Volunteer Story: Friends with SCC
‘Not what I was expecting’, was my answer to the question, ‘How has volunteering at Saigon Children’s Charity (SCC) been?’ I came here in early April thinking that I would help proof read a couple of documents and help the staff out generally with English. Instead, it has been a rollercoaster ride of some of the most interesting and strangest experiences.
The time that I started coincided in the months running up to the SCC’s Saigon Summer Ball. This is the charity’s biggest fundraising event of the year and seeing just how much effort goes into one night was astoundingly. I was busy on the phone, hunting down prizes we could offer our guests for the silence auction at the event. From cooking classes, cruises to luxury hotels, many different organisations replied so generously. On the night, my role changed to a security guard. You wouldn’t believe how much extra care you take when carrying a painting after the final bid comes in at $4,000…. My favourite part of the evening, though, was the slight encouragement I gave to our guests as they deliberated on the silent auction and the subsequent $100 bids causally written down.
Since being in Vietnam, I have found that many foreigners want to help the community but are unsure how. Subsequently, I have been working with tourist shops and hotels to raise funds for the charity by selling SCC merchandise. In addition I’ve helped; revive the charity’s Twitter account (please follow @saigonchildren), produce a video showcasing SCC’s fine work and set up an online campaign to raise funds for 87 children who need bicycles. Have a look at www.justgiving.com/onebicycle to find out more.
To conclude, it has been and is an absolute pleasure. Not only is it an amazing experience but I have been able to see firsthand the incredible work the charity does and what a huge difference the organisation makes to a cause which would otherwise be neglected. The simple reason why I am so fond of SCC is their long-term attitude and approach to making lasting differences to the lives of disadvantaged Vietnamese children. So much so, the planned three months with SCC have now become six….