Study Abroad

SOS Da Nang Children’s Village

January 04, 2016

We are now working at SOS Da Nang Children’s Village. Exhausted but amazed. Our routine is classes in English pronunciation in the morning, activities in the afternoon.

The first day we arrived at the Village, we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and hospitality. The children were lined up outside waiting for us. They cheered our arrival. Then at the end of the day, the Village had arranged a performance of dance and entertainment. The staff welcomed the Lasell contingent. Professor Tran made a speech. Maddie, Peter, Alex, Jen, and Dee became part of the show as they competed in the egg passing contest. The Village children performed both traditional and contemporary Vietnamese dance in beautiful costumes. We felt very honored and welcomed. You can see excerpts of the welcome in this video created by Alejandre. (Thanks, Ale!)

We thought our job was going to be teaching English pronunciation. We found out that it is so much more.

We began by breaking groups – two Lasell students and fifteen Village children. We set up outdoors and got to work. Since there was no set curriculum, we had to make up our own. This called upon creativity and inner resources. The children were intent, energetic, and enthusiastic. Jen has an enthusiastic group to work with.

SOS Da Nang Children’s VillageTeam Lasell working at the SOS Da Nang Children's Village

The first evening after that, Team Lasell brainstormed ideas for organizing the lessons, shared ideas, and purchased supplies such as markers, name tags and charts. At the end of class, the teams combined. Here Alejandre is leading the entire group in a spirited version of “head, shoulders, knees and toes.”

Head, shoulders, knees and toes

The afternoon activity on the second day was soccer. Some of the Village children were really good and our Lasell students weren’t bad either. Professor Tran served as a lineman.

Prof. Anh Le Tran

Flowers for Alex

Established in 1994, our Village is a community within Da Nang, consisting of administration buildings, a boys’ house for older boys and sixteen homes in which ten children live family style with a mother. The mother is responsible for day-to-day care – cooking, cleaning, and providing affection. In addition, there are four “aunties” who help the mothers. The architecture is based on traditional Cham style of brick and the whole compound is beautifully landscaped. The buildings are cool, bright, and airy. Lasell students remarked how happy the children seem and began making friends. This little girl presented Alex with this handpicked bouquet of flowers.

Here Peter is entertaining the children by catching fruit that they toss, much to the delight of his audience.

Peter catching fruit

This is exhausting but rewarding work. And we still have more time upcoming in the Village.