Merali Scholars participated in 5-day volunteering trip in Ba Vi

On July 9, 2017

Over five days (01-05/07), seven female students in the Merali Girls Scholarship Program (Season 2) participated in a  volunteering trip in Yen Son Village, Ba Vi Commune, Ba Vi District, Hanoi. There, the girls organized many interesting and useful activities for more than 50 children in the village focusing on the following topics: exploring, promoting the community, and protecting the environment. Activities such as recycling, painting, modeling, drawing medicinal plants’ leaves, caregiving, and interacting with nature through games attracted many young children to participate. The program’s objectives are to create an interesting, beneficial, and playful environment for children in the Yen Son village to learn and study during the summer.Learning about the team members helped the scholars be acquainted with the children on the first day.

Learning about the team members helped the scholars be acquainted with the children on the first day.

On the first day, the girls and more than 50 children were divided into 8 small groups. Each group had a female student in charge. Groups got acquainted with each other, learned each other’s hobbies, likes and dislikes, nicknames, habits…

Nguyen Thi Sen, a second-year student in Construction Economics, is one of seven students in the volunteer program. At the beginning, she had difficulties managing the children. "The children are too young, so sometimes I even do not know how to make them understand what I have said", said Sen.

Nguyen Thi Sen, a second-year student in Construction Economics, is one of seven students in the volunteer program. At the beginning, she had difficulties managing the children. “The children are too young, so sometimes I even do not know how to make them understand what I have said”, said Sen.

Over the next three days, many activities were organized, which attracted many children to participate.

Painting with the theme "Life around us" aimed to help the children be aware of human impacts on nature. To make these paintings, the children gathered items such as leaves, dry wood, straws, newspapers, disposable chopsticks, etc. to add detail to the paintings. The photos show the presentation of the finished product.

Painting with the theme “Life around us” aimed to help the children be aware of human impacts on nature. To make these paintings, the children gathered items such as leaves, dry wood, straws, newspapers, disposable chopsticks, etc. to add detail to the paintings. The photos show the presentation of the finished product.

A swing made from straws, colored paper, and removed prongs. The girls taught the children to make many toys such as watches, pigs, cars, etc. using recyclable materials.

A swing made from straws, colored paper, and removed prongs. The girls taught the children to make many toys such as watches, pigs, cars, etc. using recyclable materials.

Children were racing cars made from toilet paper rolls.

Children were racing cars made from toilet paper rolls.

A watch is recycled from a carton box, water bottle caps, and straws.

A watch is recycled from a carton box, water bottle caps, and straws.

Besides the environmental education activities, the volunteer program also focused on teaching and promoting the traditional medicine of the Dao ethnic people in Ba Vi.

The children were painting the leaves of medicinal plants - by putting a white paper on the leaf and using a pencil or crayon to sketch the veins. Then, they talked about the name and the usage of that tree.

Besides the environmental education activities, the volunteer program also focused on teaching and promoting the traditional medicine of the Dao ethnic people in Ba Vi. The children were painting the leaves of medicinal plants – by putting a white paper on the leaf and using a pencil or crayon to sketch the veins. Then, they talked about the name and the usage of that tree. 

They were also instructed on how to bandage open wounds on hands.

They were also instructed on how to bandage open wounds on hands.

Other activities such as experiencing nature through the five senses, playing games, and flash-mob dancing were also particularly enjoyed by the children.

Flash-mob dancing keep the kids focused and brought in an exciting atmosphere to the start of the program.

Flash-mob dancing keep the kids focused and brought in an exciting atmosphere to the start of the program.

The scholars and the children performed a show, with the flash-mob at the closing party.

The scholars and the children performed a show, with the flash-mob at the closing party.

On Wednesday night, all of the volunteers, local youth, and children enjoyed a campfire and danced together despite the heavy rain.

On Wednesday night, all of the volunteers, local youth, and children enjoyed a campfire and danced together despite the heavy rain.

Nguyen Thi Hong (A second-year student majoring in Construction at National University of Civil Engineering) shared her thoughts at the end of the volunteering trip: “The fire burned brightly, we held hands tightly, ran around the fire under the rain, sang the victory song. I have never lived as full as that moment. We laughed, were happy, were companions together. I do not know what your feelings were, but to me, that night was so perfect and wonderful. Together, we are forming a part of youth. I am looking forward to coming back here after such wonderful days”.

Merali scholars were taking photos with the children in Yen Son village.

Merali scholars were taking photos with the children in Yen Son village.

This 5-day volunteer program at Yen Son village was not only a chance for students to practice many skills and to socialize, but also to create many memorable memories and more valuable friendships in the Ba Vi mountain village.

More photos here.

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