In line with CVTD’s goal to promote and coordinate new projects for cooperation and development in Vietnam, we are glad to announce the start of an amazing new project involving volunteering with ethnic minorities in Ta Van, a little village near Sapa.
To inform you about the activities provided by the project, we have interviewed Mr. Nguyen, the coordinator that will collaborate with us to implement the activities with the help of volunteers.
Q. Good morning Mr. Nguyen. Let’ s start at the very beginning: How did you get to Sapa?
- I was born and raised in the countryside near Hanoi. There I met Victor Mai (n.b. the coordinator of CVTD) and we became great friends. Then, in 1998, I worked for three years as a tourist guide in Hanoi. One day I went for a tour in Sapa and I fell in love with the region! Shortly after I moved there and I opened my own tour company, The Viet Discovery, along with two restaurants.
Q. Really impressive! And do the people from the ethnic groups around Sapa work for you?
- Of course! There are more than 50 workers in my activities and 60% of them are from the little ethnic villages around Sapa. In the new homestay in Ta Van 90% of the employees will be from an ethnic group. I love Sapa and its people and this is a way to give them a job.
Q. Let’s talk about the new project you will coordinate in Ta Van. What is the idea behind that?
- The majority of people around Sapa are farmers working in the rice cultures. That means that they work for three months per year, from April to June, when it’s the right season to plant and cultivate rice. For the rest of the year they have a lot of free time and no income from the cultivation so they rely on tourists to provide their incomes for the rest of the year.
The idea of the creation of the ZDAO spa homestay, with the help of CVTD, is to create a center where minorities have access to activities that allow them to learn skills with volunteers from all around the world.
Q. What kind of activities?
- Activities like helping people to sort wastes and sensitize them about the environmental protection. Moreover, the main activity will consist in teaching English to children, youngsters and workers. This is crucial because it will help ethnic people to welcome tourists and consequently to learn more from each other, contributing to a more open minded vision. Other activities will deal with the promotion of online marketing of Sapa area to attract tourists and have a deeper cultural exchange. It will even be possible to work at the reception, as a bartender, or organize coffee talks and much more. Overall, a lot of activities in a wonderful landscape as the one of Ta Van!
Q. How many volunteers will you be able to host?
- We will have two rooms to host 8 volunteers at the first floor of the homestay. Then we will have 4 rooms for tourists and, at the ground floor, a spa with a massage center, steam bath and a Jacuzzi too! It will be a center connecting tourists, volunteers and local people to create development. Why not be a part of the change?
An amazing project for volunteering you should apply for as soon as you can. For further information, follow us on the CVTD’s Facebook page or on the organization’s website.
CVTD SAPA TEAM
Alessandro Giovannini, Mariane Emegenbirn & Gemine Anthony