During 5 days 4 nights, fron 19th to 23rd, June, the Green Citizen Camps welcomed 49 young campers, who are secondary school students from different Northern cities and provinces, on a journey of learning about environmental issues and sustainable energy. The Green Citizen Camp is part of the E-Enhance project, funded by the European Union. The purpose of the camp is not only to create an environment where the students can freely learn and explore the Energy topic but also to let them learn and develop the Global Citizen skills in the most natural ways. Let’s look back and see what the young campers experienced during this journey?
Day 1: The start of the Global Citizen Camp
The journey began as the 49 young campers arrived at Nha Dieu, bringing with them their excitement, a willingness to learn, and a bright smile. Ready to welcome them were Mr Antoine Vander Elst – European Union Delegation representative in Vietnam, the co-founders and architects of Nha Dieu, teachers from 05 Green Schools along with air and energy experts from GreenID Vietnam.
Mr Antoine Vander Elst – European Union Delegation (EUD) representative in Vietnam shares information about EUD Green School Program, E Enhance project
On the first day, all 70 people from different cities and countries stepped out of the usual working and studying environment, came with an open heart to emerge themselves with the natural environment, and “breaking the ice” between them all. We understand that it is hard for one to be exposed to an entirely new and strange environment. Thus, the first thing we work on together was to build mutually-agreed camp rules. This Camp was for them, therefore, letting them input their ideas was our way to encourage them to create a spirit of initiative, responsibility and harmony in a multicultural environment.
Sharing something we bring to Green Citizen Camp together
Connecting and sharing
The lesson about listening and appreciating the natural beauty and local culture are also two of the things we wanted the young campers to understand to inspire the global citizen in them. During the 2-hour activities in the afternoon, they have involved in many activities that perhaps not all of them had a chance to experienced before, for example, learning about a traditional painting called “Dong Ho”, playing traditional games, catching fish, and planting their little garden. Seeing their faces brimming with excitement, the sweat pouring down their cheeks or their muddy hands, we believe that they are slowly growing their soul, their trust and their appreciation for the environment around them.
Day 2: The journey of discovery
A burst of passion was what we felt from the young campers, both their loud cheering or the gleaming smiles on their faces, during their second day of discovering global environmental issues. The second day was designed as a game with different stations, where they will work together as a team to overcome the 06 challenges that the GreenID committee set out; from there, exploring and learning about the environmental issues surrounding them through the most natural way.
Station 1: Caterpillar Race
Integrating knowledge on energy, environment, and air in games and activities, while creating a comfortable environment for children to have hands-on experience in solving problems and finding solutions for local environmental issues, is the primary approach to study that we have chosen not only for day two but throughout the Global Citizen Camp. This is the beginning of their journey of shaping their understanding about the need to change and develop green behaviour, for themselves, their families and loved ones. 06 stations with many different challenges like “ Green Energy” “Clean Air”, from the overcoming obstacles at the Water station, or activities requiring them to be very careful and gentle at the Waste station, to the “Finding Missing Puzzle” that needs their highest patience and team spirit. All of those challenges nor the 35 degree Celsius of a summer day did not seem to stop them from reaching finishing their quest.
Station 2: A Plastic-Filled River
Their faces stained with colour powder, the bare feet not afraid of dirt, the encouragement for each other when the challenges were too difficult; yet they did not give up. The seeds that were planted in them started to grow as they began to be aware of their surroundings and offered to help wherever they could, or they learned to get to know each other during lunch and to work together to find a fair showering schedule without the help of us. During lunch, some of them kept asking us whether there would be a Camp next year, while one of them secretly placed some candies into our hands. Children always see and feel things with an open heart, especially towards their loved ones and the places that they stay at. The second day ended just like that, filled with feelings, not only from the young campers but also from the teachers and camp committee. Thank you for coming here with your young and innocent minds and a pioneering spirit that is not afraid of anything. We understand that teaching a child is not something we should do from one side; with the right push and encouragement from the teachers or the adults around them and also placed in an environment where they can experience themselves, they will be able to do and achieve things beyond our imagination.
Station 3: Rescuing clean water
Station 4: Our clean air - Let's all fly the kites together!
Making a green initiative together
Day 3: Narrowing the energy gap
Energy is not something new or strange to the 49 campers of the Global Citizen Camp, yet to allow them to approach it through the most natural way and to help them build a “Can Do” spirit was not a simple task. The question was, how would they learn about “Efficient use of energy at home and school” right here at Nha Dieu, in this 50m2 room. An empty room and the 30 degree Celsius summer day, some of them sat together at a corner with a big electric fan, some of them had to sit near a sunny window without any wind, some had a simple fan made from leaves, while others had electric fans that were out of battery. The reality of energy shortage from all parts of the country suddenly shrunk and visually existed in the minds of the young campers; electricity and water – the fundamental human needs – are not always readily available for us. The journey of narrowing this energy gap would not be difficult to achieve once they understand and start to use energy more efficiently.
Relay game - Narrowing the energy gap
We understand that children – with their unconditional love and an open heart – will always know how to behave fairly, for their own families and the people around them. “Efficient use of energy at home and school” was the first thing we want them to understanding, before learning about the solutions. It is impressive to see them start raising the air-conditioner temperature to 26 degrees or finishing their cups of water, GreenID believes that: through the most natural way, the children are growing in a green way, learning how to appreciate and protecting the environment around them.
Day 4: Let’s build a Green Future together
Is “Sustainable Energy” something so abstract and difficult to get the children excited about? We believe that the answer is no. We always remind them that: Energy is simply the electric fans that cool them down, the water they drink every day, or the bulbs that light every night in their houses. So, sustainable energy is as simple as the sun shining above their heads, the breezy winds or the river where they caught fish. Living in harmony with nature and cherishing its inherent values, that is when we are ready to bring renewable energy to our home or schools.
Experiencing with wind energy kit
Making a hand-made solar rooftop house model
Positive Teamwork Spirit
Experiment with scientific kits was a method we chose to bring out the curiosity and creativity in them: making a simple wind turbine to generate electricity, building houses from recyclable materials with solar panels, playing with water turbines, and finally designing and creating a solar-powered car. The morning activities of Day 4 was developed based on the World Café model, where the students could take turns to participate in different experiments. As we heard them burst out laughing, clapping when the LED bulbs finally light up, or proudly shared with us the house models they built, we understood that sustainable energy was no longer something so strange to them. Inspiring them to be creative through the visual model is the first step to promote the idea of bringing green energy to every Vietnamese house in the future.
Experiencing with Solar Kit
Day 5: Farewell
So the 05 days of the Camp ended just like that. During this journey of becoming a Global Citizen, GreenID is grateful that we are a part of it, as a guild and a companion. We would want to say the biggest thank you to all of the campers, teachers, and families that have trusted us. We believe that the lessons they have learned during this journey will prepare them for what is ahead of them, mainly living a greener life. We do not ask for anything more, but we hope that thoughts and behaviour the children have nurtured during the 05 days will come home with them, and they will share with their families, teachers and friends.
Smiles and Tears
Green Citizen Camp 2019 - Goodbye and See you again!
The Green Citizen Camp is part of the E-Enhance project, funded by the European Union. Find more information about the E-Enhance project at http://en.greenidvietnam.org.vn/viewTimeLine/e-enhance.html