by Judy Ashbrook & Mayra Santiago
Today, we had the great pleasure to visit the students and administration of the Saigon Children’s Charity (SCC) – a very worthwhile local charity which focuses on poverty reduction through education and training.
After a very informative presentation by the Communication Development Manager, Do Thi Xuan Phuc, we got an opportunity to talk to a group of students, ages 14-22, about why higher education is important, potential career opportunities they can consider, as well as sharing personal stories in order to get to know one another. There was a 20 minute dialogue back and forth sharing the importance of education, learning how it can help them in their life, and the students were very interested in learning about us and what we do! They heard about Margo’s work with the Disney internship program and learned that they could dream to be an intern and work at one day. Mayra spoke about coming from Puerto Rico and choosing to immerse herself in the American cultural and way of life, becoming a leader in Disney Company. We also enjoyed interacting with the students and staff through an ice breaker in which we broke up into 3 groups, had 5 minutes to create a team name, brand slogan and how we’d promote ourselves, and then present to the group. Three distinguished teams emerged based on commonalities between Stetson students and Saigon students. Our team was Magic Saigon – Magic to represent Magic Kingdom and Orlando Magic blended with their Saigon. We pictured fireworks over the Saigon skyline, and decided we would sell ourselves by promising magic through creativity, education, and innovation.
The students in this school have the opportunity learn skills in many areas such as hospitality, beauty, IT, English and photography. In order to fund their programs, SCC has many fund raising initiatives. For example, recently they have published a book of photographs taken by the students themselves reflecting Vietnam daily life. With proceeds from this book, SCC will be able to continue support the children of Vietnam with initiatives such as scholarship programs, school construction and training and educational development programs.
To end a wonderful time with this organization, we were able to show our support by purchasing several of the ‘coffee table’ books displaying this impressive collection of photographs taken by students and compiled over 5 years. We discussed on the bus to look for ways we could give back to them, and with 90% of the profits going directly back in the form of aid & scholarships these seemed perfect! Our total donation came to around US$500 which we will be used to help the kids of Ho Chi Minh City to be empowered and self-sufficient. This visit was an extremely rewarding and apt way to end our time in Vietnam!
Saigon Children’s Charity is truly making a difference in the lives of the children in Vietnam every day. We encourage you to follow this link below so that you can too can learn more about the Saigon Children’s Charity.