Students from RMIT University in both Vietnam and Australia have just completed a series of four community projects designed to provide practical contributions to Vietnam and to build their skills and knowledge.
One student team completed a project in Danang, one in Hanoi, and two in Ho Chi Minh City. The projects included:
- Assistance to Nhat Hong Shelter for visually impaired children and Khanh Hoi Social Centre to provide support to children affected by HIV/AIDS in development of new information materials for donors and other interested people, including website and brochures
- A marketing and business plan for Morning Star Centre, which recently opened a charity café to provide vocational training to disabled teenagers
- Thinh Than, an AIDS program which works with disadvantaged communities. The project addressed practical environment, health, safety and hygiene behaviours to help improve the quality of lives of people affected by AIDS.
- Support to the Danang Women's and Children's Hospital to help organise effective working systems in the paediatric department due to open soon
The student teams were supported by non-profit partner organisations including the LIN Centre for Community Development, which serves not-for-profit community organisations, individuals and corporate philanthropists located in and around HCMC.
Participating students were all undergraduate students of RMIT, enjoying further support from postgraduate students and from staff of RMIT from Melbourne (Australia), Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
All student teams provided presentations on the results of their work in the past week.
"We're very proud of the work that these student teams have done to provide practical assistance to worthwhile organisations in Vietnam," RMIT Vietnam President Professor Merilyn Liddell said today.
"This is the third year that we have run such a practical course, as part of the university's 'Work Integrated Learning' program, and the benefits continue to grow each year, both for the local students and students from Australia who have the opportunity to interact and learn from each other. As well as the obvious community benefit, the activities give the students academic credit points and assist them in applying their academic learning in real-life practical situations.
"It is an excellent demonstration of the RMIT philosophy, both here and in Australia, of 'learning by doing'."
Students reported feeling both challenged and rewarded by the tasks they were given. In the words of one student, Hồ Thái Bình from RMIT's Saigon south campus: "It has been quite a strenuous time for us ... but it was really worth the effort."