An unforgettable Mid-Autumn Festival for orphans and volunteers

"To live one’s life, one needs a heart … to what end, do you know? To cast into the wind, to cast into the wind.” This phrase from the famous Vietnamese song ‘Cast into the wind’ inspired our colleagues from Wood Finishes & Adhesives in Amata, Bien Hoa to reach out and make the Mid-Autumn Festival for the orphans of An Lac Orphanage a real special one this year.

The orphanage houses about 60 orphans as well as disadvantaged (deaf) children. It was established by a kind-hearted monk and its main source of income is generated by hand-made items by the inhabitants as well as gifts. There are over 40 children in the ages from pre- to high school and about 20 children are disadvantaged kids more than 14 years old. The monk tries to send the kids to school and after study time, they create the hand-made products to earn some money. The orphanage is situated about 30 kilometers from the Amata plant and when our colleagues had learned about the poor condition of the orphanage they decided to help. Support from the Community Program was granted and the Mid-Autumn Festival, a very significant festival in Vietnam especially for children, was chosen as the right time to visit the center to make a valuable contribution.

More than 32 volunteering employees joined the initiative and on Saturday September 18th­ they went to the orphanage and started the major job by cutting weed and cleaning the bedrooms and bathrooms. Then the volunteers decorated the Center Room, changing it into a nice and colorful place where the Mid- Autumn festival night party could take place. Apart from preparing a nice and warm dinner for the children with special food that they had brought along, they organized various activities like music and singing, a lantern making competition, an athletic competition and games. Also they gave them bicycles, educational equipment such as books, pencils, pen-boxes and daily consumer products such as rice, salt and soap.

What the volunteers had planned: to provide an unforgettable Mid-Autumn Festival for the unlucky children - was realized in more than 8 hours of hard work. The enthusiastic reactions from the children made them feel quite happy and they all realized that even one person can make a big difference in other people’s lives. The children’s overwhelming applauses and laughter made them forget that they were tired from the intensive work they had just done. One of the activities was really hard: together with the deaf children a musical play ‘The Legend of the Phoebe’ was performed. Sales Coordinator, Tuyet Nghi, one of volunteers, who took part in the role of the Phoebe said: “This Mid-Autumn Festival with these kids has been a really significant day for me. I felt I could do something, even it is very small but it can bring happiness for the kids. I hope the company will organize many activities like these and that all employees can make a contribution to our community.” HSE&S Manager, Hung Tran, coordinator of this event and also took the role play of the farmer: “This is the first time I have organized an event like this. I really didn’t know how to go about it at the beginning but when it was kicked off I realized that together with the support of my colleagues it would work out. What we take back after this event is not only the joyful moments with the kids but the point is that I am having a good team here. With this teamwork, we can do whatever more.” HR Manager, Susan Vu, said: “Many emotions stay with me after this event. I will never forget the image of my boss - Mr. Bob Osborne when I saw him cleaning the restroom for the kids. Also the image of my colleagues working very hard to perform a play for the kids is something I will never forget.”

And last but not least General Manager, Bob Osborne expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the volunteers: “This is a way to bring a few moments of happiness for these children and at the same time create good team building. All participants were moved by this activity and will certainly come back again in 2011.”Some employees could not join the event on the Saturday. Therefore they went there the day before to do some supporting activities such as repairing the electrical system. When they heard about their colleagues’ enthusiastic reactions and saw the cheerful pictures they will make sure that next year they will join the party."