Congenital heart defects affect 8 out of 1000 newborns, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Even 15 years ago, many of these newborns would simply die in Vietnam. Today, with the advances made in pediatric cardiology, most of these infants can be successfully treated and go on to live healthy, normal lives. Long-time REI volunteer Dr. Austin Raunikar is seeking to help raise the standard of children’s heart care in Vietnam.
How do you fit a size 12 foot into a size 9 shoe? Sometimes we here at REI have so much going on that we can’t quite communicate everything that has been happening! The work of our Business Education Teams (or Business Teams, if you prefer) is an example. It has been nearly a year since we wrote about this work, but since then we have had 2 teams of skilled and experienced business practitioners serve in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, in November 2015 and again in March 2016. Why did they come? To help build up the future business leaders of Vietnam.
Presley McFadden, REI’s resident staff team leader in Hanoi, has taught English at three prominent universities in Hanoi (Hanoi University, Academy of Finance, and National Economic University) over the past 6 years. Last year he decided it was time for a change. Presley was already working closely with Michael Ong at Tea Talk through volunteering at a number of workshops and English clubs. Could Tea Talk become a place for full-up English courses? The answer: YES!
A new year! A time of celebration, and also a time of reflection and renewal, when people think about the past year, reviewing their direction, recommitting to doing that which is good and right and helpful, and often making resolutions to change, to improve, to make a fresh start. This is a good time for us here at REI to consider what we are doing well, where we can improve—indeed, to consider why we exist at all.
For many of us Westerners, this is the season of giving. We here at REI would like to share with you a story of giving—a story of kindness, of generosity, of devotion, of hope. It involves many people, though we will focus on only a few. May your heart be encouraged and inspired!
What should be the emphasis in health care? This question could receive a variety of responses. Better health outcomes? Patient satisfaction? A good bottom line for shareholders? Dr. Elaine Goehner, our team leader for our Nurses/Mixed Medical Team, believes that the emphasis must be on patient safety, achieved through better teamwork among the different health care professionals.
Why train Vietnamese students in English? Because English, although not the most commonly spoken language in the world (that honor goes to Mandarin) is nevertheless our era’s lingua franca of business and academia. In most countries it is the primary second language taught in schools and can be understood to some extent by 1/3 of the world’s population. English is crucial for anyone who wants to thrive on the global stage. For the past year REI’s Zonia Go (third from left above) has been investing her life in training both students and instructors of other subjects at the Hung Yen University of Technology and Education.
REI, including its subset, REI-Vietnam, is a non-profit organization. There is an old joke about a businessman who said that his business, too, was a non-profit organization. “Although,” he said wistfully, “it wasn’t intended to be.” In our case, from our origins, our intent has been to give, to share, to train, to exchange, to build, without expectation of payment. But it does take money to do what we do. Where does that money come from?