This morning, there was a new officer assigned to my school’s department, which I am in charge of. In the meeting, he looked at me and asked “Do we have to travel a lot when working here or not?”. I said with a smile “Working for the Youth Union means your life is journeys. Once you start travelling, you will realise that you have chances to go not because you are forced to go”. He asked me more “Then what is the most impressive trip to you”. That moment, I immediately thought about Vietnam Active Citizens, an unforgettable workshop.
The workshop ended almost one month ago. I still remember that Hanoi welcomed me with cold wind, but I felt excited as if I knew that there a beautiful and meaningful time would begin. I remembered the warm feelings as I walked into the main hall, there were many new faces a part from friends who I met at the first workshop in Bac Ninh Province. Ms Gam came over, shook my hand and asked “Such a long time I have not seen you. How are you?”. From that moment, I felt like I had found my family again. Active Citizens brought to me friendliness and honest feelings.
During the four-day workshop, we discussed, new approaches on how to connect young people in order to build our local community. They were totally new approaches which were really fascinating. Because of these interesting models, we took part in the workshop actively and positively. The workshop surprised us right from the beginning and the way we were introduced to each other. It was not the traditional by asking “What is your name? Where are you? How old are you? What do you do?”. Instead, we made friends through an interesting game called Globingo. By playing this game, participants from many provinces, who had never seen each other before, discovered other members’ habits, talent, attitudes and some nice small gifts from British Council… these all made it feel warm in Hanoi. Or, was it the love from the Communist Youth Union and the British Council which made me so warm?
We were led from one surprise to another as the facilitators shared the content through the four-day workshop. They gave out lectures as if they were talking to us in a friendly and honest way. I had never attend such a wonderful workshop where the content was so easy to understand and master. After joining in many new and lively activities, such as the world coffee, expectation river, listening at three levels, building trust, developing sustainably as well as funny games as four words… the best thing we learned was to look at life positively, the way that active citizens do – “Inspire and build trust, proactively contribute to your community”. Lastly, we discovered many differences from the current challenges which I facing in my community. After the workshop, I learned how to build a firm belief to keep moving forward.
The workshop has ended but the feelings still stay. Right now, I still remember all the lovely faces from who I learned so much. I learned the way to keep calm as Mr Xuan Thoi (Ho Chi Minh city), excitement as Mr Tuan Anh (Binh Duong), mature as Mr Trong Nguyen (Hanoi), being energetic as Ms Minh Phuong (Academy of policy and development)… and other important members that I could not forget – Ms Gam, a lovely sister; Ms Nga, a responsible and enthusiastic sister; Mr Hieu and Mr Trung from Communist Youth Union who always took care of the class; and Mr Tristan, a young funny and handsome specialist. I hope that British Council brings this “Active citizen’s programme” to other provinces. To allow other to have the wonderful experiences like we did. I will also not stop here, I am summarizing those I have learned as well as the skills and developing a project for the youth in Bac Ninh Province. I just hope that I can spread the spirit I felt in the workshop. After all, the main goal is simply approaching a community with active citizens.
This workshop was both meaningful and gave us not only a course but also a family – a Vietnam Active Citizens family.
Photo caption: Tien is in the middle