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Vietnam Aid Expedition Highlights - Catalyst Foundation

Vietnam Aid Expedition Highlights

Catalyst Foundation has had 28 volunteer expeditions with over 576 volunteers in the last 17 years.
Each volunteer experience was different in its goals and outcome but focused on providing HOPE.

Water for our Community – May 2014, 20 volunteers

“Work hard. Dream big.” Because of the rural location, a lack of resources, and their ethnic background, the Raglai community in Ninh Thuan existed without a reliable source of clean water, some without daily access.   This most basic human right being denied.

A group of 20 “Adventure Philanthropists”, all cancer survivors under the age of 40, bicycled through parts of the Vietnamese highlands before coming to volunteer at our project for 4 days. They worked alongside our community members, carrying water pipes and hiking nearly 5 km into the mountains and dense forest. Their goal was to lay and connect pipes from a new water source to the hamlet below, bringing water to the homes of 40 new families.

For the first time, our community finally did not have to hike 3-hours, each way, to collect buckets of water for bathing, cooking and drinking.  For the first time, their dreams of fresh water were answered.

Community Center & School Renovation – August 2014
20 Ikea volunteers + 23 USA volunteers + 11 children

“Work hard and be proud of what your achieve.” Our largest and most diverse group of volunteers was a simultaneous effort composed of our annual Aid Expedition and IKEA Vietnam.

Both groups came together to restore and renovate the existing primary school and hamlet community center. We had Vietnam War Veterans, children ages 10-15, college students, doctors and retired teachers from the USA and Canada join forces with a corporate group from IKEA. The IKEA staff had management and employees from Vietnam, France, Poland, Czech Republic, and Sweden.

In three days, the team: completely gutted the dilapidated school; added a new ceilings to the classrooms; painted and renovated a new school kitchen to serve 300 students; repainted the entire school complex; refinished and built new furniture while a medical team provided basic care for over 500 children and adults.

Bamboo Playground – November 2016, 20 volunteers

“If you let them play”. The children of the Raglai community spend their lives either working to survive or going to school. Over 100 children in this small rural hamlet had never seen a playground or a safe place to play.

A returning group of volunteers wanted to build a playground for them from sustainable materials that reflected their cultural background. The Catalyst team of social workers then asked the children to draw: “A safe fun place to play”.

We wanted to show the community and children that their ideas and culture were not ignored. Teaming with a local bamboo expert, Catalyst designed a playground village in a series of five (5) bamboo playhouses, connected with rope ladders, bridges and monkey bars.

The Raglai community worked in the rain for 3 days preparing the land prior to the volunteers’ arrival. The bamboo was precut and preassembled to ensure success within the 4-day time constraint. Lastly, our volunteers then arrived from the United States and reassembled the playground on location.

Within days, barren ground was covered by hundreds of screaming children climbing on rope ladders, swinging from monkey bars, jumping, laughing and running around.  For the first time in their life, they could play!