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Que Huong Orphanage Volunteers and the BVIS Tet Box Appeal

03 March 2016

Our History at Que Huong Orphanage

Since 2012, staff and students at BVIS have been volunteering at the Que Huong Orphanage. In 2013, the volunteering initiative became an after school club, under the guidance of Ms Louisa Angus. In this club, Year 12 students would plan and design activities to facilitate during their monthly visits.

From finger painting to obstacle courses, the students at BVIS have facilitated a wonderful array of activities for the children at Que Huong Orphanage.

Que Huong Orphanage1 Que Huong Orphanage2

Fundraising Initiatives

In addition to the planned monthly activities, fundraising initiatives have also been led by students at staff at BVIS to assist Que Huong Orphanage with different needs, such as uniforms and kitchen supplies. Our annual BVIS Tet Box Appeal has also been a great success and has seen thousands of small items donated, like school supplies, water bottles and sandals, for the children at Que Huong

Que Huong Orphanage3

This year’s Tet Box Appeal was no exception. The donation drive saw over 1,000 items donated to help create a bank of school supplies and small toys for the primary-aged children at the orphanage. Due to this outstanding display of generosity, the Community Learning Team were able to donate 178 personal sized boxes for the children and an additional 3 large boxes full of toys and large books for general use at Que Huong.

A Beautiful Exchange

On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 we were overjoyed to welcome some visitors from Que Huong Orphanage to BVIS. They attended our Tet Assembly, where they were presented with the boxes on stage. Joined by 4 of our Year 12 Orphanage Volunteers, a beautiful display of caring took place as these gifts were presented to the children and staff member visiting.

Que Huong Orphanage4

“Thank you  for teaching me patience.

Thank you for teaching me to love.

And thank you for welcoming us into your beautiful home.”

- Phuong Anh & Lam, Y12

Reflections on Community Volunteering

As with all of our Community Learning endeavours, staff and students are encouraged to take the time to reflect during or after their activities in the community. They are asked to recall their initial thoughts and emotions towards the opportunity and reflect on how they have changed throughout the experience.

As you will read, the experiences our students have had through these exchanges have inspired them on many levels. They not only have a sense of justice and positive self-esteem, but have been taught a great deal by the children they have met.

The first days at the orphanage were complete chaos. The kids didn’t know us, we didn’t know them, they were wary of strangers, we were wary of being bitten. After a few tentative minutes and nervous waves, the two groups began to mix. Bubbles were blown, candies were shared, games were played and hats were made. Things got mixed up because we were clueless at organizing stuff. But the kids laughed, so all was well. Like before, the first days were pure chaos, but they were also my favourite.

We learned many things from the kids; how to share, for one, how to invent games from various objects and how to hug (they were really good at that). The Tet Box Appeal was our way of expressing gratitude to them for all these things, and also a way of saying goodbye and giving them something to remember us by.

Because no matter what, Que Huong orphanage will forever be in our hearts.    – Lam, Year 12B

I still remember on my first visit to the orphanage, I was sitting on the bench and there came this pretty little girl. She held up her hands. I was confused when trying to figure out what she wanted me to do. After that, I picked her up clumsily and sat her on my lap. That was my dearest experience and memory because that was in truth my first time to ever pick a child up and genuinely it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.    

During the visits to Que Huong orphanage, I’ve learned to teach myself to be patient and to be compassionate. These are children with no parents beside them to teach like my mom would to me, so they can be stubborn and sometimes rude as well. Therefore, I have to open myself up and understand their circumstances in order to get close to them and play with them.    – Nhi, Year 12I