June 1, the day for the Children in Vietnam was chosen by our colleagues from Wood Finishes & Adhesives to make a major contribution to the Dieu Phap Orphanage near the Amata site. The decision to support this orphanage was made after they had talked to the founder, a Bhudist nun, called Madam Hue Duc. The home was established in 1982 on the premises of Dieu Phap temple with the objective to raise poor (disabled) orphans in a safe environment to become independent citizens. Our colleagues were impressed by what they had seen and heard about the hundreds of (disabled) orphans, homeless adults and pregnant women who had lived in the home in the past 30 years. The many pictures on the wall clearly demonstrate the successes of the former residents as some of them even completed their university education with a Masters degree!
Currently about 160 children are housed in the orphanage, some of them disabled, others just in need of a loving and safe place to live, grow and learn. The home is an independent organization and generates its income from donations and from growing rubber tree saplings. Also they grow their own fruit, vegetables and other food in the highlands at an 8 hours distance from the orphanage. Volunteers in the area take care of the disabled children but obviously there is always need for more financial support to keep the facilities up to standard.
A detailed plan of action was prepared to take place on June 1 involving almost 70 volunteering employees from the Amata site. Support from the Community Program was granted for a major clean-up, redecoration, improvement of the sanitation, hygienic basic care like nail cutting and hand washing for the children and massage for the elderly, preparing and cooking lunch for over 200 people, giving a performance and organizing an opening ceremony of the sanitation project. No less than nine teams were formed and assigned with very clear duties and missions.
10 days before the operation was to take place, the diaries of the volunteers were filled with preparatory tasks fitting their functional responsibilities, like the design and installation of proper hand washing sinks and a shower area by Maintenance Manager, Paul Phan. It cost him at least one sleepless night to come up with the highest quality solutions. Logistics Supervisor, Vincent Hguyen contacted his colleagues from Decorative Paints who kindly donated 200 liters of paint and took care of a timely arrival. HR officer, Lucy Ho became a very creative designer and spent a whole night to create colorful paper costumes for the 10 selected super models of the home during the official opening ceremony. HSE&S Manager, Hung Tran even managed to design the beautiful backdrop for the event during his lunch break in a very busy working week with regional HS&E meetings. And last but not least, Sales Manager Sophia Ha prepared the major part of 30 liters of her delicious crab soup the night before.
It started very early at 4.30 a.m.! The lunch team had to fetch the ingredients from the supermarket and prepare a meal for 200 people and children within 4 hours, an achievement comparable to the best candidates in the Master Chef's contest!
The repainting work was immediately started with the dedicated help of the tallest member of the site: General Manager Ryan Oates who took care of the high areas. In the meantime three teams dedicated their time to cut the children’s nails while teaching them not to put their fingers in their mouths and eat them! Others spent time with the homeless old people and caring for the little babies. This was very impressive as Trung Thu, technical service team leader, said: 'The babies are not afraid of strangers at all. Their eyes look so emotional, all they want is to be held for a long time.' Factory manager, Trinh Do, even forgot to have lunch when, after having finished cooking her dish of Coconut steamed Shrimp, she could not get away from the disabled little babies who lie in their bed most of the time. She said: 'I really would like to spend much more time to hold and feed them, let them experience a little bit of having a mom.'
Other teams played games with the children and helped 10 of them to prepare for the paper fashion show. Dressed up as 'Spotted Dog' and 'Funny Monkey', Production Supervisor Bao Nguyen and Lab Manager Xuyen Truong made the initially shy children laugh and relax. The performance was a great success and the day ended with the sanitation project. Two teams had been involved in installing hand washing sinks, including 15 faucets and 10 showers and cleaning the water tank. Everything was ready just in time for the opening ceremony when HSE assistant, Tam gave some clean hand washing instructions and 15 other colleagues took turns to clean the kids' hands one by one, showed them how to clean them properly and reminded them not to forget to clean their hands whenever they are dirty, before meals and after using the toilet.
Our volunteers were quite relieved to have achieved their ambitious targets. 'We made it', many of them said and happily handed the purchased gifts like bikes, essential food and utensils, school materials, etc. 'Time went by so quickly. For each of us it was so meaningful to spend every minute to try to make up for the loss of the children since they were born. We felt proud to have the opportunity through the Community Program to make a sustainable difference for the future of the children in this home.' All teams are determined to return to the orphanage at least every 6 months, or whenever they are needed, to look after the sanitation system and make sure it works well, but mostly to meet their new friends.