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Published: February 10th 2012
Robbie and her thank you cake presented to her by the Lifestart Foundation workshop members on her last day in Hoi An
If you are thinking of volunteering in Vietnam, - press " Lifestart Foundation's
How to feel, from a purely personal aspect, truly satisfied, humbled, and very happy, - and with the added bonus of being totally appreciated by the main players and also the disabled and disadvantaged craft makers you will be helping, as well as the "crew" that operate Lifestart Foundation. How many thank you's, in any language, can you take in, each and every day?????
Al and I fell on our feet as far as our accommodation was concerned. With just one email we were offered a palatial room, purpose built to accommodate long-term stayers, - ie., expats, volunteers, and anyone wishing to stay in Hoi An longer than 4 weeks. Beautiful, with all we needed, comes highly recommended by these two Aussies who stayed there for 10 weeks.
Volunteering with "Lifestart Foundation" was really no surprise, as we had fallen for Hoi An, and the work and concept of "Lifestart Foundation" on an earlier visit. For me, it was an easy decision of what I could do.
Retail selling the crafts made on the premises of the workshop/shop, in downtown Hoi An, where all the tourists stroll,
Thank you Robbie & Al
A lunch time party with all of the workshop members
looking and buying. All I had to do was, give the "crew", an idea of when and how many hours I could give to them.
Then, we had the unusual question for "Lifestart's" organizers, - how could Al's talents be properly used????
Al will tell anyone willing to listen that he worked harder, physically, (for a few weeks), than he had for 20 years. In the next breath, he'll tell of morning coffee breaks, - extended lunch with siesta times, - with heaps of cold showers in between.
It turns out that male, (the DIY, handy, easy-going type), volunteers are thin on the ground, so Al spent his volunteering doing this type of work. From this writers' point of view (Robbie), the very best, and most enduring memories of time spent with "Lifestart Foundation" in Hoi An, Vietnam, were those spent with the team at the workshop, - the hard workers who oil the wheels, - sell the products made, - keep the whole operation together, - and most importantly, those incredible human beings who, even with their disabilities, - smile and laugh, produce beautiful crafts, and offer the chance to us for an interactive relationship, even
if we do not speak each others' language.
Thank you "Lifestart Foundation" for our amazing experience, and we wish you and all who "sail" with you, success and contentment. THANK YOU FROM KAREN
Al and Robbie came to us as two people who have traveled the world and have lived a most interesting and adventurous life. They are extremely enthusiastic, compassionate and fun loving individuals. In addition to volunteering in Hoi An Robbie and Al are sponsoring young Lieu and are part of a group sponsorship for young Van. Both girls are extremely bright students from very poor families and were at risk of not being able to complete their education. Thanks to Robbie and Al and their friends, both girls have been granted life changing Lifestart Foundation 7 year education scholarships
. These scholarships guarantee the girls the opportunity of a complete and full education through to Year 12.
Sincere thanks to Robbie and Al for their willingness to help whenever needed. Robbie spent her time tirelessly working in the Lifestart Foundation Workshop. Her volunteering role was sales and customer service and during her time with us the workshop sales improved dramatically.
175 Ly Thai To
The Lifestart Foundation Free Disability Community Centre, Hoi An. The last of the renovations were completed by Al, and another terrific volunteer from Australia, Michael.
Al also worked at any DIY/ Handyman job that we presented him with, many times working in extreme heat and not the best of conditions. All of us at Lifestart Foundation are very grateful for their selfless help and terrific spirits. We hope that you will come back again as we all loved your company.
Following all of Al's hard DIY work the Lifestart Foundation Free Community Disability Center
in Hoi An is now ready. We are currently looking for Physiotherapists
and an Occupational Therapist
to work at the Lifestart Foundation Free Community Disability Center
. If you are interested, or know anyone who may be, please get in contact
. If you are Australian we may be able to assist with funding through one of the Australian government volunteer programs which we are in the process of applying for.
The centre is part of a program that aims to provide people living with disabilities in central Vietnam with new, improved opportunities and will focus on adults whose complex disabilities include Polio, war injuries, cerebral palsy and disabilities that are a result of accidents.
If you are a "super sales gal" like Robbie and interested in volunteering at the Lifestart Foundation Workshop
in the customer service field and helping to
Tuan, the phsyio assistant at the centre demonstrating the weights.
improve sales we would love to hear from you.
Lifestart Foundation is fortunate to have an amazing team of supporters and volunteers from many corners of the world. We are very grateful to all of our supporters and volunteers for their ongoing help and assistance. It would be impossible to write a blog about everyone that has volunteered and contributed over the years however I hope the occasional blog about some of our volunteers inspires the spirit of volunteering in us all.
The Lifestart Foundation Workshop
and our new tours
, have already had many excellent reviews on Tripadvisor
. If you have been on a tour or visited the workshop and would like to leave a review you can do so here
For those of you who are little techno challenged like myself if you click on any of the words in blue it will automatically link you into that subject.
Lots of Love from Karen www.lifestartfoundation.org.au
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Visit us at: LIFESTART FOUNDATION WORKSHOP
77 Phan Chu Trinh Street,
read the blogs of previous Lifestart Foundation volunteers on the links below. Meet Trisha from New Zealand Art Classes with Lone from Denmark 9th August 2011 Ruth: Teaching English in Vietnam 31st May 2011 E: Why Vietnam Rocks 9th Dec 2010 Sue: Capacity Building and Cleaning Up Mud 29th July 2010 Mark & Mary: Teaching English as a Second Language 18th Nov 2009 Tropical Storm Ketsana - A picture is worth a thousand words Cycle Vietnam for a Worthy Cause – Jan 17th 2009 Doctor John – Jan 14th 2009 Memory Portraits – Jan 14th 2009 Birdman Returns – Jul 15th 2008 Meet Sherry – A dream volunteer – Apr 30th 2008 Birdman to the rescue – Feb 20th 2008 Great work by new volunteers – Feb 14th 2008 Lifestart Volunteers – Dec 21st 2007 Clean Up The River Day – May 22nd 2007 The Royal Australian Navy Volunteers – Oct 19th 2006
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