The Power of the Internet
The internet is making the world into a series of interconnected villages. It's become much easier to share, collaborate and exchange ideas with people all over the world. I am a recipient of the many advantages which the internet brings - I have learnt so much from people I have never met via ebooks and articles.
A few weeks after my final exams at university (I am now a graduate, yet to participate in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps), I started thinking of what I could do with my leisure time, which increased a lot since I no longer had to attend classes or read for exams. A little search on the internet brought me to the UN online volunteering website and I applied to some listed volunteer positions that suited my skills.
A week later, I got a response from Better Life Vietnam, an education charity in Asia with vacancies. After checking out their website, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter pages, I discovered that their mission aligned with my interests. I have always been interested in education (especially alternative and special education) and here is an NGO that gives access to education to the less privileged and further trains the students and their families on how to be self-sufficient.
It was a moment of elation for me and I did not hesitate to reply to the email from the founder of the social enterprise in Vietnam (Ms Thinh Nguyen). A few days later we spoke via a WhatsApp voice call and she sounded very friendly. I was allured and looked forward to meeting the rest of the team. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the team turned out to be friendly folks who were committed to every project and also ready to share with others from their wealth of experience.
I was placed to work with the Marketing Team and part of our responsibility was to help Better Life Vietnam reach out to the world and promote BLV's profit-making subsidiaries (all of which are put into furthering the mission of improving East Asian education). I worked with other designers to create graphics for print and social media. One would think that there would’ve been translation issues since we all worked remotely from different parts of the world but we got along just fine. My team lead in particular (Sherry) made sure that we all understood our tasks and she was always offering her hand in case we needed help with the tasks.
To make sure that we do not get complacent, there is a scheduled e-meet every Saturday where we would talk about pending projects and what we needed or could do to improve BLV's reach as a charity providing education. I felt as if I knew my team members well, despite never meeting in person and only communicating with them online.
Now, Vietnam is on my top 10 list of must-visit places and I'm excited at the prospect of meeting all available volunteers in person, along with the beautiful children who make our mission worthwhile.