Wow! So this summer, I am interning with a non-governmental organization in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I have already been in Hanoi for one week. It has been amazing so far. Although I have only been here for a short amount of time, I feel like I have already learned so many lessons and have come across a variety of experiences.
My internship is with an organization called Microfinance and Community Development Institute (MACDI), and our main activity is to provide small loans to
individuals and families that live below the poverty line so that they may use that loan to establish a form of income. This income can come from raising livestock, growing crops, etc. To generate income for these loans, we offer microventure tours, tours to various villages around Hanoi that allow visitors to have an interactive and meaningful experience with the people in Vietnam. Yesterday, we traveled to Vay Nua Commune, an area where we are planning to introduce the microventure tours and microloans. We met with the local people, listened to their stories, and tried to understand their way of life. It was unbelievable. Each of their stories was very touching, and I was deeply moved by their strength as human beings and the kindness in their hearts, despite lacking many necessities.
The time that I spent with these families truly taught me a lesson about responsibility and life. We oftentimes act without actually thinking about how our actions will impact someone else. We are so focused on the end result and can become easily distracted by the daily activities of life that we can forget about other people, especially those that are underprivileged. As future leaders, it is our responsibility to consider other people and to listen to their voices, especially when they may only have a small voice in society.
People are interconnected, from the wealthiest individual to the poorest, and when we make decisions, we impact one another. An excellent example is the 2008 recession. The US federal government and Wall Street firms made a variety of decisions that led to the housing crisis and deeply affected many individuals’ lives. This interconnectedness is found not only just in the bailout using taxpayers’ dollars but also in the increase in unemployment—the people who lost a form of income to live and provide for themselves and for their families. Thus, I encourage each and every one of you to learn about the narratives of others and to try and learn their perspectives so that when making decisions, you can accurately assess the impact of your actions, especially on other people.
I know that I was truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear the narratives of the people in Vay Nua. Have you come across any stories or personal narratives that moved you? If so, please share your experience and what you learned!
Lead Her Intern, Campus Calm™