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Go Global Vietnam works in partnership with Center for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) which has far reaching involvement in development and empowerment of poor, disabled and remote rural communities through education and engagement. CSDS harnesses inclusion of local supporters and international volunteers in realising its goals. They recognise its involvement with our teams offers invaluable support, with enhancement of education in Vietnamese culture and history. Students will go as a complete team to the Hoa Binh Centre for Social Protection, located in the Ky Son District, Hoa Binh Province, about 140km Northwest of Hanoi. This is a rural and mountainous area.

Hoa Binh was set up in 1992 and houses approximately 125 people who may be homeless and unable to live independently, physically and or cognitively disabled, and also orphans, including infants and very young children. It serves a very poor community.

This placement therefore provides the interprofessional Go Global students with the opportunity to work with a very deserving and needy community and get exposure to wide range of difficulties, making this a challenging and rewarding experience. As the concept of allied health is only just emerging in the Vietnamese health system, students will provide a valuable opportunity for the residents and staff to access the expertise that Go Global can bring.

Students will be accommodated in the nearby town. They will spend their days on site alongside the residents and will experience immersion in the routines, lives and culture of the community. This placement will challenge students beyond the parameters and hours of the traditional setting and will give opportunities for development of initiative, flexibility, team work and creativity.  It will provide both clinical and community roles, and the experience of the community as the client.

The team will spend three days in Hanoi on arrival where they will enjoy the exuberant city life, and also intensive cultural orientation by CSDS. A weekend tour of Mai Chau has been arranged, and students will be allowed to travel and explore on the remaining two weekends, to give them the Vietnam context. This placement is for students who are up for a highly challenging and “out of the box” experience.

“There are wonderful lessons to be learned from the organised sense of industry and community of the Vietnamese people. The dignity of working and contributing at any level is highly therapeutic and gives abandoned and disabled people dignity, purpose and also close social and emotional connection. Go Global Vietnam truly gives students the opportunity to view the community as the client.”

Nicki Hurwitz, Go Global Vietnam Coordinator, 2015