Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children

by Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's Fund
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Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Art Mentorship for Poor Vietnamese Children
Rock-Paper-Scissors Son Tan Art Class
Rock-Paper-Scissors Son Tan Art Class

Every weekend our art teacher and some of our students from Cam Duc travel by van out to a small village at the base of the mountains facing Cam Ranh, Vietnam. It’s beautiful there, driving along the one lane cement road through miles of rice paddy fields. There are children walking water buffalo, riding bikes, and playing along the edges of the fields. Parents bend over among the green rice weeding as they step slowly through the muddy water, conical hats tipped down and forward, reflecting the sun. It’s very hot, but everyone continues to work or play.

As the van gets closer to the mountains and further from the main north to south highway, the road narrows and becomes more and more bumpy.  Over the last hill and around down towards the reservoir is Son Tan village, an ethnic minority village with its tiny cement block homes, shattered roofs, rough and washed out terrain around. There are dog, pigs and chickens near each home. There as the road starts to go down the hill is the Son Tan Elementary school.

This village has one school with about 100 students depending on the day. It only goes to grade 5, at which many of the students go to work in the fields after finishing. They are 10 or 11 years old at the end of their schooling. In this village, if you want to continue in school beyond the 5th grade you have to live at a boarding school for ethnic minority children, about 2 hours away.

When we first were introduced to the school, we raised money to buy new shoes and school uniforms for the 100 students. All kids wear uniforms to school in Vietnam, but these kids couldn’t afford them. It was a great day when we arrived to deliver new uniforms and shoes. We also decided to do something for the children when they were out of school in the summer. So last summer we held a summer camp for all of the kids with games, art, and music. It was a great way for us to really get to know the kids. We had 100 children show up. We plan on continuing these every summer.

Recently we decided that it would be best to support some of the kids year round to learn English using Art classes on the weekends. We now have 20 children who come regularly. The kids are undernourished, so it also gives us an opportunity to provide them with a good meal, and send each of them home with extra food for them and their families. As we raise more funding, we hope to be able to support more than 20 students in this program. The children love coming to the classes, and our students and teachers from Cam Duc who teach the kids, are creating strong bonds with them. Not only is this a chance for the children to learn English and Art at the same time, but also to have the opportunity to be mentored by older students aspiring to go to college. We hope that this will instill a desire for them to continue to go to school beyond the 5th grade.

Thank you everyone for keeping in touch and following our progress. Please consider volunteering for Rock-Paper-Scissors by sharing this report with friends, or letting those interested in art, or artists themselves know about us. Your donations are now helping us to provide our art program to over 100 underprivileged children year round.

Thank you!

Sara (Founder)

Son Tan Vietnam, Art and English Class
Son Tan Vietnam, Art and English Class
Son Tan Students
Son Tan Students
Son Tan students show off their artwork
Son Tan students show off their artwork
Son Tan student working on artwork
Son Tan student working on artwork
Learning some English along the way
Learning some English along the way

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Rock-Paper-Scissor's Art Camp Students
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Art Camp Students

It’s Sunday morning and the kids have been up early. It’s hot and humid in the small village of Cam Duc, Vietnam, but the kids in our art program are on their bicycles heading to art class.

The kids enter through the large metal gates in front of the schoolhouse, and through the beautiful wooden doors, where Thang and Tuan, our teachers have laid out all of the art supplies, opened the wooden windows, and prepared for the kids to arrive.

Trang, one of our high school students, has just ridden a very long distance to take class, she is always there, and determined to learn new techniques and improve her skills. Trang is such a wonderful, very talented young girl, and we have given her a small job to keep track of and organize the art supplies at our school, she is saving her money to be able to go to college in a year.

Thang, our art teacher has been teaching the kids a new Vietnamese art form, called rice painting. This art form was developed only about 10 years ago and has steadily becoming popular in Vietnam.  With a pencil, students create a drawing and then take grains of rice that have been roasted to create natural colors, and meticulously apply each grain to the canvas.  What do you think of this artwork?

Every day, as the kids arrive, there is the joyful chatter of friends greeting friends and the joy of being in a place where they can just let go and have fun, talk about school, talk about family, make new friendships and simply relax, away from their daily difficulties.

Although teaching art is a wonderful thing, there has always been an ulterior motive to starting this non-profit and providing art and music programs to poor children in the village, and that has been to provide space and the creative freedom to kids who have very little in their lives.

 The programs have done just that, the kids have bonded as friends and support one another long after the classes have ended for the day. We often see and hear of the kids spending time together outside the school and this makes us very happy, knowing that this supportive community is carried on outside the gates of our little schoolhouse.

 Remember that this art program would not have been started without you volunteering your donations and putting your trust in our organization. You have supported the artistic and personal growth of these kids that will be carried throughout their lives.

Best to all of you,

Sara (Founder-Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund)

Please email me at: sara@rockpaperscissorchildrensfund.org  if you have any great art ideas for our program that you would like to share or your own artwork that you might like to share with our kids. 

Rock-Paper-Scissor's Art and Music School
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Art and Music School
The road to our school
The road to our school
Nhat creating a rice painting.
Nhat creating a rice painting.
Work in progress!
Work in progress!
Painting class for the younger kids
Painting class for the younger kids

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Nhi
Nhi

Dear Friends and Supporters,

 We hope you are staying warm and getting ready as the holiday season is upon us. Every three months we reach out to our supporters to report on the happenings of Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund in Vietnam, and it seems we can’t keep up with all of the excitement. 

 Currently we have two volunteers from the states staying in Cam Duc and working with our students.  Carla and Grady are artists and musicians and in the short time they have been there they have created significant bonds with the students in our program. We have talked to them many times and we are so happy with what we have heard and seen. They have created a blog highlighting the experiences they and the kids are having.  It can be viewed here: 

                                      http://www.rockpaperscissorschildrensfund.org/#!blog/cslr

 We are also very happy to welcome our new year-round art teacher, Thang. Thang is 27 years old with a degree in Drawing from the College of Culture and Arts in Nha Trang, Vietnam. We are so grateful to have him join our art class and teach the students new and exciting projects and techniques. Thang comes from a family of artists and has always loved art, which inspired him to pursue a career in teaching. With his training, our students are not only learning traditional styles, but are being exposed to new techniques and materials.

 With a new teacher, brings new students, and we couldn’t be happier.   Our art classes are packed and new passionate artists have emerged. 

 Eighteen-year-old Nhi has just started coming to our art class.  The high school senior has a love for art, literature and physics. Outside of school, she likes to draw in art competitions, draw in her free time and spend time with friends.

 Nhi’s younger brother Tuong, a 9th grade student, started alongside her.  Tuong also shares a passion for drawing and the incredible potential we see in Nhi.  It is unbelievable talent just waiting for an opportunity to shine.  We are thrilled that they have decided to make the trip to the class.

 Nhi and Tuong’s mother is a tailor and their father is a carpenter. Their father inspired them to draw and become more artistic.  Nhi and Tuong live close to 10 kilometers from the school, in Cam Hai Tay, so their mother drives them on the back of her motorbike. 

 Nhi has said she is very excited to be in the class, but she is also looking toward the future.  After completing her last year of high school, Nhi hopes to attend college, possibly in Saigon to study Architecture.   Nhi is not the only one of our students starting to think about their futures.  We hope to support these future adults as they make life-changing decisions in next few years.  We have always sponsored the students’ primary or secondary education tuition and book fees if their families could not afford to, but as some of the students who are in the program begin to get to the age where college is a possibility, we do not want their journey to end because they live in difficult situations.  

 Even as we go about our lives in the United States, our students are on our minds constantly.  We are a tiny organization, but we have a great leader in Sara Nerone, our founder, and our dedicated staff in Cam Duc.  Sara is communicating daily with our staff about new students, projects, or the constant creativity Sara shows directly benefiting our program.  We do not take salaries, all of the donations we receive go directly to the program, and it’s amazing to watch the dedication that Sara has shown. 

 Fundraising is the toughest part of owning a non-profit we never realized how much time and effort it takes and we are all volunteers. Please consider either making a new donation or helping us by asking for donations from your friends, neighbors and acquaintances!  Share with them your experience with us, and know that you have directly changed lives. 

 We have very talented kids in our program and your generosity has helped them so much in such a short period of time.  By the end of the year, Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund hopes to raise $15,000 for our projects in Cam Duc. 

 We will always make sure that you can see the impact your generosity is making, and we are so grateful to have your continued support.  It’s amazing to see the difference we’ve made in such a short period of time. 

 Have a safe and healthy holiday season,

 The Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Team

18-year-old Nhi
18-year-old Nhi
Thang and Tuong
Thang and Tuong
Tuong
Tuong

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Rock-Paper-Scissor's Art and Music Camp
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Art and Music Camp

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you in good spirits and great health at the end of summer. We had quite the month in Vietnam this summer. What can we say about it?  One word, amazing fun!

This summer, we held our first ever art and music camps for children living in ethnic minority communities in the province of Khanh Hoa, Vietnam. With three separate camps in three separate villages we were able to support 300 children with the joy of music and art. The children we work with, live in very difficult and impoverished conditions.  We started each day with music performances from the kids from our year-round art and music school and volunteer musicians from the United States, and then taught the children a different art project each day.  We provided the children with snacks, and ended each day playing games.  There was an amazing energy and excitement among the kids, since they had never experienced anything like this.

Along with our family of four, we had five volunteers come with us from Rhode Island, and two more from California, all musicians and artists.  We also recruited some of our year-round students from our art and music school in Cam Duc to be camp counselors and English translators for our volunteers. For the kids from our school in Cam Duc, it was the first time in their lives that they had the chance to interact with Kids from the local minority villages, kids who live only 20-30 minutes away.  It was an experience for them that they voiced their gratefulness for, an experience that can only improve their outlook on their local communities and the world around them.

There is a common comment that comes out of the volunteer experience. That we get more out of the work we do with the kids, than the kids probably get that were in our camps.  It is so wonderful to realize that the experience this summer has changed the lives of our young volunteers from the United States and has continued to change our own lives each and every time we go back to Vietnam and work with the kids in our school and programs.  What we always come home with is a feeling that is almost impossible to describe to others.  Since our return, we’ve met with all of our volunteers who have also said how hard it is to describe to others the conditions they have seen families and kids living in, that they never imagined what it could be really like before they traveled to Vietnam, and that how grateful the kids are there, and how simple things like listening to or playing music or simple paper to paint and express themselves on could bring such joy. We hope that with these few photos you might be able to get a glimpse of that.

We want to thank all of you for you donations and support to these children.  Thank you all for believing in what we are doing, and for your continued support of the kids we share your donations with.  It was with this support that we were able to meet and work with 300 kids that would never have the opportunities to escape from the difficult life situations that they have.  Our music and art camps were a huge success, and we are so lucky to say that we were able to witness unhindered joy and happiness and laughter and the moments of maybe a creative way to temporarily forget the difficulty in their lives.

We can only hope that we can continue to count on your support, and with our work we can make you as our donors, friends and supporters proud.  Our appreciation and gratitude is never ending, and we never forget that without this support we would never be able to do what we do.  We hope for your continued good health, success, and happiness in the months and years to come. 

Sara, Patrick, Sophie and Phoebe

The Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Team

Rock-Paper-Scissor's Campers
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Campers
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Camper
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Camper
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Cat Camper
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Cat Camper
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Paper Hats
Rock-Paper-Scissor's Paper Hats
Our youngest campers!
Our youngest campers!

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RPS Art Class Collage
RPS Art Class Collage

Dear Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Supporters,

Summer is almost here and here in the states we are counting down the days before we return to Cam Duc to see our art and music students once again. 

This summer there will be a total of nine Rock-Paper-Scissors’ volunteers going to Viet Nam from the U.S.; it is our biggest group yet!

Since we began this journey Sara, our founder, director, and pretty much one-woman band, has always looked to welcome any other person or families that would want to come and volunteer with us. We believe that having an opportunity to see the world and have the privilege to give back by volunteering changes lives.   This year we are especially excited to have a group of young people traveling with us in June.

We have accomplished artists, musicians, and people of great character that will be seeing South East Asia for the first time. We are very excited to share Viet Nam, and the Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund program with them.  

With schools here in Rhode Island getting close to their last days of the year, and warm weather slowly creeping in, often in the mail or online are advertisements for countless camps for the kids in the area.   If you have the means, your child could get involved in all sorts of things from sports to art and music to computer science.  We want to bring something like this to the kids in Viet Nam, who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance or the money to experience.

In the past year, we have been working in the province of Khanh Hoa with a number of small ethnic minority communities, by providing bikes for girls within the villages in order to help them travel to school more easily, as well as providing other school supplies. These communities are very poor, with approximately 80-90% of the families falling below the poverty level of $1.00USD a day for a family.

This summer we will be piloting a music and art camp for 1-2 weeks in one or two of the villages. Our goal is to involve our existing students from our year-round program in Cam Duc to help us as camp counselors.  With the help of our group of volunteers and our year round students, we anticipate that these camps will be extremely successful and a mainstay of our program for years to come. If any of you would like to help us with ideas for art projects, please email us at info@rockpaperscissorschildrensfund.org. We can always use your help. Also, we are piloting a program with US high school students who will be exchanging self-portraits with our high school students in Vietnam. We are very excited about this, and if you have a high school artist who would like to take part, please let us know!

We would like to thank you for your ongoing support, your donations are what keep our programs running, and without you, we wouldn’t be able to provide the many opportunities to our students in our program. 

Thank you very much. Have a safe and enjoyable summer. 

The Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Team

RPS Art Class Collage Chicken
RPS Art Class Collage Chicken
RPS Art Class Abstract Work
RPS Art Class Abstract Work
RPS Art Program Pen
RPS Art Program Pen

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Organization Information

Rock-Paper-Scissors Children's Fund

Location: Wakefield, RI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RPSChildrenFund
Project Leader:
Sara Nerone
Wakefield , RI United States
$55,472 raised of $70,000 goal
 
505 donations
$14,528 to go
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