18 May 2019 — On the 18th of May 2019, some members of the Olive Tree Estates team supported a Parenting Talk and Survey Exercise event. This teaching event, jointly organized by HOPE Kindergarten and the University of Labour and Social Affairs 2 (ULSA2), was undertaken as part of ULSA2’s research efforts to understand the demographics and needs of Vietnamese families living in social housing estates. The event was held in HOPE Kindergarten, and both the parents of the children, and residents from the surrounding Thanh Loc estate, were invited for the parenting talk. Our team played an integral role, supporting the logistics and setup of the event.
The Survey Exercise began with an engaging Student Volunteer Training Session for the ULSA2 students led by Mr. John Ang, the founder and President of Fei Yue Community Services. In this session, Mr. Ang shared his experience in research methodology in the area of social work, teaching students important survey skills such as interview skills and observation skills.
Armed with new skills and knowledge, the student volunteers began conducting their household surveys at the homes of some of the parents, under the supervision of university staff Ms. Ngan. Gift bags were prepared for the families who hosted the students and answered the surveys.
In a short conversation with the ULSA2 staff-in-charge, Ms. Ngan was glad that the undergraduates were given the opportunity to interact with the families through the survey. The interviewees shared about their lives and experiences as residents of the neighbourhood and families. Through this partnership exercise, we were able to glean useful insights to understand the various demographic profiles of families living in Ho Chi Minh City. The findings could also inform our future Community Services Offices and social impact work in Vietnam.
After the conclusion of the survey exercise, the parenting talk commenced, with very strong response from the 40 parents who registered for the event. As parents listened to the talk, HOPE Kindergarten teachers concurrently ran an arts and crafts session for the children, ensuring that both parents and children were well catered to.
The Parenting Talk was also conducted by Mr. Ang. Focusing on values-based parenting, Mr. Ang called for parents to understand their children better and identify desirable values for their children, whilst bearing in mind the paths their children could take in the future. Using creative illustrations close to the hearts of the Vietnamese audience, Mr. Ang was able to put across his point in a clear and engaging manner. The talk was concluded with a Question and Answer session, in which parents enthusiastically fielded their questions, receiving genuine and thoughtful advice from Mr. Ang, a parent himself.
After the talk, all in attendance were light-hearted and joyful, talking to the students, volunteers and with Mr. Ang himself. Many parents responded positively to Mr. Ang’s talk, and shared that they found the parenting talk very interesting and helpful, wishing to hear more from the speaker and looking forward to future talks.
As one of the first community engagement programmes that allowed us unique insight into the lives and concerns of the local residents, this experience has been a truly enriching experience for all participants. Moving forward with our social impact work, we will continue to strive for closer engagement with our beneficiary communities, leveraging upon this unforgettable experience.