Projects & News

Recycled Bicycles has been an ongoing aid project of Vietnam Foundation, commencing in 2012 (see this page). The aim of the project is threefold:

  • to provide high-quality, used bicycles to some poor and bright school children in Vietnam,
  • to provide employment to local businesses, and
  • to promote environmental sustainability in Vietnam.

From 2012 to 2015, the project was confined to poor areas in central Vietnam.  In 2016, for the first time, the project was extended to the southern Vietnam.  In conjunction with its partners, Scout Chief Trần Văn Hồng (in Huế) and the Hành Trình Yêu Thương (Journey of Love, or HTYT for short) Group (in Saigon), Vietnam Foundation distributed 200 and 100 recycled bicycles to school children in central and southern Vietnam, respectively.

To promote awareness of the project and writing skills of recipients, the Board of Vietnam Foundation decided to hold an essay competition amongst the 2016 recipients (grades 6 to 12).  The competition was announced in early December 2016 and the closing date was 10 January 2017.  The topic of the competition is “Xe Đạp Yêu Thương – Cùng em đến trường” (Beloved Bicycle – Cycling with me to school) and the participants were encouraged to write about their experiences subsequent to receiving their bikes.  The selection panel consisted of Dr Lý Gia Nhẫn (President of Vietnam Foundation), Mr Trương Quang Minh (Vice President of Vietnam Foundation) and Ms Nguyễn Mỹ Loan (Coordinator, Hành Trình Yêu Thương Group).

First prize entry by Nguyễn Văn Hồng

Second prize entry by Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên

A total of 100 school children participated in the competition.  The five essay winners were:

  • First prize (US$ 60): Nguyễn Văn Hồng, Class 11A4, Long Xuyên High School
  • Second prize (US$ 50): Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên, Class 7A4, Châu Lăng Middle School
  • Third prize (US$ 40): Nguyễn Thị Vàng, Class 6/2, Dân Thành Middle School (Trà Vinh)
  • Equal fourth prize (US$ 25): Lê Minh Nhựt, Class 4/4, Mỹ Lợi A Primary School (Tiền Giang)
  • Equal fourth prize (US$ 25): Hồ Hoài Bảo, Class 8/4, Mỹ Lợi A Middle School (Tiền Giang)

First prize winner Nguyễn Văn Hồng with his mother and his award – photo by HTYT

Second prize winner Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên with her teacher and her award – photo by HTYT

Third prize winner Nguyễn Thị Vàng with her teacher and her award – photo by HTYT

Fourth prize winners Lê Minh Nhựt and Hồ Hoài Bảo with their teacher and their awards – photo by HTYT

The winning entries together with other essays for the competition are stored here.

Essays entries and more photos taken at the Prize Presentation can also be seen on Hành Trình Yêu Thương facebook <https://www.facebook.co/hanhtrinhyt/>

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Our email appeal for the Recycled Bicycle project in 2016 received enthusiastic responses from many members and supporters, some of whom took the initiative to organise activities to raise funds for it.

The SA Asian Golf Association (SAAGA) in Adelaide hold dinner at a local restaurant early this year and raised $1,306. The Canberra Gentlemen, friends and associates of our member Mr. Trần Tấn Tài in Canberra, contributed $1,190.  Dr. & Mrs. Trương Hổ Tuấn, in Sydney, through their sales the Entertainment Book, raised $238.

On top of these amounts were the repeat donations from many donors of previous years. Thanks to these efforts, and the generosities of many silent frequent benefactors, a total of $10,696 was raised.

Letter from one of the students

With some additional fund from our general pool, the amount raised enabled the recondition of 300 bicycles for distribution. In addition to distributing 200 recycled bicycles in Central Vietnam (Thừa Thiên, Quảng Trị and Quảng Ngãi provinces with the help of former scout leader Mr Trần Văn Hồng), this year Vietnam Foundation also worked with a volunteering group in Saigon named Hành Trình Yêu Thương (Journey of Love, or HTYT for short). HTYT reconditioned and distributed 100 bicycles to poor students in the delta region of southern Vietnam (Tiền Giang, An Giang, Đồng Tháp and Trà Vinh provinces). HTYT also contributed to the transport cost of shipping these bicycles to local schools for distribution.

The happy faces of school children who received these bicycles and their sincere thank you notes are our rewards. We would like to thank all donors who have brought smiles to many unfortunate children in rural Vietnam, at the same time giving them the opportunity to attend school from remote villages.

To encourage writing skill of local students and with the financial support of Professor Trần Nam Bình, Vietnam Foundation set up awards for best essays from recipients of these recycled bicycles. The rewards were announced in early February 2017. Please see our article on Essay Competition 2016.

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Tô Hiệu Primary School at Đak Ngô Village, Tuy Đức District, Đak Nông Province was created out of Kim Đồng Primary School in early 2011. At the time, the newly created school had 400 students from Year 1 to Year 5 in 14 classes with 7 classrooms, of which

  • three were built by Vietnam Foundation in 2010
  • two were built by local government and
  • two were temporary, of timber construction, built by parents

In December 2012, Vietnam Foundation agreed to support the building of 2 new classrooms to replace the 2 temporary classrooms built by parents. The funding arrangement was:

  • Vietnam Foundation contributed 324 Million VN Dong (about AUD 15,000) toward the cost of classrooms construction
  • Parents and local people contributed ground preparation work (about VND 23 Million), and
  • Local authority gave exemption to all taxes.

Construction was completed and the new classrooms used since early 2013. The Official Opening Ceremony was on 17 December, 2015.

Some of the Vietnam Foundation delegates and school’s staff at the opening ceremony

Teachers and students at the school at the opening ceremony

On this occasion, a delegation consisting of 12 Vietnam Foundation members attended and raised VND 17 Million ($AU1,000) to provide 25 scholarships to the students of the school.

Students receiving scholarships

Students and two of the scholarship donors

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Vietnam Foundation was a joint organiser of the World Festival of Vietnamese Traditional Music 2015 held in Sydney from 14 to 16 August 2015. This is the third time that such a Festival was organised. The previous festivals were held in Toronto, Canada in 2011 and in Seattle, USA, in 2913.

The Festival consisted of sessions of talks, presentations, music demonstrations, etc., with the participation of established musicians, artists and scholars from around the world, including local academics such as Prof Aeron Corn of the Australian National University and Prof Diana Blom of the University of Western Sydney.

The highlight of the Festival was the Gala Concert at the modern 300-seat Bryan Brown Theatre, in Bankstown, NSW. Tickets for the concert was completely sold out many days before the event.

Festival_Audience2

Concert Audience in the Bryan Brown Theatre

The concert was indeed a very rare event where more than 50 artists of more than 10 music groups from 5 countries (Canada, USA, France, Norway and Australia) coming together to showcase Vietnamese Traditional music.

Vietnamese World Festival Orchestra playing Imperial Court Music

Vietnamese World Festival Orchestra playing Imperial Court Music

The concert program was varied and enticing. Traditional music of various genres and from different regions of Vietnam were presented: from traditional folk songs to imperial court music to music of the cải lương (reformed theatre) style. For the first time in Australia đàn Đá (lithophone) from the Central Highlands of Vietnam was introduced and played in a public concert. Other interesting items of the concert included a recital of Mozart’s Alla Turca with the đàn T’rưng (made of bamboo, also from the Central Highlands of Vietnam) and the recreation of ‘Danse de l’Indochine’ (Indochina Dance) which the French legendary ballerina Cléo de Mérode performed with a group of Vietnamese Tài Tử musicians in the Paris Exposition in 1900.

Improvisation by Back tp Back Zithers Group

Improvisation by Back to Back Zithers Group

Geraldine Balcazar dancing the Indochina Dance

Geraldine Balcazar dancing the Indochina Dance

Vietnamese Artists Union in Australia in a scene of Nửa Đời Hương Phấn

Vietnamese Artists Union in Australia in a scene of Nửa Đời Hương Phấn

Đăng Thảo Ensemble playing the Khúc Hát Ân Tình

Đăng Thảo Ensemble playing the Khúc Hát Ân Tình

Festival_VietHai

Duy Tiến and Việt Hải playing Hành Vân

Lý Ngựa Ô being performed by Tre Việt, Hướng Việt and Phượng Ca Oslo groups

Lý Ngựa Ô being performed by Tre Việt, Hướng Việt and Phượng Ca Oslo groups

Festival_XangXe

Artists of Phượng Ca Paris, Phượng Ca Oslo, Tre Việt and Hướng Việt performing Xàng Xê

Sound of the Golden Bamboo performed by the Golden Bamboo Ensemble

Sound of the Golden Bamboo performed by the Golden Bamboo Ensemble

The audience was so enthralled by the beautiful music and superb performances that they stayed clued to their seats till midnight when the four-hour concert concluded with a rousing standing ovation.
Prior to concert, many Vietnamese Traditional Musical Instruments were also exhibited at the lobby of the theatre.

For more details of the Festival please visit the Festival website
https://vietmusicfest2015.wordpress.com/

The Festival was widely reported in the press. Some festival goers have also made recordings of some items of the concert. For examples:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOhaySuXWg8

http://www.australiaplus.com/international/2015-08-20/the-sounds-of-vietnam-enthral-sydney/1483716

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/vietnamese/2015-08-18/%C4%91%E1%BA%A1i-h%E1%BB%99i-%C3%A2m-nh%E1%BA%A1c-truy%E1%BB%81n-th%E1%BB%91ng-to%C3%A0n-c%E1%BA%A7u-t%E1%BA%A1i-sydney/1482664

http://tuanvannguyen.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/xem-buoi-dien-am-nhac-dan-toc-o.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHmw0xGkvYQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOk7PxcQPr8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgIr21nZFGY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CgXyV4MGIo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haGZybPRR8o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l80tm_EBb_0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcEoAdem5Vs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_iWRP1YqC4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olLha1VsuY4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwZg4jo-KZE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1KKR_Mj8J0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Re31890-lc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSjpWuo7bJ4

Postscript: A DVD of the whole Festival concert has been produced and distributed to many public libraries around the world. See cover

* Photos on this page are courtesy of Mai San

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guiHANGtarFRONT

Front cover of the CD album

On 26 July 2014, Vietnam Foundation members and friends attended as guests at a special concert by the Guihangtar Duo hosted by the The Vietnamese Australian Scientists and Professionals Association (VASPA) at the University of New South Wales, Kensington Campus.

Guihangtar is an expression of tradition, innovation, and global interaction. Comprising guitarist Le-Tuyen Nguyen (Australia) and percussionist Salil Sachdev (USA), the musical duo group initially emerged as a potential collaboration incorporating the guitar and the Hang (a percussion instrument invented in Switzerland in 2000). However, Guihangtar’s maiden concert in 2010 evolved to include other percussion instruments as well. The duo performed compositions and arrangements inspired by nature and traditional music not bound by cultural confines. Traditional melodic and rhythmic idioms weaved with Western music exploring the technical and expressive dimensions of the guitar, enhanced with percussion instruments from various parts of the world.

Guihangtar’s album Dawn of the Mountain Forest is now available both in CD and MP3 downloads.

guiHANGtar3.indd

Back cover of the CD album, showing its contents

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