Australian High School With a Big Heart Makes an Impact in Vietnam

by Narelle Webber on Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Children from Tan Dihn Pre-school. Soon to be learning in the safe space of their newly renovated Fairy Garden through generous donations from ISV Alumni and others from Bede Polding High School in Australia.

Children from Tan Dihn Pre-school in Vietnam, soon will be learning in the safe space of their newly renovated Fairy Garden and playground (c) CPCD

I just read an email that made me cry.

But don’t worry, they were tears of happiness. You see, this email told  a very inspiring story. A story about a Fairy Garden, pre-school children, partnerships, International Student Volunteers and a high school with a big heart.

It’s set in Vietnam (not too far from Hanoi) in Tan Dihn Pre-school. That’s the home of the Fairy Garden, where over 700 children come to hear stories, fairy tales and legends that teach them about the spirit of humanity.

However, the garden and playground were sad; they were feeling neglected and in much need of some love. But there was no money to nurture the garden and make it an inspiring place for the children to learn. That’s where the other characters in the story come to life. In a place far away called Windsor, Australia (near the shadow of the Blue Mountains and close to the bright lights of Sydney) was a generous high school.

This is what the space looked like during renovation (c) CPCD

This is how the Fairy Garden looked before renovation (c) CPC

Teachers, undertaking working on the playground using the materials funded by Bede Polding High School (c) CPCD

Teachers upgrading the playground made possible through donations from Bede Polding High School (c) CPCD

A few years ago, Bede Polding High School sent a team of their students to volunteer in Vietnam as part of a special ISV High School Volunteer Program (I say special because we created it just for them). They travelled thousands of miles, across oceans and lands, to a country where they didn’t know the language or culture, to give of themselves while digging, learning, laughing, painting, teaching, planting, and having the cultural and personal experience of a lifetime in the process. Here are some photos of their happy memories in Vietnam.

The experience made such a dent in their hearts that years later, the school fundraised money to send back to Vietnam to help this community.

Vuon cua be 1

The Fairy Garden after renovation (c) CPCD

This is where partnerships enter the story.  The organisation in Vietnam that connected all the characters is called The Centre for Partnership in Community Development. It’s their email that made me cry. ISV selected this partner and entrusted them with the donation from Bede Polding College (49,410,578.00 VND or forty nine million, four hundred and ten thousand, five hundred and seventy eight Viet dong to be exact i.e. $2,000 AUD). This is their report on bringing the Fairy Garden back to life again – but the photos tell the story best of all.

Thank you Bede Polding, and thank you to the Vietnam NGO Centre for Community Development, and to ISV's staff

Thank you Bede Polding, The Centre for Partnership in Community Development, and to all of ISV’s staff involved in setting up and running the program in Vietnam (c) CPCD

I know it’s often hard to trust that donated money will be used wisely and for the benefit of the people that need it most.  However when it’s done right, it’s beautiful to see that humanity’s generosity can go such a long way – across oceans and lands – to help others in need.


ISV volunteers during their Vietnam program from Bede Polding High School along with ISV leader Kirsty Prior, Jenny Woods and Marg Formenak, teacher chaperones from Bede Polding (c) ISV

Thank you to The Centre for Partnership in Community Development for your collaboration and for taking good care of our volunteers, and your community.

Thank you to Bede Polding High School. Your generosity is inspiring, and we warmly look forward to hosting you again in South East Asia soon. Most of all, thank you to our student volunteers; without you and your big hearts none of this would be possible.

I now like to think about the children in the first photo, listening to their teachers while sitting in their Fairy Garden being inspired by stories of peace, respect, hope and tolerance for all.

To learn more about ISV, our programs in South East Asia and our High School Programs, please visit




{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: