Vietnamese Village Medic Fundraiser at Senior School

Earlier in the year, a group of Year 11 students took a highly educational and eye-opening trip to Vietnam.

Our trip was full of amazing experiences, and one of the major highlights during this trip was a three-day trek in the mountains of Sa Pa in the north of the country. During this trek, we met the locals from the Hmong and Red Dao ethnic minorities. These locals lead a traditional lifestyle in beautiful, yet humble timber and stone houses, embracing many forms of technology as they farm crops on steeply-terraced hillsides, keep pigs, cows and chickens. However, they often struggle with finding methods of maintaining a traditional lifestyle while being subject to the elements of increasing tourism and trade. As a result, they are often left behind in respect to technological and economic development and struggle with gaining access to resources we often take for granted, such as a doctor. 

As we walked through the spectacular mountains of Sa Pa, surrounded by a thunderstorm and pelted by heavy rain, along the tracks that the locals use to walk from village to village, we developed an appreciation for how difficult life truly is for these people. While sheltering from the rain under the veranda of one family’s home, we were shocked when a young father came out with a toddler in his arms and asked us to have a look at his foot. He had a deep cut in the webbing between two of his toes and it was badly infected – his whole foot was swollen. It took 15 minutes to clean the area to then be able to see the extent of the wound and it became clear that if he could not get to the nurses' station in the next village soon, the infection would continue to spread and he might lose his foot. 

We were touched by this in many ways. It was hard to believe that the boy’s parents didn’t have enough first aid knowledge to recognise the seriousness of his injury, or the first aid supplies to help him. It is confronting to be so privileged and compassionate, but to feel so helpless. And so, in an attempt to make some sort of impact upon these people’s lives, we came up with an idea. There is a local who himself lost a child in an accident, and he is interested in being trained in first aid and to help train his neighbours as well. Through doing so, injuries such as this little boy’s foot can be treated immediately and prevented from becoming serious. This would improve the health of those all across the Sa Pa mountains. 

For these reasons, on Monday 16th October, we held a casual dress day and sold Vietnamese food such as Pho and rice paper rolls to raise money to pay for this first aid training and for some basic supplies to be kept centrally at the Village Kindergarten. In the end, we raised a total of $640.80. Every dollar we raised will go directly to this cause – there are no “middle people” or “administration costs” to deplete the funds. 

We would not have been able to run this fundraiser without the help of Heather Smith for the use of the canteen, Elaine Pearson for helping organise the food behind the scenes and also to Bay City Noodles in Ryrie Street for catering – as the food was delicious!!!!! 

Thank you to everyone for helping us make a difference. 

Our World Vietnam class 2017

 

Mr David Evans

Our World Teacher

 

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