Green Sustainable Business in Vung Tau, Vietnam

Last August, volunteers from STEP’s Environmental related camp “Green You, Green The World” had a great morning to learn about Green Sustainable Business Movement in Vietnam. This interview was a part of their 10 days program in Vung Tau- with the main purposes to raise environmental awareness for the local community while at the same time exchange ideas with Environmental Friendly Initiatives in Vung Tau province. We hope that by combining between practical experiences, non-formal learning activities and field study, participants would be able to enhance their understating about particular world challenges and from that they can contribute to the sustainability of both local and global community in a more effective way.


Like its Wifi Password “Let’s Love Each Other,” Haiyang Tea, a coffee shop located in the central of Vung Tau city, Vietnam, taking its action to love the world and the planet we live on through switching from using plastic mug and straw to a more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

On 21 August 2019, a group of passionate students who participated in STEP ‘s camp gathered in Hai Yang Tea to learn more about its change to a more environmentally-friendly business, which is encouraged by the Mug Tour Activity (Chay Nhat) and the awareness from the owners of the shop. This group of students are connected by an environmental-volunteer project organized by STEP Forward Exchange. This project aims at increasing local awareness of the environment by educating students and the residents living in Vung Tau, conducting tote bag painting workshops, visiting local drink shop that use environmentally-friendly mug/ bamboo straw, visiting local shop that sells environmentally friendly product, and working together with Chat Nhat by joining beach cleaning activities.

With the slogan of “Green You, Green the World!” this multicultural group consisted of eight members from diverse cultural backgrounds, working, learning and living together for 10 days in Vung Tau; Mikako from Japan; Heidi from Taiwan; June from Korea; Evita, Jacob, and Madeline from Indonesia; and Wendy and Soleil from Vietnam. They have the same goals; believing that through small changes they make, it can transform into big changes to make the world a better place to live in. 


The Mug Tour Activity is one of the four activities of Chay Nhat project, a non-profit project founded by Phat Nguyen, aiming at addressing ocean plastic pollution. Seeking for collaboration with local coffee shops and restaurants in Vung Tau, the Mug Tour activity provides 30 mugs for its collaborating shop for a few months. The project hopes to encourage the business to replace plastic cups by mugs when they serve drink to dine-in customers. The 30 Chay Nhat mugs have traveled to four different shops so far and cannot wait to visit their next partnership with their mission to make people aware of the environment and to engage local businesses to combat plastic pollution facing the city. 

The other activities organized by Chay Nhat are educating the students from Vung Tau and Ho Chi Minh city to understand the impact of plastics to the environment. Through discussion and activity such as garbage separation fashion show and making vase using pet-bottle, Mr. Phat empowers the local people of Vung Tau to be more aware of the environment. In addition, Chay Nhat, which literally means running and picking up the trash in Vietnamese language, they also organized beach cleanup activity in Vung Tau beach during the morning hours. STEP Program Exchange are fortunate to be able to join the beach cleanup activity twice during our program. 

Haiyang Tea Shop was the first shop that warmly collaborated with the Mug Tour Activity. After using Chay Nhat mugs for a few months, Haiyang Tea switched to use cups and straws that made of glass and bamboo instead of plastic, hoping to become a greener business model in town.  “Businesses need to make profits, but at the same time we have to check that the thing we do is not harming [others],” said Ms. Doan Thi Hau, the representative of Haiyang Tea Shop. Caring about the environment and the health of our mother Earth, Haiyang Tea is also planning on switching to paper cup for customers who order drinks to go. As the vice president of an Italian company and the chairman of Lighthouse Coaching Club, a non-profits organization, Ms. Hao is advocated in helping Vietnamese people to have a better life in abundance, and at the same time increasing local environmental awareness. She says that: “Everything starts from us, we have to take action, and we have to improve ourselves.”

1. What made the shop decided to change into more environment-friendly business?

At first Haiyang Tea decided to join the Mug Tour because it believes that it is right to be responsible for the community especially in environment impact of the business. Ms. Hau boldly states that in general, business only focuses on making maximum profit and minimal cost as possible. On the other hand, her shop is really concerned about their products impacts and quality; starts from ingredients, shipping, and final product. She emphasizes that if on average in a day they receive order of 60-100 cup, a lot of plastic cup will eventually harm the environment. Therefore for the betterment of community and especially the next generation, the shop start this initiation of changes. 

(Left to Right) Ms. Doan Thi Hau, Wendy from Vietnam, Jacob from Indonesia, Mikako from Japan, Evita from Indonesia.

2. What are the challenges of changing into more environment-friendly business?

First, in the shop perspectives it was hard for the waiters/staff to clean the glass mugs and bamboo straws. The waiters themselves that work there feels it was tiring to clean the used glass mugs and bamboo straws, but she herself and her daughter encourage them not to be lazy and explain about the consequences of it. With time eventually the staff become used to the work and now become their usual habit of business operation.

Second, there are some people who don't like to use glass mugs because it lacks of decoration and not “Instagrammable”. During the phases of their change to become more environmentally friendly they saw the decrease of the demand of their products, but they still insisted to sustain their change because it was more beneficial for their movement of making the world a better place. 

Lastly, their change was generally more costly if with $1 they can get 100 plastic straw, for the bamboo straw they have to increase to ten times of the cost or $10 to get 100 bamboo straw. It is also works for the glass mug comparison with plastic mug.

Haiyang drinks products we ordered when we visited the shop. It uses glass mug and bamboo straws in a serving.

3. How does the community react to the change?

Like one of the challenges they face in previous questions, they received a setback of customer demand at their first initiation of changes. On the other hand, Ms. Hau believes that they now attract different segment of consumers that also believes the importance of conserving the environment and implement responsible consumption. Since at the end of the day because what the shop believes to be true and it is their initiatives to become the good change in Vung Tau neighborhood

4. What is the future plan of the business? 

Ms. Hau believes that in the future Haiyang Tea can keep pursuing their goals to provide healthy drinks to the community. In the short-run, they are planning to install a purifier water system that are processed by a given type of song before people drink it. They hope that the water can be beneficial for people who had a sickness in physical or mental health.

In addition, they want to organize more sharing within the community in their shop about mental health, relationship, lifestyle, and etc. With that they want to attract more “positive” young people to come there and influence the well-being of community. On average, they are organizing the aforesaid event twice every two months.

5. Message to the Young Generation? 

Ms. Hau observes that young people in Vietnam find it hard to figure out the purpose of their life. When asked, they will have a problem to identify their goals and how to contribute to the community. Therefore, it makes them depressed and bored to do something meaningful in their life. She hopes to raise their awareness on the fact that each one of us is connected to one another and to every being on the planet. 

She also believes that the best thing to do is to take action. It starts with loving oneself and therefore we can spread love through our surroundings. If we start helping the community and environment, you will start to think about your mission and purpose of living. The process of making changes is to start with Belief , then Action, and eventually Results and she emphasizes that each  of us has different kinds of goals/ purposes and passion in our life. Therefore it is our job to find those for us to have a fulfilling life. Find your passion and give out the whole of it and you will achieve satisfactory results.


Lastly, She said that Life is a Journey; Keep Moving and Overcome Challenges so Don’t Give Up!

From this experience we are inspired by how the Mug Tour Activity by Mr. Phat Nguyen in Chay Nhat impacts toward shops in Vung Tau. Haiyang Tea Shop with their green sustainable business model proves to be the pioneer in Vung Tau and can set an influence towards other shop so that they can be beneficial towards community and environment. In conclusion, we are really fortunate to meet such inspiring and innovative person towards our camp so that we can grasp their knowledge about urgent issues we are facing now as a global citizen. We hope that we can also in the future can contribute toward this movement in our own way. 

Written by Gregorius Jacob Dwi Prakoso, Indonesia.

STEP received the Concept Design for Binh Thuan Library from NPA Group

Since April 2019, STEP called for Public Donation for our Community Library Project for the children in Binh Thuan Province. Until now, we did raised 66,656,000 VND out of estimated budget of 95,000,000 VND. With the support in designing and construction process managing from NPA Group, STEP just received the first Design for the Library.


This year, STEP plan to build a Community Library for children in Tanh Linh District, Binh Thuan Province. Tanh Linh is a mountainous district of Binh Thuan province, which has a lot of ethnic minority pupils. The local children, some of them go to school only in the morning and in the evening, they work to support their family such as raising livestock, raising buffaloes, raising cows and goats. The rest, as they have no conditions to go to school, they only stay at home to help with farm work.

This is a crowded area and it has a few elementary and junior high schools, however not only it doesn’t have any libraries or cultural center for children, but also it lacks of recreational center. They are in need of places to read books, play games or take part in outdoor activities to improve their life skills such as music, art, English… Thus, Step Forward Exchange has decided to choose this area to build a community library for children.

With the support in designing and construction process managing from NPA Group, STEP just received the first Design for the Library. STEP Team and NPA Group will visit the project site again in August to look for building materials and to work with local constructors. We expect to start building in the beginning of September 2019.

Construction Project, it's much more difficult, but we believe that it can bring long-term impacts. Besides building the library, Step Forward Exchange will also create some playgrounds for the kids. We hope the children can have more opportunities to play traditional games, relax and grow up as equally as other children in big cities. There will have a lot of games to develop mentally and physically, which can be organized by themselves such as football, baseball, chess and even village fairs in the weekend.

The list of donators is updated here:
Project details:
Again, thanks a lot for your continue supports.

GREEN YOU GREEN THE WORLD - Application is Open!


Location: Vung Tau City, Vietnam
Date: 17.08.2019 - 25.08.2019
Topic: Environment, Education
In collaboration with Local Partner: Chạy Nhặt
International Partner: STEP Forward APU & SCI
Financial Support: APU Alumni Social Development Grant
Check out here for the Full Info Sheet:

Program Description:


“Green You - Green the World” Camp is an activity which belongs to the worldwide “Climate for Peace” Campaign of Service Civil International; with the main aim is to promote social and environmental awareness at local level, mainly in Vietnam. Our main project site is Vung Tau - which is famous tourist city in the south of Vietnam. Its beautiful beach is suffering from marine litter by both local and tourists. Therefore, this camp hope to help in contributing directly to environmental protection by cleaning the coastline as well as allowing participants to learn about global and local environmental issues. Moreover, participants will work together to provide workshop for the children in order to enhancing their environmental and intercultural awareness. 

In this project, everybody is expected to contribute their own knowledge and experience regarding environmental issues in order to creating Workshop for Children and Local Youths. Aside from the main tasks, participants will also have chances to learn about Local Cultures and engage with each other through different intercultural activities.

Number of Beneficiaries: Around 100-150 (Primary & High School Students from Vung Tau City)

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  • Cultural Exchange with International Participants

  • Enhance Knowledge on Environmental Issues & Environment Protection

  • Opportunity to participate in International Youth Development Program at local level

  • Improve Soft Skills: Project Management, Event Implementation, Strategic Planning, Public Speaking

Program Activities

1. Learning Activities

Orientation, Reflection, Evaluation facilitated by STEP coordinator:

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Training/ Knowledge Sharing from Local Partner:

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2. Putting LEARNING into ACTIONS

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Tentative Schedule


How to Apply?

Fill in this form and submit before 23:59PM July 28th 2019

Result Announcement (via Email): July 29th to July 31st 2019
Payment Deadline: August 5th 2019

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Asian Platform Meeting & Action for Peace Campaign



The APM (Asian Platform Meeting) for the Service Civil International Regional Network in Asia & Pacific will be held first time ever in Vung Tau, Vietnam from 5 - 7 July. STEP Forward Exchange Vietnam proudly become the host country for this meeting.

Representatives of Asia-Pacific SCI-branches discussed matters concerning the development of SCI in the region. This annual meeting aims to tighten bilateral relationships between SCI branches and contacts and focused on developing projects, as well as promote stronger regional exchanges.

SCI HK, Malaysia, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Indonesia and Australia, STEP Vietnam would be participating. Besides the many sharing, and exchanges... we will have our first Asian 100 Action for Peace Campaign.




ENVIRONMENT FOR PEACE is an event which belongs to the framework of SCI 2020’s 100 Actions for Peace Campaigns, which bringing people from different ages, genders, backgrounds and nationalities together to work towards the same mission (Green Environment for Everybody).

This event has 4 main aims:

1. Improve participation in responding to environmental challenges.
2. Raise awareness about current environmental issues at local and international level
3. Promoting sustainable living in practice for local community
4. Last but not least, promote Intercultural Understanding & Peace by bringing people from different backgrounds come and work together (Since we will have great combination between SCI Asia pacific Activist and local members)

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The activity will be on Sunday Morning - 7 July. Local and international participants will gather in Vung Tau beach to do several fun and meaningful activity together to show the delicate inter-connectivity of our precious Environment and Peace.

Time: 6:00 to 10:00, Sunday, 7 July 2019 (in conjunction with the APM 2019)
Location: Vung Tau city, Vietnam


A. Introduction of about the objectives of the event and about SCI 100 Action For Peace Campaign.
B. Connecting Activities: Chance to let everybody interact and learn about each other. The involvement of participants from different countries (APM delegates) will also be a good chance to do Intercultural Awareness Activities.
C. Trash Treasure Hunt: While cleaning beach, we also learn about what kinds of trash being disposed to the ocean. This will help to increase environmental awareness among participants.
D. Sharing/ Discussion:

● What kinds of environmental saving practices that being carried around the world?
● What can we do at individual level?

Protecting Environment is not a single nation’s responsible but it should be a collective goal between different countries. Having this shared mission which is making our Environment Green and Clean is also a way we are promoting Peace.

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This event is organized by:

STEP Forward Exchange: Youth-led organization with the aims to promote Community Development, Youth Development and Peace Development through International Exchange Activities. In 2015, STEP officially become a contact member of Service Civil International Network (SCI) - a global network of International Voluntary Service.

SCI Asian Development Committee: The Asia Development Committee (ADC) is an informal Service Civil International working group consisting of branches or groups in the Asia-Pacific region, from Japan to Australia, India to Mauritius. Through the Asian Platform Meeting (APM), which we organize 2 times a year, we hope to share best practices, latest information and help in capacity building amongst branches in the Asia-Pacific region

Supporting by Local Partner: Chay Nhat, a project with main objectives to address plastic pollution in Vung Tau City, Vietnam. Chay Nhat works on these main activities: running & ocean clean-up; environmental awareness education, Tote bags Distribution, and Mug Tour.

Let's explore Korea 2019 Camp - Recruiting Vietnamese member!


Are you a K-POP Fan?
Are you fond of Korean cultures, foods?
Do you want to explore the real Korean with Korean friends?

If yes, STEP would like to invite you to apply for this “Korea 2019 camp”, together with Korean and International volunteers you will support local farming and also planning out activities to teach Korean children.

This camp is organized by our partner TVD, and STEP is the main contact for support in sending Vietnamese volunteer.

Here is some information about the camp:
Date: 7 Aug ~ 20 Aug 2019
Location: Gangwon-do and Seoul, Korea
Topic: Teaching, Farming, Culture Exchange

Camp Fee: 290 usd (The camp fee includes food, accommodation, local transportation, materials related to the program. Airfare, Insurance, and Visa cost is excluded. However, our Korean partner will send you invitation letter for Visa Application)
Application Deadline: 8 July 2019 (Result announcement 9/7)
Application Form: Please DOWNLOAD and FILL IN THIS FORM ( and send your application to
(Application will be unselected if it does not follow above instructions)
For more detailed about the program:

5 Vietnamese volunteers will be selected based on such criteria: English Communication, Motivation, Community Contribution-oriented, Past Volunteer Experiences, Team Work, Supportive Mindset.
Applicants need to be 18 years old and above


We help farmers in eco-friendly orchards or farms. Farmers are all eco-friendly activists who are working in cooperatives. We look at the process of making good food with them and volunteer. Also, summer in Korea is very hot. So we start our activities early in the morning. We experience a day of eco-friendly farmers. Even Korean people and students cannot have this kind of experience. You will experience healthy food, air and water. We will have a simple life, well-being life in the countryside.


We do educational services at the Children's Center. We will work together in art time and PE. We hope you will bring the textbooks and games that will be used for educational service. Korean children will be delighted with it. Children in the center have no chance to meet foreigners.Your visit is a great pleasure to them. We hope to share your joy and passion with Korean children. Your volunteer work is a part of your community's education and cultural exchange that will contribute greatly.

Tentative Schedule

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Of Course, aside from working, you will have a lot of time to explore Korean Culture, Sightseeing and making a lot of new friends. Looking forward to your participation!

"Eco Saving - Knowledge Sharing" Project - Calling for support

Our project aims to reduce plastic usage and protect the environment in everyday life with alternative products such as recycled bottles, Rice Starch Straw, Stainless Steel Straw, etc as well to contribute funds in building the Community Library for children in Binh Thuan province, Vietnam.



This year, STEP plan to build a Community Library for children in Tanh Linh District, Binh Thuan Province. In this area, people mainly are famers, children do not have much conditions to go to school since they need to support their parents. Therefore , we hope to build a Non-formal Learning Environment for them to learn and improve their knowldege about the world.

The total estimated cost of the project is 95 million VND, we did raised 13,550,000 VND up to now.

� Details for Community Library project:

Information about Funding Progress:


In STEP, we have both short and long-term activities:

We still give gifts for kids whenever we received supports from the Dona-tors but we aims to more sustainable activities. Construction Project, it 's much more difficult, but we believe that it can bring long-term impacts. One of an example as the project of building Rehabilitation Center for Disadvantage people in Vinh Long Province that we did in 2017 (article about Old Project:

Aside from building library for the children in rural area, we will also combine the workshop for the children there to improve their social awareness and broaden their worldview.  We are trying to connect with other organizations that works in different fields in order to do these activities together. If you know anyone who is interested, please connect to us �


Of course, there will be many ways to support so that everyone can contribute to create CHANGES:

1. Support by buying Alternative Products to Save our Planet:

35 % of total order will be donate to our Library fund. The products and details included in the picture ^^


Link for purchasing:

2. financial support:

Please transfer your money to:

Name: Le Minh Anh Thu
Account Number: 235136619
ACB Bank, Vinh Long branch

Name: Trinh Hoa Thom
Account Number: 0081001171675
Vietcombank, Vung Tau branch

(when your donate, don't forget to write your name and if you can, please give us your email. On behalf of the kids, we want to say thank you as well as updating the progress of the project)

3. Support by donating of books, comics, tables, bookshelf, books, fans, computer, for the Library

4. Joining Step team to visit  the project site on 18,19/5/2019 in order to prepare and implement.  We plan to organize workshop to improve environmental awareness, social knowledge for children in this area.

Step team always believes that SMALL ACTIONS CAN BRING BIG CHANGES. Therefore, by SHARING this post, purchasing our fundraising products,  money contribution, or joining hand with us to Binh Thuan Province - every ACTIONS is always appreciated! <3

Thanks a lot for your continuous supports!


Dear all volunteers, donator and friends; STEP Forward Exchange would like to thank you all for your continuous supports. We hope to contribute more positive changes to our community and of course, please join a hand with us.

Below are Our impacts in summary up to now (March 2019)

- Built 3 Charity Houses in Mekong Delta Area 
- Built 1 Rehabilitation Center in Ngai Tu commune, Vinh Long
- Renovate Schools in Vinh Long including creating new school yard, renovating restroom, etc
- Donated Fans/ Lights for Primary School in Dong Nai, and built small playgrounds for children
- Created Football Match in Nui Tuong, Dong Nai
- Organize Mid-Autumn festivals, Christmas, New Year - and donated uniforms, textbooks, notebooks 
- Organized art workshop, culture exchange events for local children
- Donated computers for Thoi Son School, An Giang
- Number of International Workcamps/Programs: 15
- Number of Local Volunteer Trips/ Mini Camps: 7
- Number of involved volunteers (both local and international): More than 500
- Number of direct and indirect beneficiaries (local community, participants): Approx. 10000

We believe that SMALL ACTIONS CAN LEAD TO BIG CHANGES. And we hope to inspire more people to join hand with us:D.


Welcome new core members to join STEP!

We are very glad to welcome new core members to join STEP from now on! They have different professions but all share one thing in common: the passion to contribute to the community around them. Let's give them big applause and take a look at who they are:



Min had her first role in STEP as local volunteer for Hong Kong students workcamp in Dec 2017. From then on, as her profession is Human Resources Management, she has been supporting STEP in various tasks including recruitment of new local volunteers, proposing training session and handling marketing activities on Facebook fanpage. Min is passionate about making a positive change for the community and contributing more to the society.



Thom's initiative at STEP Forward Exchange started 3 years ago, with a role as Representative of Japan branch. Thom is aspired to contribute for the development of beloved Vietnam as well as the organization itself. Thom also supports STEP as Project Manager.



Nghia has come to realize that his passion lies in helping people who are less advantaged. STEP provides a great environment where he can bring his ideas to life and contribute good things to the community. Nghia supports STEP as camp and project coordinator.

STEP's 2017 Annual Report

Perhaps 2017 is one of our busiest year but we are very proud and happy that we had done many activities which bring positive impacts to the community. Here are summary of our works so far:

1.Mini Volunteer Camp 1 - “Understanding the rural community” 03,04 March 2017

18 members joined the camp whereas besides local volunteers , there were aslo 2 volunteers from Australia, 1 from Spain, 1 from America.

Our activities included:

  • Preliminary inspection, survey for information about commune in order to support for building the rehabilitation center
  • Visited disabled children’s houses to understand real situation
  • Organized culture exchange with local poor children, give them a chance to develop personal skills and social knowledge.
  • Gave some presents for poor kids to encourage them study harder.

General Information about our Mini Camp:

Mini Camp can be understood as a small voluntary trip with the combination between Learning and Sharing. Mini Camp will be planned and organized by volunteers with the supports  from  experienced members. This means that volunteers are expected to be an active member from preparatory stage to operation stage.


  • Creating a peaceful and harmonious society whereas people from all backgrounds can gather to exchange ideas and work together for the same purposes.
  •  Promoting the connection between people from rural and urban areas, between the participants and the benificaries. 
  • Creating opportunity for local communities to expose to new culture and up to date knowledge
  • Promoting better community development ‘s activities

2. Successful in funding and building Rehabilitation Center for local community in Mekong Delta Area, March- August 2017

Physaical therapy is a dynamic treatment that aims to assist individuals with the achievement, maintenance, and restoration of maximal physical functioning and health throughout their life.

However, for around 300 disabled people in the 3 village Long My, Binh Ninh, Ngai Tu ( which consider a rural area in Mekong Delta area) , they need to travel about 2 hours in order to come to the rehabilitation center for the treatment.

Realizing the needs for having proper place and facility for these special groups, in the beginning of March 2017, we already visited the village in order to understand more about the situation and start the project plan. We believe that having the Rehabilitation Center in the village would be a long term "investment" because it will not only help to lessen the cost of transportation of these special people but also assists them in maximizing their physical functioning.


The total cost for building the center as well as for management is 107,003,806 VND (nearly 5000 USD).After 2 months of calling for donations from public, we received in total of 23,200,000 VND from individuals donating, 65,000,000 VND from Gia Nguyen Advertising Company, and the rest is supported by NPA Group ( the main design and building constructor )

We are really appreciated for all the contribution. The project was successfully implemented in August with the participation of different representative: Tam Binh - Ngai Tu Commune Local Authority, Ngai Tu Clinic Center, Gia Nguyen Advertising Company, NPA Group and Step team.

3. SCI Asian Platform Meeting / Peers to Peace Learning Seminar - Penang, Malaysia 14 -20 July 2017

Wendy , representing STEP Vietnam participated in the SCI Asian Platform meeting and Peers to Peace Learning Seminar in Penang, Malaysia on July 2017. In the SCI APM, Wendy has proposed the developing of SCI Asian FB Fanpage to promote SCI activities in Asia to wider network.


Besides, the involvement in the Learning Seminar was also a great opportunity for STEP to learn about Fund-raising and Knowledge Management as well as get deeper engagement with other SCI members from international branches.

4. Mini Volunteer Camp 2 - “Intercultural Exchange and Movie Night”- 22,23 July 2017


We organized Movie night and Handmade workshop,  for children and supported in cleaning up and painting the new rehabilitation center with the participation of 3 volunteers from French and local volunteers. Even though it's just a short trip but hopefully we can bring some new experience for the kids in the village as well as for the volunteers who joined our project.

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5. Summer Workcamp 2017 – Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University 08 - 16 August 2017

We organized 8 days workcamp with 8 participants from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (3 from Thailand, 1 from Japan and the rest from Vietnam). We did cultural exchange and taught local children English as well as about Thailand and Japan. Participants also had a very great time together with lot of activities such as self development activities, reflection, bonding game, etc.


Back to the university, STEP Forward APU also hold information session with other members and students in order to share about their experience in Vietnam. Moreover, the team also have frequent meet up to plan activities to promote community development and social awareness for more people. 




In early December, we organized a small ideas exchange workshop for young Vietnamese with the purpose to increase their understanding about how our stereotypes are formed and what can we do to break these stereotypes in order to enhance people's limitation.

**Purpose of this workshop:

  • aising awareness about stereotype and utilizing these understanding for improving personal capacity as well as limiting the negative impacts of stereotype on to the development of oneself and to others. 
  • Encouraging the Knowledge Sharing‘s habits
  • Creating an environment whereas English can be used for discussing and exchanging ideas.
After the discussions, we realized that each of us already had some stereotypes about certain group of people in our mind.&nbsp;

After the discussions, we realized that each of us already had some stereotypes about certain group of people in our mind. 

7. Culture Night - 09 December 2017


Last week,  together with CSDS Saigon, we organized the Culture Night with the purpose to increase cultural understandings for young Vietnamese as well as to raise funds for the "Bright Future Project" - which is to support children in Dong Nai province.  
The culture night included the sharing from international volunteers from America, Denmark, Slovakia, Columbia, Germany, France. 


8. Our On-going and upcoming activities:

  • Calling for donation in “Bright Future Project” - implementing light bulb for 30 classrooms and making children playground for the local school in Dong Nai province, Vietnam
  • Organizing workcamp with student group from SCI Hong Kong from 28/12 to 03/01

Thank you very much for reading!

Vietnam Summer Workcamp 2016 - A sharing from our Malaysian volunteer !

Listen to Chun Yong- a Malaysian volunteer who participated in our Vietnam Summer Workcamp 2016 about his experience
          On the 5th August- 15th August 2016, I had joined a summer workcamp held in Vinh Long, Vietnam In which my job is to teach the elementary school students in the rural area of Vinh Long about English. 
          I arrived at Ho Chi Minh the very first day and get to know other participants from different country such as Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Spain and Indonesia. We had an introduction and ice breaking session in order to know each other better. The next day we depart to Vinh Long in a van and the journey took approximately 3 and half hours. We were welcomed by the host family when we arrived there and we had a really great dinner with the family.  
          The next day, we started to discuss and plan about the activities that we are going to have in the school on the next day. Our focus is to let the children learn some basic English in an interesting way, so we decided to conduct some game in which the children will gain some knowledge in English throughout the games. Besides, we divided ourselves into 3 groups in order to handle different group of children of total amount approximately 60 students. We had a great time with the students and they gave us 100% cooperation as well. 

The students of age 8 to 10 gathered at the public area in the school with their teachers

The students of age 8 to 10 gathered at the public area in the school with their teachers

    For the second day, it was a sport day in which all students are asked to divide into 3 groups as usual and we as the committee will handle and conduct the sports. For sport day, our main objective is to let them know about teamwork besides teaching them some new English vocabularies throughout the sports/games.

  Even the teachers joined us in the sport games. The students had a lot of fun. 

&nbsp;Teaching basic English for the kids

 Teaching basic English for the kids

 We enjoyed ourselves very much in the school even though communication is the main problem as students’ English level is nearly zero and we had to use body languages most of the time or seek for help from the local participants for translation. We can see that the students had a lot of fun and enjoyed very much. 
            Throughout the workcamp, we were assigned to plan and prepare our daily meal (lunch and dinner) based on a rotation basis according to our own group. It was really fun and interesting preparing meals with other participants as we were mixed up in a group, which means we have different nationality in the group and we always got to try some international cuisine such as Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Korean and even Vietnamese food for our meals throughout the workcamp. 

         During the free time, we will sit down together and chitchat about our own stories from our homeland, share our very own experiences in school, in life, and sometimes play some games in order to strengthen our bonding in this camp. Besides, we played a game called “ secret buddy” in which we will have to take care of someone without letting them know and this had further strengthen our relationship.  At the night, we will review back what we had done for the whole day , and try to figure out the solutions for any problems we were facing, to make the next day better.

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;Our mailbox

                                                                 Our mailbox

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;We created our very own camp song and sing along together during free time.&nbsp;

             We created our very own camp song and sing along together during free time. 

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;We had a chance for a boat ride down the Mekong river .It was AMAZING!

                 We had a chance for a boat ride down the Mekong river .It was AMAZING!

For the last day in the school, we had cultural exchange with the students in which participants will have to promote the culture of their own country in any way. I decided to promote Malaysia to the students by introducing them the local famous song “Rasa Sayang” and teach the students to dance to it. They enjoyed the song and the dance very much.  
After our session officially ended, we had a dinner with the local teachers and they prepared some Vietnamese food as a way of showing gratitude to all of us.  

  And finally, it is the time for us to leave the village and head back to Ho Chi Minh City, we couldn’t thank much for the hospitality and help from the host family all this while.

   It was really hard for all of us to say goodbye because there were too much memories we had made here throughout the one week camp and those memories are going to stay deep inside our heart, forever. 

  Back to Ho Chi Minh City , we had a city tour guided by Wendy.We visited the famous spot in Ho Chi Minh city such as war museum, Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Square etc. In the afternoon, we had a small exchange program with the students of University of Science and Human Resources, HCMC. We learnt about the history, geography and also the famous things in Vietnam through slideshows and we all were really impressed. 

    And after that, we all went out of the university and had a “scavenger hunt” in which we were divided into groups and assigned task. We got to explore the Ho Chi Minh city while completing the tasks given. It was really tiring but fun anyway. We ended our day with dinner with the amazing people from university. 

 So here comes to the end of the Vietnam Summer Workcamp 2016 by STEP Forward Exchange. Personally, I think this program had benefited me a lot and the experience I gained throughout the camp is really priceless. I have met a bunch of motivated people from all around the world with the same mission, we get to know each other cultures and background better and we spent some really great moment together in the camp. The organisation of the whole camp was good and we had a lot of interesting activities from time to time. It was way more better than what I expect at the beginning. And lastly, thanks to SCI Malaysia for giving me this chance to try out something new to me, which is going to remain in my memory for lifetime. 

Chan Chun Yong  
Participant of Vietnam Summer Workcamp 2016 by STEP Forward Exchange

STEP's engagement with Service Civil International (SCI)

Since 2015, STEP Forward Exchange proudly became a contact member of Service Civil International (SCI);  which is an organisation that promotes international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. As a grass root organisation, this achievement is considered as a focal point that has allowed us to be more active in contributing to Peace movements both in regional and international levels.

In July, our representative Anh Thu (Wendy) was a recipient of the SCI Asia Pacific Development Fund and was invited to participate in the SCI Asian Platform Meeting 2016. The meeting was hosted in Khalia Peace Center, Madaripur, Bangladesh. This annual meeting aims to tighten bilateral relationships between SCI branches and contacts and focused on developing projects, as well as promote stronger regional exchanges. The meeting was followed by “Non-Violence Resolution Workshop” carried out by SCI Bangladesh. In this 2 day workshop, participants had a chance to learn about how internal and external conflicts occur; by exchanging personal experiences and discussing how to resolve conflicts through a more peaceful approach.

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;  &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;  &nbsp; Delegates and Participants from SCI Asian braches and contacts.&nbsp;

                                                           Delegates and Participants from SCI Asian braches and contacts. 

Coming back from this meeting, our members are excited to implement new learning to our projects.  As such, we are now preparing for the upcoming Summer Workcamp which will take place in Vinh Long province, Vietnam. The camp will bring volunteers from different corners of the world to work together for 10 days, with the intentions to support the learning of English and provide an intercultural experience for the children in the rural area of Vietnam.  

For more details about the SCI Asian Platform Meeting and SCI ‘s activities, please visit here:

StepForward APU Workcamp

StepForward has just had a great couple of weeks completing it’s second workcamp in Vietnam. With members from our Japanese affiliate StepForward APU participating along with local Vietnamese students, it was an exciting camp as we introduced our Japanese members to Vietnamese culture as well as travelling to Tam Binh to work on renovations at a local school to be ready in time for the new school year. 

With the aims of promoting Vietnamese-Japanese friendship, youth development through volunteer work and improving the lives of the local community in Tam Binh, the camp was a great success.

Split between Saigon, Vinh Long City and Tam Binh, the participants were busy visiting various cultural sites and orphanages to better understand the history and current social situation in Vietnam. As well as this they also visited our friends at Habataku Inc., a Japanese social enterprise operating in Ho Chi Minh City to learn more on the perspective of Japanese living and working in Vietnam and their experiences, both positive and negative.

There was also a visit to the University of Social Science and Humanities in Saigon to meet with the students there and share experiences of studying in both Vietnam and Japan. This was a good experience for both the participants and local students as they furthered their understanding of each country as well as making friends in the process.

Visiting Tam Binh, the group travelled to a local primary school, Truong Tieu Hoc Ngai Tu, where they worked on renovations to classrooms, painting the walls and laying new floors. StepForward also donated gifts and scholarships for 50 children attending the school. Developing the learning experience of children in rural communities is a key goal of StepForward and we hope that this school is the one of many we can partner with and improve in the future.

All in all, a fantastic couple of weeks for everyone involved and we are really looking forward to our next camp in December where StepForward will build a new house for a impoverished family in Tam Binh.

Arigatou Step Forward APU

It was a great end to the year in Japan as our affiliate, Step Forward APU, raised a fantastic ¥29,450 (AU$303) as a result of their 'Recycle Happiness' campaign. The group collected second-hand items and 'recycled' them in the Tenkusai Festival of the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Beppu, Japan. 

The campaign was a great success, not only with all the funds raised going directly towards StepForward's housing projects in Vinh Long, but also a great way of connecting students and teachers of different nationalities and backgrounds within a collective social effort. As well as this, there were many local residents from Beppu in attendance who were able to learn more about our projects, furthering our connection with the local community there.

Our first housing project, 'Brick by Brick' will begin in just over 3 weeks so Step Forward APU's contribution is a massive help! You can learn more about the project here and if you would like to donate, you can do so via the button below. 


Thanks for your support!

'Cycling to School' in Saigon

On Sunday 30th Nov, Our 'Cycling to School' event took place with about 30 participants, comprising of both local Vietnamese volunteers and international friends. The event was held with the purpose of raising funds for children, raising awareness and promoting a healthy and happy life for everybody.


It was a great day as participants met early at Le Van Tam park in District 1 and took on the 7km cycle to Ky Quang Pagoda in Go Vap District. Once there, we visited the orphanage within the Pagoda which takes care of both abled and disabled children of varying ages. Our participants spent time with the children, playing with and feeding them as well as donating some gifts to the orphanage and children there.

After the long (and hot) cycle, this was a great way for our members to finish up their day bonding with the children as well as each other. It was also a great opportunity to give our international guests a further insight into issue of orphan welfare in Vietnam, with the country's recent tumultuous history still having an impact today.

While our main focus is our sustainable housing projects in Vinh Long, we are always looking to arrange events like this which can build ties within the community in Ho Chi Minh City as well as create connections and understanding through collective social work. 

Thanks to all the participants who joined with us on the day, we look forward to building more meaningful activities to connect Vietnamese and International youth in the future. 

Taking a STEP Forward In Japan

StepFoward is very excited to announce to formation of STEP Forward APU in Japan!

Formed by StepForward founder, Anh Thu Le and her fellow students from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific  Universtiy, the group is working to organise their own volunteer activities for Japanese, Vietnamese and International youth as well as fundraising and building awareness of our programs in Vietnam.

The group is also a member of the 'Peace Conference of Youth 2014', an open discussion environment working to discover the best ways to achieve lasting 'peace on earth'. The conference empowers young people to take the initiative in creating sustainable actions and problem solving solutions thus cultivating future leaders whose proactive actions can have a lasting impact on world peace. We are proud to be a part of this and are looking forward to both contributing and learning from other groups and individuals!

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STEP Forward APU's first activity, 'Recycle Happiness', is in full swing now as we call for donations of second-hand items that can be sold and 'recycled' rather than being left unused and wasted.

All the funds raised will go directly towards StepForward's housing projects in Vinh Long, Vietnam. This is a great achievement for both StepForward and our Japanese partners as we together seek to improve the lives of those less fortunate as well as encourage International youth to get involved in social development work and volunteer activities. 

Check out the latest updates on the official STEP Forward APU Facebook page here.

STEP Workshop - 28/9/14

A great day last Sunday at our intercultural communication event, 'Step Out Of Your Boundaries'. This was the first of many workshops that STEP will organise and we want to give a big thanks to all our participants and guests for their contribution and of course Habataku Inc members and Yoshitaka Ohara san, Habataku director, for the big support!

The day was centred around the obstacles arising in a multicultural environment, both positive and negative, and how despite the negative issues, teamwork is a universal concept; something we at STEP strongly believe. Interlinked with our sustainable housing projects in Vinh Long, our other key areas of work are personal development and cultural exchange and offering a platform for experiential learning. In this globalised world, the significance of cultural awareness can never be understated; allowing us the chance to learn and develop ourselves through a better understanding of others.

The group yesterday had a great diversity with Vietnamese, Filipino, Japanese and British people in attendance and everyone had a fantastic opportunity to do just that through an interesting mix of team building activities and cultural awareness exercises. Whilst many of us may come from a different country, culture even education, when faced with a collective goal we come to the realisation that our differences can bring us together, not segregate us.

At STEP, we want to emphasise this point and break the 'barriers' that we sometimes think exist. Our housing projects are just one way of achieving this, we work to empower Vietnamese and international youth, giving them the confidence to speak up and instigate a positive change in not just their own, but all of our futures.

We're taking a 'STEP', come with us!


New Event - 'Step Out Of Your Boundaries'

Expand your intercultural communication skill in today's diverse living and working environment with STEP Forward Exchange and Habataku, Inc.

Habataku, Inc is a Japanese social enterprise which aims to construct a learning environment that can bring every individual’s potential into full play as well as encouragement of next leaders who can co-Create a better future and build a relationship with each individual, crossing the border.


Time       :       10am – 5pm

Date         :        Sunday, 28th September 2014

Location :       7B , 145 Dien Bien Phu, Da Kao Ward, Dist 1

Participants:    University students, international guests, youth leaders, guest speaker

Registration procedure: Only 15 people will be selected  Please register below, a confirmation email will be sent for successful applicants.

Registration fee:          50 000 VND ( pay on arrival) ( included class materials, lunch and tea break)

Deadline :  Thursday , 25th September 2014

Event Agenda

9:45 – 10:00   Reception       

10:00 – 10:15  Warm Up       

10:15 – 10:35  Introduction    


10:35  -11:30   Activity 1 : Understanding me -understanding others           


11:30 – 12:00  Activity 2: The difference between doing alone and group   

12:00 – 13:00  LUNCH BREAK

13:00 – 13:45  Activity 3: We need each other - Strength of Teamwork      

13:45 – 14:!5   Activity 4:  Miscommunication          


14:15 – 15:00 Activity 5: Cross-cultural Sensitivity   

15:00 – 15:20  TEA BREAK  

15:20 : 16:20   Activity 6


16:20 – 17:00  Reflection- Finished