Day-Care for Children and Young Adults

This is your opportunity to help grant children and young adults with special needs to receive the level of support they need in a unique and breathtaking country.

Plan My Gap Year work with a total of six organisations in and around Hanoi, providing vital support and care for vulnerable children and young adults in NGO care centres, kindergartens and hospitals. Below is a detailed description of what each organisation does and volunteers roles within those organisations. You will no doubt have a preference of placement, whether it be working in the hospital or at one of the care centres and you can request this in the ‘Special Requirements’ section of the online application form.

Important Note: Please bear in mind that whilst we will always do our best to place volunteers at their chosen project, it is not always possible and project availability and needs are fluid.
 
As in most developing countries, disabled people in Vietnam do not receive the level of support they need. It is estimated that nearly seven million people in Vietnam are disabled (8% of the population). We support NGOs in Hanoi that provide vital assistance to these vulnerable groups.
 
PMGY support four projects that provide care for children and young adults with special needs.
 
Phuc Tue Centre – Established in June 2001, Phuc Tue Centre provides support to around 75 children and young adults. The students range from 2 to 30 years of age and suffer from a variety of physical and mental disabilities. These include the effects of Agent Orange, Autism, Down Syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis. The aim of the centre is to provide the children with the level of support needed to empower the students to be able to be as independent as possible and integrate into mainstream society.

Phuc Tue Centre extends their support to raising awareness in the community about disability and the human rights of the disabled people. It is around a 45-minute journey to reach Phuc Tue Centre from the Volunteer House.

Morning Star Centre – Founded in 1995, Morning Star Centre (locally known as Sao Mai) is a subsidiary of the Vietnam Relief Association for Children with Disabilities. The centre has nearly 70 staff members caring for approximately 150 children ranging in age from 1 to 25 years. Morning Star’s mission is to provide opportunities for children and young adults with special needs to receive the education and training to help them successfully play their part in the local community. In particular, the centre strives to provide assistance for those children suffering from developmental disabilities including Down’s Syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy.

Where possible, Morning Star strives to prepare the children to enter mainstream education. However, it is quite common for former pupils who have entered mainstream education to return to Morning Star as government schools are by no means equipped to welcome special needs students.

Friendship Village – We also place volunteers at Friendship Village, which is a living, health, and educational centre for children living with the effects of dioxins from the herbicide “Agent Orange”. The centre also provides healthcare to war veterans.
 
Friendship Village was founded in 1992 by George Mizo, an American veteran who strived to repair the damage done as a result of the use of Agent Orange in the America-Vietnam War. The Friendship Village complex is composed of two living quarters, two classroom buildings, a health centre, and a few other buildings used by the staff for cooking and general administration. There is also a vegetable garden, as much of the food is grown on-site.
 
The centre provides a home to 120 residents, aged from 4 to 26 years of age. The residents come from all over Vietnam and suffer from a range of disabilities such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, physical deformity, and severe mental disability.

Please note that the minimum time commitment to join Friendship Village is 4 weeks, all applicants must be aged 21 or over, and have experience (whether professionally or through education) of working with people with physical and/or mental disabilities.

Khanh Tam Day Care Centre – Khanh Tam Centre is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2006 for early detection and care of mentally impaired children. The centre has nearly 20 staff members caring for approximately 50 children ranging in age from 1 to 12 and is located in Nam Dong, Dong Da, Hanoi.

The Little Seeds Project at National Hospital of Paediatrics – Aside from the medical treatment provided at the hospital, the children have very little social interaction and are heavily reliant on their families. Quite a few of the children come from rural communities. Therefore, a family member, usually the child’s mother, will stay with their child 24/7. The family member will sleep in the same bed as the child and, for all intents and purposes, basically live at the hospital! You can therefore imagine how stressful the whole experience is for not only the child but their family as well.
 
The time the children spend at the hospital varies from a week to several months. As a result, PMGY have identified a placement whereby we can create regular activities and engagement for the children in order to improve their psychological well-being. When hospitalised, the children face huge changes to their life and daily routine, which has numerous psychological effects. Infants, toddlers, school-aged children and teenagers all respond differently to illness in regards to their individual development.
 
Without the right stimulation and routine, long-term hospitalisation will result in a higher susceptibility to long-term psychological damage. The aim of this programme is to not only bring entertainment to the children, but also to pay attention to the specific needs that young patients develop during long-term hospitalisation. Responsive activities will be strategically developed to support the various needs of the children. We aim to introduce a concept called ‘Play Therapy’.
 
From childhood to adulthood, play is fundamental in our lives. For children, play has an even more important role, as they haven’t yet developed the abstract reasoning abilities and verbal skills to articulate their feelings. Kids use toys as adults use words. They play as we build conversations. By playing with the children, the aim is to give them the space to develop strategies for them to cope with the difficulties they experience. When playing the children’s defences are reduced and it becomes natural for them to express their feelings. Play releases stress, connects people to one another in a positive way, stimulates creativity and curiosity, and helps to regulate emotions.
 
The overall purpose of bringing volunteers to the hospital is to create an environment where the children can grow, play and learn with adults who are respectful and understanding of their needs. Furthermore, the sessions give family members a much-needed break. A mother may use this time to take a shower, buy groceries, or just take some time for herself. The mothers and families take great joy in seeing their child being happy and interacting with other kids. It is difficult to express how relieving the pressures on the parents, even just for a few hours, can really help them cope with the situation as a whole.

Volunteering with disabled people is a challenging but highly rewarding experience. Using your creativity, emotional strength and resourcefulness to help such vulnerable people will not only change their life but yours as well.

Xuan Dinh A Kindergarten – We also place volunteers at Xuan Dinh A Kindergarten which accommodates around 900 children aging from 2-5 years old. The kindergarten focuses on teaching children art subjects, sports, some basic writing (for 5 years old kids) and English. It also has different clubs in the school where the kids can better develop their talents and cater for their hobbies.

ESSENTIAL PROGRAMME INFORMATION
For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.
 
It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the programme before applying.

It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administration charge of £39 and is subject to availability

Based on volunteer feedback we believe a period of 4-6 weeks is the ideal time to get really involved in a project and make an impact. This also allows you to have enough time at the weekends to explore the local area and further afield. Participants who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that they did not believe this was long enough and wish they had stayed for a longer period.

All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we DO NOT send a hardcopy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on-hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!


TRAVEL TIPS
You should arrive into Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (airport code HAN) on the selected Wednesday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
 
The programme ends on the Wednesday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Can I use this program as part of a university or college placement? 

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us directly.


Is it safe to travel to PMGY desitnations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.
 
The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.
 
In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.
 
When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
 
All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.
 
While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Families
Groups

Typical day

Phuc Tue Centre

There are 4 classes at Phuc Tue and 12 teachers work at the centre. All of the teachers graduated from Hanoi National University of Education. 
Volunteers assist the staff in their daily activities and sessions. These include early grade academic learning, life skills training and physical education/therapy. During the lessons, volunteers assist the teaching staff by providing individual attention to the students with tasks such as drawing and painting. The students really enjoy dancing and singing, so any type of musical activity is always popular.
A few of the children can speak a little English so volunteers can teach English to a few of the more capable children. At lunchtime, you can help to feed the children who require special assistance. 

Morning Star Centre
The children are grouped in smaller classes of around 12 to 13 children with on average 2 to 3 teachers per class. The classes are tailored to the needs of the children. Volunteers can get involved in a range of activities from basic education, motor skill development, play therapy and physical education sessions. Morning Star offers some vocational and pre-vocational courses for teenagers before sending them to outside vocational schools. The courses help increase the children’s independence and confidence, and their abilities to get enrolled in professional training centres outside. Having recently set up a coffee shop at the entrance of the centre, some of the children help out and in the process receive valuable experience in working and interacting with the public.

Friendship Village
Volunteers help out in a number of different ways. These include collaborating with the teaching staff as to new ideas and techniques to help the residents. In addition, you can share ideas on how to structure lessons, providing an independent evaluation of the students and updating their student profiles. Volunteers can also help in giving individual assistance to the students during the lessons or undergo personal therapy sessions (if appropriately qualified). Help is also needed organising structured activities for the children during their free time, helping with feeding the children and teaching English to the staff, teachers and residents.

Khanh Tam Day Care Centre
After 10 years, the centre is developing and fulfilling services to help children in the centre. To be specific:
– Early intervention: target group 2-5 years old. The programme provides children basic skills to develop (communication skills, playing with others and etc), which aims to help children integrate the society in their early age (kindergarten age).
– Primary/elementary programme: target group: 6-12 years old. The programme equips reading- writing- calculation, providing basically necessary knowledge about the life. The children will learn how to do read, write and calculate by approaching direction or replacing direction which aims to applicable purposes in their life.
– School function programme: target group 6-12 years old and have no ability to study standard primary school programme.
– Living skills programme: target group 10-16 years old and have no abilities to integrate the society and study standard primary school programme. Children will focus on learning living skills. Primary working skill and career orientation are taught for children preparing when they grow up.

The Little Seeds Project at National Hospital of Paediatrics
The project generally takes place across mornings and afternoons. Three days a week the project runs only in the morning meaning volunteers will get two afternoons off a week as well. PMGY volunteers will work alongside local volunteers who will help with translation and general support. We expect volunteers to spend an additional 1 to 2 hours each day preparing activities for their sessions at the hospital. 

The number of children who turn up each day varies, as it depends on how the children are feeling and if they have any treatments scheduled for the afternoon. The average group size is 5 to 10. The children can also vary on a daily basis given the nature of volunteering at a hospital. The children vary in age, so volunteers will need to prepare a range of activities. 

At the hospital there is a small classroom where the sessions take place and there are some limited resources available for you to use such as board games and play-doh.

Xuan Dinh A Kindergarten
In each class, there are around 45 kids so volunteers are a great help such large classes. There is so much to do but generally volunteers are expected to help the kids with some basic English teaching, organizing games, teaching kids to make handicrafts, drawing, painting, songs and dances, etc.
 
There will also be a local teacher in the class to help the volunteers if needed. Xuan Dinh A Kindergarten is situated in Xuan Dinh Ward, Tay Ho District in North West Hanoi which is 30mins by bus.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Other Skills
If you are under 18 please ensure you have the consent of your guardian before you join this programme. For some of the day care centres you need to be at least 21 so please keep that in mind when you apply.

You should also be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Viet Nam? Volunteer World directly connects you with Plan My Gap Year

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Free-time activities

PMGY volunteers are based in a quiet, friendly neighbourhood approximately 45 minutes from the Old Quarter of Hanoi. There is everything you need within walking distance of the Volunteer House: ATMs, supermarkets, laundrettes, chemists, as well as some great cafes and local bars.
 
High-octane Hanoi is a feast for the senses. The first thing that hits you is the sound of swarms of buzzing motorbikes followed swiftly by the amazing wafts and tastes of incredible street food found throughout the city. Full of distinctive character as well as a confident buzz, Hanoi is now considered a pretty cool city.
 
For many, simply being in Hanoi and soaking up the atmosphere is entertainment in itself but there are many fascinating places for you to visit whilst you’re not volunteering both in the city and further afield.

HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM COMPLEX
The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex is an important place of pilgrimage for many Vietnamese. A traffic-free area of botanical gardens , monuments, memorials and pagodas, it’s usually crowded with groups of Vietnamese who come from far and wide to pay their respects to ‘Uncle Ho’. Within the complex are Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh’s Stilt House and the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda.
 
You will realise very early on that HCM still holds a very special place in the hearts of the Vietnamese people. Crowds queue for hours in order to pay their respects to the iconic leader. The seriousness of the guards and the reverence paid to HCM by the Vietnamese people is an eye opening experience.

THE OLD QUARTER
Take a step back in time into the Old Quarter of Hanoi. It will feel like a different world in comparison to the rest of the city where change takes place daily.
 
It is a warren of old style narrow, meandering streets full of antique brick houses where merchants and artisans would have gathered to sell their wares. Set around Hoan Kiem Lake, a visit here will give you the chance to explore how the locals lived a hundred years ago.

SAPA
Sapa is orientated to make the most of the spectacular views emerging on clear days; overlooking a plunging valley, with mountains towering above on all sides. Views of this epic scenery are often subdued by thick mist rolling across the peaks, but even when it’s cloudy, local hill-tribe people fill the town with colour.

HALONG BAY
Towering limestone pillars and tiny islets topped by forest rise from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. Halong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’ and legend tells that this mystical seascape was created when a great mountain dragon charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouging out valleys and crevasses. As the creature plunged into the sea, the area filled with water leaving only the pinnacles visible. The geological explanation may be a bit more boring but doesn’t make this seascape any less poetic.

Swimming
Concert/Music
Climbing
Hiking
Museum/Opera
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Services

What's included?
Your programme fee includes
  • accommodation, 
  • all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner), 
  • airport pickup (24 hours), 
  • in-country orientation, 
  • private transport to projects, 
  • 24 hour in-country support.

Your registration fee includes; 
  • 24 hour UK based support, 
  • comprehensive volunteer handbook, 
  • live pre-departure webinars, 
  • regular programme inspection.
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup
You should arrive into Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (airport code HAN) on the selected Wednesday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

Accommodation
During your time with PMGY in Vietnam you will live at our Volunteer House located within a quiet and friendly neighbourhood approximately a 45-minute bus journey from the Old Quarter of Hanoi. There is everything you need within walking distance of the Volunteer House: ATMs, supermarkets, laundrettes, chemists etc. There are also some great cafes and local bars. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
 
The accommodation is basic but comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has bunk beds with up to 6 people per room in single-sex, air-conditioned rooms. The bathrooms are shared and each has a western style toilet and hot shower. The house has a communal kitchen with a fridge, oven and washing machine (available free of charge). Free drinking water is available 24/7. There is also a lounge where you can hang out. Wi-Fi is also available in certain parts of the house including the communal area and there is a communal computer you can use. Each volunteer is also provided with a locker to store away valuable items and there are wardrobes to hang your clothes.
 
The Volunteer House is gated and padlocked with an appropriate lock combination to ensure volunteers safety. We also have a member of staff (usually a nanny) present in the house 24 hours a day. Please note if you arrive late in the evening at our Volunteer House then it is likely our local team will not be present and you will meet them the following day. Our local team have an office on the ground floor of the house, which makes for a great atmosphere and ensures volunteers are well supported throughout their stay.
 
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
You will be provided with three meals a day, which will be traditional Vietnamese dishes – this means a lot of rice! All food will be nutritious and freshly cooked.
 
For breakfast you can expect cereal, toast and tea/coffee. Some projects will provide you with lunch, for those that don’t, you will eat at the Volunteer House. Lunch in the house is usually always a Vietnamese dish, which will include soup, rice, vegetables and sometimes meat or fish. For projects a little further afield, you can eat lunch at a local restaurant and then be reimbursed for the value of your lunch up to 40,000 VND.
 
Dinner is served at the Volunteer House. We have cooks at the house who will freshly prepare your meals. You can expect a variety of dishes, so there will be always something to suit even the fussiest eaters! A typical meal will have pork, fish, beef or chicken and tofu or egg and at least 2 different kinds of vegetable dishes, along with rice and soup. Western meals will be served on an ad-hoc basis and our volunteers always appreciate this.
 
If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes and local amenities in the surrounding area or you can take a bus or taxi into the main tourist area, the Old Quarter, in the city of Hanoi.

* Please inform us in your application if you have any dietary requirements. Furthermore, meals on the Sunday arrival date are NOT included, so please budget between £5 to £10 for this.
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs
4 weeks (min. stay)
$722
5 weeks
$811
6 weeks
$900
7 weeks
$990
10 weeks
$1257
12 weeks
$1436
24 weeks (max. stay)
$2506

You can volunteer at the project site in Hanoi/Viet Nam between 4 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Plan My Gap Year will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$142/week
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Viet Nam

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Viet Nam. Please check the visa regulations for Viet Nam.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Viet Nam and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Viet Nam.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Viet Nam.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Noibai International (HAN) in Hanoi. We assist you to find cheap flights to Viet Nam.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Viet Nam provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Viet Nam you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Viet Nam.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Viet Nam while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Viet Nam upfront.
Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi, Viet Nam