PLACEMENT LOCATION: Mai Chau in Hoa Binh province
ROLE: Teach English and basic computer skills and help with the production and marketing of traditional hand-made products
ACCOMMODATION: Host family
LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 1 week
START DATES: Flexible
VVCD's Community Village project in Vietnam allows volunteers to get deeply immersed in the traditional ethnic culture of Vietnam, whether you are volunteering on a gap year, summer vacation, or career break. Volunteers on the Community Village Project become directly involved in the local community and culture of the beautiful village of Mai Chau in Hoa Binh province, where living is basic and far removed from city stresses.
The goal of the Community Village Project is to support the less fortunate and disabled artisans in Hoa Binh to turn their skills of traditional weaving, tailoring, and embroidering into a sustainable income by selling products like embroidered bags, wall hangings, scarves, and pillow covers. These artisans are the only ones in the Mai Chau area that provide hand-made, authentic woven and embroidered products.
Volunteers can get involved by spending time with the ethnic artisans teaching them English and basic computer skills. Volunteers who have any skills in design, patterning, craftwork, or marketing will be able to help them in these areas too.
Volunteers also help to set up and arrange two retail stalls, established to sell the products to visitors. One stall is located in Mai Chau village itself, the other in Ban Lac, a famous tourist attraction not far away.
If you are interested in traditional hand-made products and are on the project for several weeks, you may have the opportunity to learn the weaving and embroidery skills from the artisans and help produce simple items yourself.
Community Volunteering in Vietnam with VVCD
The village is home to the Thai people, one of 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam and not to be confused with Thai people from Thailand. Traditional village life is communal and friendly. Family homes are open to their neighbors, and the villagers live and work together.
The villagers live in stilt houses with basic amenities. The village’s location makes it one of many tourist attractions close to Hanoi. Most people visit the village on the weekends therefore lots of the traditional activities such as fireworks, dancing with bamboo, and traditional music shows are organized on the weekends.
Accommodation & Meals: Volunteers live with a local host family in the village. The mother of the host family is also a director of the project and will ensure that you soon feel at home and integrated into community life. You will live in the local, traditional manner, eating what the family eats and be immersed in their daily lives. Like most houses in the village, the house has outside toilet and bathing facilities.
In your free time you can learn how to cook traditional foods, study the local language, or explore some of the nearby sites, such as the natural stream, a cave in the middle of a mountain, or bicycle around the area to enjoy the views of huge green rice fields and the imposing mountains.
Transportation: The project is based about 4 hours’ drive from the busy capital Hanoi. Our VVCD staff will accompany the volunteers to the village on their first day for the induction and orientation. There might be a local volunteer supporting you during your stay, yet, you should be prepared for working independently and our staff will visit you every 2 weeks. Therefore, we expect that volunteers should have a mature attitude and be able to work under our limited assistance. You will normally have the opportunity to meet up with other volunteers on the weekends should you wish to travel.
This project is available for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.