Mùa hè xanh – a national project in Vietnam
This project was created in 1993 under the name “ánh sáng văn hóa hè”, translated as “cultural summer” or “lights of culture”. In 1997 it was renamed “Muà hè xanh” which means “Green Summer”. Set up by students studying education at the University of Ho Chi Minh City, the initial aim of these volunteer projects was to bring the ‘lights of culture’ to remote and poor regions over the summer. Having produced good results, the movement quickly expanded to enable a larger number of students to help impoverished communities with other things such as building renovations, construction, health, telecom.
Look back in time: 1993 was just a few years after Vietnam began to ‘open up’ politically (“Dôi moi”) – this had begun in 1986. It was also just several months before the American embargo was lifted, on 4th February 1994. The country needs to modernize the provinces with the challenge of the development city / country.
From a few thousand to 50,000 participants
Organised by the Vietnamese Students’ Union, “Muà hè xanh” quickly expanded to operate on a national scale. While the first projects attracted several thousand students, in 2010 the project brought together 50,000 participants and this number is expected to be even larger in 2011.
The Green Summer now takes place in a large number of provinces and towns in Vietnam, mainly in the poorest areas. Each partner university is tasked with organising its own areas and recruiting 100 to 200 students. Collaboration between universities means that large events, bringing together thousands of participants, can be organised.
This year, the programme is celebrating its 18th anniversary. The project now exists on such a large scale that a hymn has even been written in its honour.
Major social impact
The migration of thousands of students to the countryside has a major social and economic impact nationally. It can also be said to represent the ‘civil’ version of the patriotic spirit which mobilised young people during the war, now 40 years ago. The programme corresponds to the civil service or ‘youth volunteers’ of the 1970s and 80s. The ‘green summer’ is also based in this ideology to organize projects in the areas of education and reconstruction.
An example project in South Vietnam
More than 900 students met on 7th July at a college in Tháp Muoi, a province in South Vietnam, to prepare the latest project. Wearing their blue uniforms, the young volunteers will work on and join in with the daily life of the people who live in the province. Their main goal is to implement a literacy programme. The local residents give the students a warm welcome and are happy for them to be there.
“Muà hè xanh” allows many students to communicate with Vietnamese people who are poorer than they are. They therefore gain a new perspective on their own country and we can understand why many young Vietnamese people are proud of this project.
In recent years, the activity has also been open to international, welcoming young people from Europe, America and Asia, in search of discovery. This year, an employee of Officience and several students from France are taking part to the project. Photo report when they come back…
Some pictures made by Huy Canh DUONG, business development director at Officience, who participated to MHX in 2005:
Where is Canh???
Thank you very much to Minh Huy and Ngoc Tuyen for their help in finding information!