to talk about, this part of the workshop offered a safe environment for healing and peace. One student from Ban Mai went home after the workshop and talked to her mother, whose relationship with her had been hard. Kurt and his team were beyond happy when they heard that this mother – daughter relationship has improved drastically thanks to their workshop.
For the next two days, the team of three worked with the Social Service Department of the Hanoi National University. The social-worker-to-be students were engaging with every topic being discussed. For some, this workshop was a chance to make peace with their own past; for others, it was a learning experience about how to raise a strong family. Hang, a senior social work major explained: “Prior to this workshop, I’ve always thought I’d become a mom who makes enough money for my kids. But after today, I realized that it’s not just about the money or the job, or social status, but the love and emotional connections that will create and maintain family relationships”.
As for the team, Kurt, Kelly and Taylor all agreed that they have received back far more than what they had given Vietnam. Kurt claimed: “Since I’ve come to Vietnam, I have learned to love people better”.