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The Perspective of an IASE Vietnam Volunteer

By Hazel Delfina Chang

(Published in the May 2014 issue of Annuntiatus)

My name is Hazel from Hong Kong. This is my first volunteer service project with IASE. The one word that I would use to describe this trip is "Fulfillment". The volunteer service project means “fulfillment” in many different ways.

Fulfillment means being with like-minded people

Our IASE VSP group consisted of Marg Csapo, Mary Gale Budzisz, Iris and myself. Though we come from diverse backgrounds and variation in experience in the area of special education, we all have one thing in common: to give and share what we have with the people of Vietnam so that our exchange would instill new inspiration to the arena of special education in Vietnam. Marg, the founder of IASE, role modeled her love and dedication to the spirit of IASE as I watched her lecture and role-play a teaching strategy. I feel very much fulfilled as I know that I belong to an association that is true to its mission and vision.

Hazel Chang with Vo Thi My Dung

Participants at HCMC University of Education

Fulfillment is sharing our experience with people of same passion

Dean Ha of Ho Chi Minh City University of Education gathered 40 people who are current principals, heads or teachers of special schools or centers of Ho Chi Minh City. My first duty in the project was to share the founding story and curriculum structure of The Rock Foundation I started five years ago for young adults with special needs in Hong Kong. The participants were very attentive. I was much encouraged and affirmed that 'passion crosses cultural boundaries'!!

Associate Professor Nhan with Dr. Drower, President of IASE

Participants at HCMC University engaged in social skills activities

Fulfillment is seeing dedication to work

The case-study session was the highlight of the workshop where we saw the participants put their knowledge and experience into action. 'Words into action' was how they had shown me their level of dedication and commitment to children with special needs.

Fulfillment in listening to and understanding children’s needs

Associate Professor Nhan of Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy started a special school in the city and several smaller schools in rural areas for ethnic minorities of Hue. I was much amazed by his vision to work with youth with special needs as we listened to and tried to understand the existing medical welfare conditions and their impact on the early intervention. Dr. Nhan gave a passionate plea for help with the multitude of deaf children in his area of Vietnam. He explained that a young technician has been trained to modify old hearing aids. If anyone has old Oticon, Phonak or Siemen hearing aids and is willing to donate them, please contact Dr. Nhan at

Fulfillment is experiencing education in rural areas

It was lunch time at a special school in the rural part of Hue. Students were practicing life skills. The teacher designed a lunch menu for the day, including rice, eggs, and fish. I realized that even with limited resources, when “there is a will, there is a way’!

Fulfillment is commitment over the distance

No distance, no language barrier, and no cultural differences can keep us away from the children with special needs in Vietnam.

We will come back again soon!!

Vimukti School for Girls, Jaipur, Rajastan, India

By Marg Csapo

(Published in the May 2014 issue of Annuntiatus)

The bright-eyed and smiling students of the Vimukti School for Girls, a unit of Vimukti Santha, a registered, non-profit, charitable organization send their thanks and good wishes to every member of IASE from Jaipur. This school seeks out girls in the urban slum areas and offers free education, from pre-school to senior secondary (grade 12). This includes free uniforms, shoes, school bags, transportation, books and notebooks, emphasizing the need for education of the girl child in a country where "every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination, where two thirds of girls cannot read or write, where over two million children, mainly girls between the ages of 5-15 are forced into prostitution and sexual slavery“ according to World Vision India (Outlook, March 17, 2014, page 19).

When the Volunteer Service Committee first visited the school, the number of students was below 200. In 2014, registration stands at 300 and the goal is to reach 500, which is the full capacity. Girls are admitted from families whose monthly joint earning is below 7,000 Rupees (about US $120).

From kindergarten to grade II, the students are taught Mathematics, Environmental Studies and General Knowledge. From grade III onward, Computer Science and English are added to their curriculum. Vocational training is being offered to the girls and their parents under the "Learn and Earn" program to increase their earning capacity. IASE donated $600.00 this year for books, notebooks and cameras to document their special events. A copy of the IASE Newsletter is under the glass on the desk of the coordinator of the school.

The school is very proud of their achievements in 2013. All students from grade X passed the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) examination. The students participated in Inter School Craft and Poster competition and won a second prize amongst 12 schools. They also won second prize among 13 schools in the Inter School Dance competition.

Congratulations girls and teachers! Keep up the good work!

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