Dear Friend of Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's Fund,
My name is Phuong. I’m 37 years old. I learned about Rock-Paper-Scissors in 2014 through a friend named Lan, who is also a mutual friend of me and Ms. Sara.
In 2012, I made one of the biggest decisions in my professional life, i.e. to retreat from corporate life in a hope of doing something that helped me make more direct and obvious contributions to society. I started to apply for some NGOs but they turned my application down, reasoning that my corporate mindset was a stranger to a NGO realm. Nevertheless, these rejections didn’t make me change my mind about staying away from the business world. Actually, I declined several appealing management job offers because I couldn’t imagine myself going back to those less interesting days in the office.
At the same time, I had this long lasting inner urge of appreciating music and art, as well as understanding more about the music scene and art scene in the city that I live, Hue, Vietnam. Soon after quitting my job I spent several month floating around, reconnecting and hanging out with my art friends, and they lead me into the local art community.
Thanks to them I was introduced to many other interesting and influential artists in Hue, among them were the Le Brothers. These twins had already been well-known at the time. They had started out selling lacquer paintings then made a shift to video art in 2008 and have been touring the world exhibiting their work ever since. Most interesting for me, however, is that the brothers own an art foundation, which they call New Space Arts Foundation (NSAF). NSAF has been hosting numerous domestic and international artists on a regular basis. By volunteering for NSAF, I have been exposed to different personalities and art styles. I found out it would be fantastic if I could be part of an organization that could promote art and music to the community.
Such a lengthy lead-in means nothing else but to say that what a perfect timing it was to learn about Rock-Paper-Scissors in 2014 and how important this organization has become to my life. Spending time with the kids in the art class in Hue is one of my biggest sources of happiness in my contemporary life. We hold two art sessions every Sunday. The morning session runs from 8:00am to 11:00am, while the afternoon one is from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. To give illustrations, I believe even if you are from a Western cultural background you will probably find having to show up in class at 8:00am on a nice Sunday morning, when no one can resist an indulging sleep-in, nearly impossible. However, if you were me you would expect the kids to come fooling around in front of your house as early as 6:30am. Also, you would expect them to chase each other or bike around singing, yelling out your name: “Teacher Phuong. Get up. Open the door!”. That is how I am woken up almost every Sunday. Not many people like their sleep-ins being stolen that way but I quite enjoy that. Sometimes, I wake up early but just want to stay in bed waiting for those voices from the kids to open the gate.
After over a year of the art class, we have several dropouts. The kids left the program due to several different reasons. For example, their workload at school was too heavy. Also, some parents thought learning art did little to improve their financial situation in the future. In addition, some kids simply lost their interest in the class. However, there are a lot of them who have hardly been absent from class. These kids come to us not only for some fun time with other kids but also for serious art class. They have made significant progress in their art. The first year, they were taught how to do crayon and water color. We keep record of the works they do in class, so at the end of the year, I was so delighted to see how much progress they made. The first exhibition in June this year provides sufficient visual evidence to our achievement. There were 42 selected pieces, including individual works and group works. This made me so proud of the kids. After the exhibition we began to teach them how to do more DIY things such as coin bags, mid-autumn lanterns, and encourage their creativity in making artwork like such as combining different materials.
One more thing which is very worth mentioning is that, at the art class in Hue, we do not just teach our kids about art, but we also teach them how to behave with others, and how to respect class rules. At times, we teach them some English vocabulary and encourage them to speak English with foreign visitors, who are my friends. Tram, the art teacher, has done a brilliant job as a teacher and a life coach. If you come to our class you will expect the kids to take off and arrange their shoes neatly before entering the classroom. Also unlike some earlier days, they have got to be aware of putting rubbish in trash bins, having said that, we don’t want our kids to be just obedient. We encourage them to talk about their interests and create art of their own styles.
As I mentioned earlier, the rock-paper-scissor’s art class is one of my biggest sources of joy in my life. I am satisfied because the class has left very positive impacts on the children. I also believe the children involved in the program have had a lot of good time with us. Thus, my dream is to expand the class so that more kids will get access to art, which I believe will change their attitude towards the world and transcend their life. I wish more and more children in Vietnam will be brought up with art as a part of their life.
Thank you for giving to our art program and believing, like me, that all kids need art in their lives.
RPS Kid's Artwork
RPS Student Art
RPS Kid's Artwork
RPS Kid's Artwork
RPS Art Show