Teaching English Lam Dong Blind Association (LDBA)
Why was it initiated?
Lam Dong Blind Association (LDBA) is a partly residential community of people ages 5 to 50+yrs with varying degrees of visual impairment. Those who can, go to a public school where lessons are taped for them and the older residents tutor the students in Braille. Visually impaired people have limited employment opportunities in Vietnam. A traditional role is as masseurs. Being able to speak occupational English gives them access to western clients who pay considerably higher rates than Vietnamese people.
What were its aims?
Improve English communication skills amongst the residents of the LDBA with a view to enhancing the earning potential of the adult residents.
Adult residents will be able to:
- use English instructions for their English speaking clients in their massage business
- engage in simple general conversations
- use these skills to obtain more work from the tourists who visit Da Lat
Younger residents will develop a solid basis on which to build English speaking skills such as pronunciation by being exposed to English speaking teachers rather than the poorer English tuition provided by the Vietnamese schools.
When did it run?
Who has been involved?
LDBA Mr Truong (Manager)
MESCH Diane, Gary, Alison Tattersall, Narelle Cassey
The group was divided into smaller groups determined by the number of volunteers and available students at that time. Generally, this was an older and younger group (10+students/ group) and teaching was a combination of singing, games and repetition. Focus was on how to “meet-and-greet” and establish simple conversations.
Personal tape recorders were provided (and used) for ongoing practice.
This resulted in a 40% increase in business in the first 2 years. With this, they were able to eat better and more consistent food and convert another area into a massage room.
They obtained lessons in massage and started wearing a uniform.
We obtained and donated a variety of resources and programs eg Braille books, musical instruments, Vietnamese school text books, personal recorders, software, CD’s.
In addition, we supplied some lockers, shelves and 2 washing machines for the massage business.
1650 AUD was spent over 3 years.
Increased community involvement resulted in more local and tour group support.
All adults involved as masseurs can communicate simple English instructions and ask clients work-related questions. Rudimentary meet-and-greet and simple conversations have been established for younger students. This resulted in greatly improved general confidence and engagement with foreigners.
We have a good relationship of trust with Mr Truong and hope this will foster further development projects.
There were often new faces in the community and, sometimes, this resulted in starting from scratch with the majority of the community. At times, masseurs were called away for client related matters and we were given limited access times. A greater commitment by Mr Truong would have accelerated the learning process.