Bo De pagoda is a place of Buddhist worship. According to Buddhist custom, pagodas welcome all kinds of people in different situations and help them to find solutions to their problems. The female monks who live in the Bo De pagoda always aim to help people and act in a peaceful and respectful way toward others. Since 2008, the head monk of the pagoda decided to set up a refuge where voluntarily offers place for people who have no family or home to go to. Bo De Pagoda has approximately 50 children (mostly orphans) living in the pagoda: around 40 infants and 10 secondary pupils. There are also some women (called nannies) who also live at the pagoda and take care of the children. In 2012, volunteers' work has predominantly been in the operation of the "kindergarten". The word "kindergarten" is used very loosely as the children who attend are aged 6 months to 3 years, hence it is more of a child care facility than a kindergarten.
Your role is essentially as an extra pair of hands, and where children are involved, the more help available the better! At our care placements it is important that you show the initiative and enthusiasm to immerse yourself into the job and spend your time productively. As well as helping with the day-to-day running of the classroom you will also have the freedom to come up with games and activities to keep the children amused and occupied. We recommend that you come prepared with ideas and materials (puzzles, coloring books, basic language books, children's books, sports equipment, toys, etc). You could even teach some basic English and maths, if you feel this would be useful to the children. Art, music, drama and sport are always popular!
It's important that volunteers at Bode Pagoda are willing to be open and put in the effort to get to know the children and nannies. Spend your lunch break socializing and you'll have a much more rewarding experience. The volunteers play with the children, coordinate morning tea, prepare craft and music activities and provide physical care of the children as necessary (changing and washing). This role also involves modeling correct behaviour for the children and nannies regarding non physical discipline, healthy eating, mouth and hand hygiene and fair play. There are children who attend the kindergarten who have disabilities (down syndrome, deaf, mute, limb deformities). These children require particular attention from the volunteers to engage them in activities and provide them with adequate stimulation. Because of the age group of the children at the pagoda currently (in 2015), this role may change over time. For instance, as these children grow older, they will be able to study English in formal lessons. The role of the volunteer is challenging because of the diverse needs of the children depending on age and development.
+ Assist teachers in instructing children on writing (holding their hands to write letters) and Maths (addition and subtraction)
+ Teach children to draw simple things like houses, trees, etc.
+ Games with numbers (like Bingo)
+ Lessons on emotional skills
+ Brush teeth
+ Wash hair
+ Wash hands and feet
Leisure activities: Hanoi has many historical and cultural landmarks and is a popular destination for tourists. Visiting the Old Quarter or traditional trade villages are good choices for volunteers at weekends or during free-time. Many cultural festivals are held in Hanoi annually so this is a great chance for volunteers to explore the Capital which is over 1000 years old. Moreover, you can spend your weekend trips visiting tourist destinations and beautiful landscapes in Vietnam such as Ha Long Bay (one of the world’s natural wonders), Sapa (moutaineous area in the Notherwest), Hoi An (an ancient town in the middle of Vietnam), Nha Trang, etc…
Accommodation: We will provide volunteers with 3 accommodation options: shared apartment, home stay, or the hostel that normally accommodates our volunteers. Accommodation options will depend upon availability at the time. All three options are very comfortable with something to suit all tastes and are usually less than $10 a day. This will vary with the seasons.
Meals: We will assist the volunteers to find restaurants, cafe's to best meet their needs and show the location of each place and also cater for volunteers with special dietary needs. Most basic meals in Vietnam can be had for less than $3 dollars. Please note that your meals will be provided by the host if you choose home stay and you can cook for yourself if you choose shared apartment.
Support from VVCD:
Visa, Airport Pick up, Orientation Program
Placement in a quality project, allowing you to maximize your time and efforts for a good cause
Guidance and support of the local Coordinator (24/7 in case of emergency)
Site visits, ongoing support during the term of the assignment