The day when I came back to Vietnam and said that I would run a Volunteer House Project, many reporters contacted and interviewed me. They praised me and wrote nice words about me in various media. However, the questions they asked me in person were: “Are you crazy? Why are you doing this while you really need to find a job to earn money?”
At that time, I remembered a day when I was a child. That was an afternoon toward the end of the year, when an old man who was my neighbor walked around and picked litter up on the road. He wanted to help my ward have a nice street to welcome the New Year. After they saw what he was doing, so many folks gave him their compliments. Nevertheless, when they sat together, behind his back, they gossiped, “Hmmm, that man is crazy. His house is dirty but he doesn’t care. And he is over here to care for the road”.
Actually, neither he, my friends nor I will ever care about what people say. Because we do volunteer work not to get nice words from others but partly because we are afraid that nasty & rotten things like drugs, alcohol, various addictions… will tempt us in this ‘globalized’ world. Another reason is: we admit that, every day, we have to do lots of crappy things to survive so that this is at least one good thing we can do to help people.
When I made plans for the Volunteer House Project, I met lots of people. One of them is a business man, one is a CEO, one is a Marketing Manager. They told me that my idea was good, but where was the money to do it? They could believe that my project would be successful if I had money, but they couldn’t believe that there might be people who would loan their empty houses or raise money for my project in a world where “money talks”. Now, my answer for them is, I have more than 18 cities in my country where people are willing to loan their empty houses for my project.
A sister – who works for a television channel - also told me: “What would you think if someone in your group came to a remote village to teach English for children, but he did something wrong like stealing, flirting with a girl…?”. It is not true that nobody ever wanted to help poor children. However, because they thought about those various risks they often didn’t dare to do it. And this is my answer for her: I believe that ink might soil paper, but I don’t think that paper which has ink is black. Furthermore, there are things we can do to weed out the horny guys or those who don’t really want to be helpful.
Another friend asked me, why should the volunteers teach English? Cause poor children don’t know how important English is. Cause rich children also have money to go to English centers. My question for them is: “Do you want to be like me, quitting my job to travel and experiencing dangerous things just because my English sucked?”
Finally, in the last couple of days, many people asked me what if this project fails?. My answer is: If this project fails, at least it would demonstrate that we have tried our best to do something good for society rather than just sitting here and doing nothing.
Vo Thi My Linh – CEO & Founder of Volunteer House Vietnam
Submitted by Anonymous
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