Making Fond Memories
Remembering well her afternoons at a mobile library, Gladys Ng jumps at the chance to help children in Vietnam make similar memories.
Gladys Ng remembers fondly reading books from a mobile library. Being able to help children in Vietnam make similar memories was a real treat.
“When I heard about a project to bring books and the internet in a van to village children in Vietnam, something stirred inside me.
I remembered being a child myself, heading to the community centre near my HDB flat on Wednesdays, where a van filled with books would be parked.
That mobile library, in a time before Singapore had regional libraries, allowed me to dive into other worlds, exploring far away kingdoms and even helping solve murder mysteries.
I have such fond memories of that part of my childhood, so I was thrilled that now, I could help other children make their own special memories.
I had been looking to do some volunteer work, but didn’t feel I could build houses and schools, or render any medical assistance. Helping children to learn through ice-breakers and show-and-tell sessions, however, was something I felt I could handle.
So, together with several other volunteers – none of whom were teachers or librarians – I spent four days in rural villages near Hanoi this year, working with the SIF’s Words on Wheels project.
Whenever we arrived at a village school, the children would swarm around us with great curiosity. The moment they saw the books, it was like a feeding frenzy. Books would literally fly off the shelves!
Together with some of my fellow volunteers, I am already thinking of a second stint.
On the last day of our visit, a few children finally understood my charade of instructions on how to form words using alphabet cards. A shy boy wearing a beanie hat stood by the side observing and saying nothing before he picked out the right cards by himself and spelt out the longest English sentence I would see on the trip: ‘I like cat’. I wonder what he will be capable of writing in a year’s time.”Back
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