Despite hard workloads during weekdays, many female workers in Ho Chi Minh City still spend time learning social skills and knowledge to fulfil their personal lives on weekends.
At one gathering, more than 20 women will enjoy fruit juice while listening to psychology experts sharing knowledge about child education and proper behaviors.
Learning to lead a happy life
The organization behind the gathering of female workers is ‘We Are One’ group, which includes workers from Nobland textile company in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City.
In the hope of helping female workers become confident women, We Are One usually holds such gatherings so members can improve knowledge and better organize their personal lives.
In the latest event, We Are One invited experts to talk about kid education and communication skills.
“The thing for our workers is we don’t have enough time to raise our kids, which in some cases results in poorly-behaved children," said Phung Thi Thanh Phuong, one of the workers who took part in the events held by We Are One.
“Without psychological knowledge, we cannot understand our children’s growth phases, which sometimes brings us into conflict with them.
"The class helps us to know what we should do."
Learning to raise a kid
Unlike a normal class, the We Are One classes, held at a café in District 12, Ho Chi Minh City every Sunday, are always filled up with children’s voices.
Letting the children play outside, mothers sit together to gain knowledge from invited experts.
The host sometimes must ask kids to go out to let their mothers continue learning.
According to Dinh Thi Ngoan, 31, head of the garment unit of the company and chairwoman of We Are One, it is extremely difficult to organize such an event with many female coworkers.
As a worker, they spend most of the day at the workplace, with some even taking an evening shift.
Therefore, they often spend precious spare time on the weekend with their families.
“I have to bring kids with me, like others," Ngoan said.
"Some have to ask their husbands to help with taking care of the children.”
“Only with this approach is everyone able to sit for the full-day class."
Many workers find such classes useful.
“It is not easy for us to have a chance to access academic and profound knowledge," Ngoan said.
"We know what we should do from taking part in the class.”
Like a family
In the afternoon, the workers will learn communication skills, which used to be considered unnecessary given the nature of their job.
Learning these skills helps them understand things in a different way.
Thanks to getting to know about communication skills, their exchange and cooperation become smoother and more convenient.
Phuong recalled some misunderstanding cases that led to arguments among coworkers.
They can now think twice before blaming others thanks to applying the knowledge they acquired at the classes held by We Are One.
From taking part in the class, they are able to put themselves in others’ shoes to sympathize.
Despite coming from different units with various levels of education, the workers become more connected, considering each other as members in an extended family.
As a group leader, Ngoan acknowledges that it has been a really challenging task to be able to invite coworkers to join the activities.
Some women quit after two classes, while others faced their husbands’ reluctance or jealousy as they consider the classes a kind of entertainment.
Ngoan and some other members from We Are One had to pay visits to those families to explain and persuade the husbands.
They even had to resort to their credit to 'escort' the women to the class in order to comfort the doubtful husbands.
Understanding that most female workers are not good at English despite their work requiring them to know many English terminologies of the textile industry, We Are One found a solution for them.
Ngoan, Phuong, and Huong created a glossary that includes the most popular textile industry vocabulary and gave it to them.
“Huong typed the vocabulary by herself, looked up the definitions through a smartphone, and then sent me the draft,” Phuong recalled.
“During a lunch break, while others took a nap, I edited and formatted the draft, then printed the handbook."
If it was not made for the sake of other coworkers, she would have given up the hard task, she said.
Practicing yoga to improve life
While We Are One holds classes to disseminate social knowledge, there is another group set up by Nguyen Thi Dien, 39, to teach yoga to female workers.
Given the nature of the job of a textile worker, many women have back or neck pain.
They can get to know their health conditions due to taking part in yoga classes, which also helps them to know how to take care of themselves and work better.
We Are One with the theme 'Confident Women' is one of around 25 groups, each consisting of 30 female workers, under a project called 'I Am Strong.'
The project is meant to improve the physical and mental lives of female laborers who are working for textile factories in Ho Chi Minh City’s industrial zones.
The groups will have ideas for activities that are suitable for their needs and situations.
The project is financed by a foreign retail group in cooperation with CARE International in Vietnam.
The Center for Community Health Research and Support is a partner in the project that has been launched in Ho Chi Minh City and Long An Province.