Summer art class
It’s 5:00am here in Vietnam and I am in the village of Cam Duc with a group of volunteers from the U.S. for a month. We are reviewing and working on our bike program, teaching the kids in our year-round art and music classes, and holding our annual summer arts and music camp in the village of Son Tan. Two volunteers are on their second and fourth trips back to Vietnam with my family. They’ve fallen in love with the children here like we have.
The first week that we arrived we drove to Son Tan, the little village up in the mountains where 150 minority families of Reglai decent live. As so many of you know it’s a very poor community, it’s also far from the highway, so this village tends to get very little support from the government or other organizations like ours. Our staff goes to the village on the weekends all year to teach art, have fun, read books, mentor the children, keep in touch with what is happening in their lives, and provide them with meals. We’ve been running this program since 2014 so we and they know the children so well. Most weekends there are 25 children who come to class, but during the summer months when school is out, the number rises to 40 or more.
The drive to Son Tan is about 45 minutes from our hotel mostly on a long and windy narrow lane up to the side of the mountains. It’s beautiful and every scene is so different from the states, it’s wonderful to just drive here. The first week when we arrived in the village, 40 children came to class. Our project that day consisted of reading a Vietnamese story book illustrated with beautiful drawings and lots of color. We then had the kids paint similar illustrations and watercolor their drawings. They had great fun painting and listening to the story.
Last year four of the children in our class graduated 5th grade from the school in the village. In order for them to continue their education, the ethnic minorities here must go to live in a boarding school for minorities about two hours away from the village starting at 12 years old. Our four students so wanted to continue their education, so thanks to two donors providing $100 a month, we were able to support the families so that they could afford to have the four children go to school. We are so excited to share that all four of our kids graduated 6th grade and will now be in 7th in the fall, they were the only four from the village who passed and are moving up, which is such a testament to our arts program, but also so unfortunate for the other children in the village who did not pass.
So, to all of you reading this report, thank you for your ongoing support for the wonderful children and kids in our arts programs here in Vietnam. You have helped to provide a place where they not only learn about art, but also have a space for artistic freedom, a place outside the rigor of their lives to grow and gain confidence in themselves. I hope you enjoy the photos, and please visit our Facebook and Instagram for more!
Tigers and leaves