Donate to Volunteers in Asia

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$300 donated
$0 more needed

This fundraiser closed 4 months ago

Hello family and friends!

I'm sure some of you have been wondering what exactly it is that I've been doing and, maybe even, where in the world I'm actually living at the moment. Well, to give an update, I'm currently teaching English at Can Tho University, in Vietnam. Over the summer, I was given an incredible opportunity to live and work in Can Tho, the largest city in the heart of Vietnam's Mekong Delta, thanks to Volunteers in Asia (VIA). VIA is a non-government, service organization founded by world-minded individuals from Stanford University to build partnership and post volunteers from the US to countries in Southeast Asia, as well as in China. The vision of VIA is to create cross-cultural understanding and experiences between American youth and the Asian community.

For the past five months, I have been working with a project called the Mekong 1000. The project invests in the education of 1,000 promising students that will work to develop and transform rural communities in areas of southern Vietnam. My responsibility is to prepare these students, who are young professionals throughout the Mekong Delta identified as future leaders in their fields. Their goal is to improve their English and academic skills in preparation for pursuing graduate studies abroad supported by scholarships.

I have also spent some of my time working for education programs such as the IDP, and participating in different sports programs with the local youth. So far, my experience has been one that is extremely difficult to share in short. From seeing the reaction of my class when a student has a breakthrough moment in properly pronouncing a word like 'vegetable', to getting a haircut on my own (in Vietnamese) are just some of the experiences that I'll never forget.

This year, VIA is celebrating its 50th anniversary and set up a Project Fund to help support its volunteers. This initiative provides financial support for projects inspired by volunteers, as well as a scholarship fund for future fellows.

The Project Fund is a trust set up by your donations to support a project that a volunteer wants to pursue for the development of that community. It's essentially, micro-grants for initiatives that have been approved by a committee board VIA will assemble. I for one would love to initiate a variation of TED–like talks for fun, inspiring, and interesting stories that are taking place around Can Tho.

As you all know, I'm not one to normally ask for support, unless it's something that I really believe makes a significant difference. The service and presence of VIA in all the countries it serves is so profound and lasting, that I felt compelled to create this cause.

I would like to achieve my goal by the end of February, which is also the end of the fundraising drive. I really hope you will find it in your heart to support this cause. In return for your support, I am willing to offer gifts of gratitude to the donors in the form of these prizes:

•  If you donate $25 or more, you will receive a cool or outrageous postcard with a thank-you note

•  If you donate $50 or more, you will receive a picture of me eating one of the following (of your choice):

Dog, crocodile, fetal duck, rat, snails, snake, turtle, pig nipples, snakehead fish, durian, goat, rabbit, guinea pig, frogs, birds, and…well pretty much nothing is off-limits here (sorry PETA)

•  If you donate $100 or more, you will receive a handwritten or e-mailed (if preferred) thank-you letter from one of my students (this is a good homework assignment)

•  If I reach my overall goal, I will forever remember everyone's contributions and will be extremely grateful

PS: prizes are negotiable and your donations are tax-deductible!

Love, Toku

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