Reflections on Project White Dove

On 9 - 24 July, our team of 14 embarked on a meaningful journey with the aim of imparting essential soft skills to the youth in Son Tra, Vietnam. Our purpose was clear: to equip these young minds with a versatile skill set, encompassing topics such as Vietnam's economy, interview skills, goal setting, teamwork, basic personal finance, and design fundamentals. We aspired to broaden their horizons and open doors to diverse career paths.

First and foremost, we learned the incredible power of resilience and adaptability. As we ventured into this unfamiliar territory, we encountered unforeseen challenges. From language barriers to navigating the intricacies of local customs, we had to think on our feet and find innovative solutions. This experience taught us to remain flexible and open-minded in the face of adversity.

In addition to our educational efforts, we immersed ourselves in the local culture and community. We visited Child Clubs, sharing our knowledge about the region's rich wildlife and vibrant ecosystems, instilling in them a sense of appreciation and responsibility for their environment. We even ventured into the lives of fishermen and stall owners, waking up at dawn to understand their daily routines, and gaining a profound insight into the local way of life.

Our commitment to community development extended to refurbishing Ledo school's library, creating a more vibrant and conducive space for the children there. We also had the privilege of meeting families supported by World Vision, enhancing their homes for added comfort. It underscored the significance of contributing to the well-being of others and the positive impact it can have on our lives.

Perhaps the most profound lesson was the realization that education is a two-way street. While we set out to teach the youth of Son Tra valuable skills, they, in turn, taught us about resilience, appreciation, empathy, and the joy of giving. Project White Dove was a transformative experience that enriched our lives in ways we never anticipated, leaving us with a deeper understanding of the world and a lasting commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others.

In just two weeks, we had the privilege of interacting with hundreds of children across four schools and connecting with the warm-hearted locals, revealing a side of Vietnam that we would have never discovered otherwise. Project White Dove was a transformative experience that left an indelible mark on our hearts and reinforced our belief in the power of education and community engagement.

Our interactions with the people of Vietnam were a testament to the power of empathy and the enduring impact of genuine human connections. We left Son Tra not only with a sense of accomplishment from our project but also with newfound friendships and a profound appreciation for the kindness and warmth of the Vietnamese people.

Written By: 
Jun Yang (on behalf of SMU White Dove)