4share and Thien Tam Huong’s Orientation meeting
It was nearly 7pm at Dung Dinh café on a rainy day at the beginning of June 2014. The LIN team was ready to meet with team Sexual Rights and their volunteer mentors for the orientation meeting in LIN Community Partnership Initiative (CPI). At 7pm sharp, all participants arrived and the meeting started.
LIN representative introduced the agenda and the meeting’s objectives. Everything was the same as we planned until Ms. Thien Thanh- VNG Marketing Manager, leader of the mentor group, raised her voice.
“I think we should consider another name for Sex Rights Group.”
“The name?” – Flashed a question inside most of joiner’s minds. This year CPI is focusing on financial sustainability but she decided to start from the name, and then the human resources, activities and legal status… as well as countless other problems.
Ms. Thanh explained that although much progress has been made, it is still a taboo to mention “sexual” topics in daily conversation. The sensitive name of the organization thus might make it difficult for them to communicate with their stakeholders. She then moved on to explaining the importance of a well-planned structure for a fledgling not-for-profit organization like the Sexual Rights group. At the end of the meeting, all of us agreed that the house of “Financial Sustainability” would not be built on paper proposal but by its essence.
In another meeting venue, Mrs Hong To Hue Lan in Ceporer Hoc Mon surprised us when she confidently converse in French with two sponsors visiting her shelter. Larger than all the plans and efforts she had done following LIN’s suggestions, Mrs. Lan did teach us a lesson: “The string connecting beneficiaries and sponsor is not made from ink and thought shown from a plan but from the language they can speak from heart to heart barely.”
Another NPO participating in CPI 2014, Thien Tam Huong is 15 minute walking from LIN office. Personally a volunteer like me think such distance is short enough to deeply understand its needs and hopes. After being told about the people with disability’s stigma and daily reactions, I painfully thought of the famous saying of Victor Hugo in “Les Miserales:” The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”
Without love, the volunteers can not reach the NPOs, isolating from foreign languages any individual will desert their land of opportunities, knowing nothing about self will create distance to the helping hand. The orientation meetings once reminded us about this basic guildeline for a volunteer.
Phan Tran Thien Thuan
Project Assistant for CPI 2014