Helping to bring a smile to a sick child between treatments at a children’s hospital is one of the most selfless, altruistic things for any person to do anywhere. Factor this into the understaffed hospitals of Hanoi, Vietnam and one can truly know they are doing something good. By offering your time, ideas and creativity, you’ll be bringing fun and enjoyment to a place and to children that really need it.
Volunteers in this project collaborate with other foreign and Vietnamese volunteers at one of Hanoi’s largest children’s hospital. Children that the volunteers normally work with are suffering from cancer, liver and kidney and other medical problems. Volunteers spend the mornings preparing their activities and the afternoons actually at the hospital working with and entertaining the children in small groups, throughout different wards at the hospital.
As a volunteer in the project, you’ll prepare activities, such as coloring, drawing singing songs and conducting simple performances throughout the mornings, Monday to Friday. You’ll then introduce those activities to the children at the hospital in the afternoons. The hospital garden is sometimes converted into a play area for the children. In the case that this occurs, you’ll be able to help move the children in and out of the hospital and keep an eye on the kids as they are able to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Volunteers are encouraged to assist the local Vietnamese volunteers with performing songs, art and theater related to different festivals and other special occasions that occur throughout the year.
As with any project, it’s important to remain flexible and willing to help with all tasks. Self-inventiveness and the ability to find unique ways to focus on keeping the children’s minds off their medical condition and on other fun things is vital.
The hospital is understaffed and under-funded. The children come from under-privileged families. Your contribution and service in the project assists on two main levels. First, there is a genuine need to take the children’s minds off their health problems and to add fun and enjoyment to their lives. The second is contact with English speakers and foreigners is something normally only reserved for children of wealthy families, throughout South East Asia. Therefore, this service of meaningful, individual contact with an English speaking westerner is something that can help educate spark an interest in English and the west, with the under-privileged children at the hospital.