Leaving crowded and busy Ho Chi Minh City, a group of female college students decided to head for a rural village in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong to bring education to the local kids.
The students go to Gia Bac, a mountainous and poor commune in southeastern Lam Dong, every two to four weeks to teach and play with the underprivileged kids at a so-called Community Library their nonprofit, Eco Vietnam Group, had established to provide books for the local community.
The library not only houses about 700 books on various topics, but it also has comic strips, toys, and other learning equipment donated by patrons and volunteers around the country.
“Things seem to be all new to the kids here, from the globe and teddy bears to calculators and maps,” Nguyen Hong Nhung, a group member, said.
They also live with local families and help them with their daily routines, be it cooking grains for pigs, harvesting vegetables, or gardening.
A difficult life in this place has also equipped them with necessary skills to survive in an unfavorable situation, according to Lan Anh, another member.
“We felt that it was very strange and uncomfortable to live in a place like this during our early days,” Lan Anh said. “But we have learned to get over all the obstacles and adapt to the new living environment.”
“We have noted down many useful life experiences as well,” the student added.
For local children in the village, they have found a new source of joy since the establishment of the library. And the volunteers have become something very familiar and ‘indispensable’ to them ever since.
“The library would be definitely boring when they return to the city,” a kid imagined.
Founded in 2009, Eco Vietnam Group aims to promote voluntary services as well as sustainable community development by providing support to underprivileged people and ethnic groups in Vietnam.