Allambie, the children and Suzanne:
When we arrived in HCMC, first thing we did was meeting Suzanne to introduce ourselves and for her to explain how things work there. She was very helpful and let us know about accommodation, transportation and things to do in HCMC.

On our first day at Allambie, we were invited for lunch to meet the kids and see what it looks like. To my surprise, this “orphanage” was much more like a happy home in which a big family lived in.

Suzanne had told us about the terrible conditions in which they lived in their previous orphanage. But when I met them, had I not known, I would never have guessed.

They were truly adorable and happy children. They are all well-fed, going to school (one of the boys is already in uni studying business, and Sa is going this year to study tourism). Children who are a bit behind in school receive extra classes at home and they also have extra-curricular activities. Not only do they have someone who provides them with comfort and material necessities, Suzanne has given them hope of a future and most importantly the love of a mother.

As previously mentioned, this was my first time volunteering with children and I had never taught before. As English is not my first language, I didn’t want to teach it so I told Suzanne that I could teach computer skills. Luckily, Nhi (one of the older girls) wants to become a movie editor! So I spent a lot of time with her working with Windows Movie Maker and Photoshop.

She was a very fast learner and we got a video project to do about the kids in Allambie which is already available online. We also did a bit of English reading (but that wasn’t as much fun!) Besides working with Nhi, we also took the younger ones to play in the park, we went to the aqua park, played games and cards and went to a very nice beach for a day (Vung Tao). At the end of my stay in HCMC, Suzanne invited me over for a lovely good bye-lunch with delicious food and I also received a wonderful cup signed by everyone in Allambie which I cherish very much!

All in all, I really enjoyed my time at Allambie, had a lot of fun and I feel like I’ve made new friends there whom I’d love to meet again. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in volunteering or just want to meet genuinely nice people during their stay in HCMC. It is really laid-back, good family atmosphere and the kids want to learn and have fun at the same time.

Patrick from Sweden