Most of the team have fundraised on behalf of the Red Cross for many years, this is the first time that they have seen firsthand the work of Red Cross in another country. The chance to witness and get involved directly with the work of the Red Cross, interact with the amazingly happy children as well as walk 3 kilometers in muddy gumboots, provided a once in a lifetime experience for all of us.
- Conducted a Fundraising and Regular Giving presentation and discussion with key Vietnam Red Cross staff,
- Help with bio-sand filter construction
- Involved in hygiene and sanitation participatory education with village elders
- Observe Children’s Hygiene and Sanitation Training
- Attended water day celebration at local primary school
The Red Cross representatives that we met and worked with were wonderful, warm and open to sharing their experiences and knowledge of Red Cross with us. These memories will be with us forever. Wishing you all the best and continued success with the Water and Hygiene Programs (PHASE, CHAST and the bio-sand filter) and we look forward to hearing about the great difference it is making to the lives of the people in North Vietnam.”
- Visit to the Vietnam National Institute of Ophthalmology and opportunity to observe a cataract surgery.
- Eye screening including eye health education and communication activity in Mai Chau.
- Visit to the Social Disease Control Centre of Hoa Binh to have a briefing on what FHF has been supporting to improve the local eye care services.
“Although most of the team having fundraised on behalf of the Fred Hollows Foundation for many years this was the first time that they had seen firsthand cataract surgery. The chance to witness and get involved directly with the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation was priceless. Interact with the amazing staff, doctors and beneficiaries in Vietnam as well as enjoy the cultural experiences organised at Lac Village in Hoa Binh provided a once in a lifetime experience for us all.
The Fred Hollows representatives that assisted during the trip and with the earlier preparations including Phan Nguyen Song Thao and Ngo Thi Phuong Anh were wonderful, warm and open to sharing their experiences and knowledge of Fred Hollows and Vietnam with us. These memories will be with us forever. The fundraisers left excited about being able to share their personal stories with their team members and the Australian public who they meet.”
Vietnam is such an incredibly beautiful country and so rich in culture and history. Apart from the charity interactions with Red Cross and Fred Hollows the group had the most amazing time interacting with locals and being guests to several banquet dinners. These celebrations would go late into the night as we greeted and honoured important officials and respected elders with rice wine and speakers – as you could imagine the speakers got pretty loud as the night went on. As we were staying in local villages during the day we would play sports with the children, ride bikes through the surrounding countryside and buy clothing and souvenirs from the household markets. It was truly experiences that no tour guides could offer.
At the end of the week, and after saying farewell to our charity hosts, the group headed down to Ha Long Bay for an overnight Junket boat trip. Hạ Long Bay includes 1,960–2,000 islets, most of which are limestone. We learnt that the limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments to create this incredible UNESCO World Heritage site. Our boat trip visited incredible caves and local fishing villages where the locals live on floating houses and are sustained through fishing and marine aquaculture. And with the additional activities of kayaking through a cave in Cat Ba Island and being able to swim and backflip from our Junket it was the perfect conclusion to our trip.