Fylde coast students and staff have been volunteering in Vietnam and meeting those still affected by the war.
Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) Society, Health and Childhood staff travelled with 11 students to Hanoi, where they helped develop English language skills among local pupils. The group also spent time at the Friendship Village, a centre set up for people affected by the herbicide Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War.
Tutors Deb Audin and Alesa Marsh organised the trip.
Deb said: “The students volunteered in different settings – acquiring new skills and knowledge and memories to last a lifetime. They gave the Vietnamese children a great insight into how learning could be fun, as teaching was quite regimented and predominately done by rote. Along with developing listening and speaking skills, the students taught English by introducing a range of games.”
Many Vietnamese continue to be affected by deformities, disabilities and cancers caused from previous generations’ exposure to toxic defoliant Agent Orange, used by the US military to thin jungle where enemy troops could be hiding. It is still not known how long these conditions could affect future generations.
The students got children and young people involved in a range of activities such as music and movement, personal care and developing vocational skills, and met war veterans.
Student Jodie Toal, 19, from Marton, said: “My time in Vietnam has taught me what I want out of life, and allowed me to reflect on my life in England. It has influenced me to escape all negativity because life is simply too short, especially having discussed the lives of the veterans.”
The students also gave a presentation on life in the UK, alongside other volunteers from countries including Italy, Cambodia, and the USA.
Deb added: “We all left with a piece of Vietnam in our hearts. The people we met went out of their way to welcome us. The school allowed us to work with the children and gave us the opportunity to introduce new ways of teaching – it was a learning curve for all of us.”