Xuyen going to the NUOL

Another Day to remember in Social Development program: Xuyen is going to the National University of Laos!  NUOL

Another Day to remember in Social Development program: Xuyen is going to the National University of Laos!  NUOL

New chapter for Xuyen¹s work  after 10 years doing groundwork: She has introduced Social work/ Social development course at  The National University of Laos this month. It is perfect timing! The Faculty of Social Science and Humanity has begun to develop a new curriculum that will be called Sociology and Social Development, which has a draft and one course “social problem” already started. Thanks to the Head of the Faculty Ajarn Phouth and  Ajarn Saychai who has many years of experiences in the field in Development  Work with 22 students in his class. However, Saychai said: “I have began to teach the theories , but the students are not doing practicum.” So Xuyen went to the University at the right time!
 
Here is the development of one month of the early relationship between Xuyen and the University , from 1st April until  May 5, 2005 of her contact with the NUOL.  
 
This is not The April Fool !
 
1 April: Meet with Mr. Saygnamang Vongsak, Vice President for Academic, Research & Postgraduate Affairs at National University of Laos  NUOL. 30 March, Xuyen called Dr. Khamphay Rasamy, A long time supporter of CWS work. Dr. Khampahy is now a Member of The Lao National Assembly  to ask if he can help her by introducing her with some professors in The NUOL. Dr Khamphay said: You can see Mr. Saygnamang, the Vice president. The next day Xuyen went to see Mr. Sayngamang  who after 15 minutes kindly telephoned Mr. Phout Sinmmalavong , the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences to arrange for Xuyen to meet with Mr. Phout at his Faculty.   Xuyen was with Ann her program translator interpreter. They met also, Mme Phiengsy Senesathit  and later met with Mr. Athitthouthay Chatouphonexay, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Faculty of Education and  Mme Keomanivong Phimmasene, English teachers at the English Department.
 
Mr. Phouth said they have been working in a  new  curriculum of Sociology and  Social Development as the Faculty has three sociologists who studied in China, and Chiang Mai University in Thailand.
 
Mr. Phouth studies in Japan on Human Studies.   They also would like to introduce a curriculum on Tourism.
 
Xuyen showed the Donkoi Children Development Center’s brochure (CWS’ first Children Development Centers)  and talked briefly about her work of 10 years in Laos with Donkoi, other centers and recently with Somsanga The Drug Rehabilitation Center and wish to invite the Dean and the Faculty members to visit these centers  and maybe Xuyen can talk about  Social work with them some time  so they can have an idea of social work and then they can talk more about the curriculum development later if they are interested.
 
Mr. Phout said he thinks he understands Social work as Applied Sociology. I said just like Medical doctors who take care of Physical Health, Social workers “take care” of Social problems.
 
Xuyen showed him the last part of Donkoi’s brochure where Xuyen said “my big dream is to do the ground work, to make an impact so that one day there will be  a course offered at the University level.”
 
Mr. Phouth said he could help to make the dream come true!  Is it true?
Xuyen was so excited!
 
Xuyen gave him the dates of a Social work workshop, 2nd module  she has planned to organize for doctors, nurses and police scheduled for next week on 5,6,7 April at Somsanga Drug Rehabilitation Center and invite him to come any day of those workshop days or he is welcomed to Donkoi any time. He can just let Xuyen know and she can arrange the visit.
 
Xuyen  asked Mr. Phout for  a brochure in Lao language and offered to have it translated in to English for the Faculty, which will be my first contribution to the Faculty.
 
A day after Lao New year, on Monday 18 April Xuyen called Ajarn Phout to say that I finished the first draft of the translation of the brochure and I need him to check before it is finalized.
 
Tuesday, 19 April Xuyen  came back to give him the translation and brought with her many copies of brochures and curriculum course outlines of 8 universities the region that have Social work, and Humanity and Social Science. Also a summary paper Xuyen wrote about “What is social work, what is a social worker, and where do social workers work?”
 
This times Xuyen  asked to see other sociologists and so Xuyen  was introduced to Ajarn  Sanya and he wrote down five other names. Then Xuyen asked if she could see others. Xuyen was then introduced to Mme Viengmala who studied in VN and now teaches Anthropology. We spoke Vietnamese with one another  and Xuyen  feels like they are sisters.
 
Then Xuyen asked: “what is NEXT?” They  made an  appointment for five teachers to visit Donkoi on 29 April 10 AM.
 
Xuyen  left the faculty feeling more excited!
 
29 April 29, 2005:
Five teachers went to Donkoi Children Development Center ¬DCDC- They spent two hours  in Donkoi seeing all activities from textile weaving, mat making, door mat making, costume of Ramayana, puppet theater looking at an overwhelming space multi purpose hall with a friend stage for theatre work asking many questions. The children Donkoi children can interview guests to write news  so they interviewed  university teacher guests  after they performed for them: the elephant and  hula-hoop, the monkey plays . Then they visited the dream library and the dream toilet and dream garden where they saw mushroom house and a carpenter house .They then planted a tree for souvenir as a “practice” of environmental protection at Donkoi.
They also visited The Donkoi Social Service Center ¬DSSC- nearby to see how Xuyen and Donkoi Team do social work forms, how to do case management: home visit, recording, filing  and counseling. Here they also met Phankone the artist who was the victim of Trafficking problem and Khut  an ex-drug user doing batik.
 
The visitors bought some souvenirs from children and youth’s products and went to lunch.
 
At Pakeo restaurant in Donkoi where Xuyen  showed and told stories of some big pictures of the latest activities in Somsanga. She also brought the new curriculum prepared by The Faculty on Sociology and Social Development and they discussed a lot more during lunch.
 
At the end, the teachers requested Xuyen to give a talk  “an Over View of Social work as A Profession and Social Work Education” set for 4 May 2005 at NUOL  for 20 students in “Social Problem” class of Ajarn Saychai and other Faculty members also plan to attend this talk.
 
The next job for Xuyen was after the new curriculum translated, Xuyen will  look at it to see which courses she  can help to write the course outline and which courses Xuyen can provide books or information on each subject.
 
Today Xuyen also brought copies of the 8 University brochures she showed them last week as her 2nd  first gift for them. ( From Open University, HCM city, Vietnam, La Trobe University, Australia Thammasat University, and Chiang Mai university of Thailand,  Sydney University, University of Queensland , Singapore National University and Honking University.)
 
I also gave them the invitation for The 5th Open House of Somsanga Drug Rehabilitation Center for 5 May 2005. Mr. Saychai is very interested, ask if Xuyen  can arrange for his students to visit Somsanga Center.  For sure later Xuyen  can arrange  of such study tour.
 
Mr. Phout also said during the  visit to Donkoi that  he would like  Xuyen to help his Faculty with Students’ field work at Donkoi or other centers under Xuyen’s  supervision.
 
We will plan more after this  First talk about Social work at NUOL on Wednesday 4th May, 2005.
 
May 4 at NUOL:
 
102 Students and 11 Faculty members attended the presentation on “An Over View of Social Work as profession and Social Work Education”

Xuyen brought with her two staff Sili, 19 year-old dancer/ children facilitator who has never been to the university and Ann her office Translator / Interpreter . Xuyen started with Mediation and a Game “salapao, pipo” facilitated by Sili. That broke up the stiff atmosphere of a lecture
room full of people.
 
After Mr. Saychai introduced Xuyen,   Xuyen distributed the written Introduction about her background and her work in Laos.  But, since most of the participants do not read Lao, she briefly introduced herself: Xuyen studied Social work at Caritas school of Social work in Saigon under St. Vincent de Paul Catholic sisters, Vietnam in 63-67 received a Diploma in Medical Social Work . Then she continued her studies at the University of The Philippines ¬UP-where she earned BBSW and MSW.
Then  followed an outline with 15 topics from what is social work, who is the social worker, and where does she work to when was the first school of social work begun, why we need social work, where are the schools of social work in the nearby countries like Thailand and Vietnam. How many Universities offered social work in 1975 in the Philippines and how many more now. A bit of the Social work  history in Vietnam. Even though VN has a long history of social work (It began in 1947 by the St Vincent De Paul sisters) but it stopped in 1975 and not until 1994,   the Open University in HCMC. Vietnam was the first to offer social work courses under the Women Studies Department for a few years . Then it changed to Sociology for a few years and just last October The Ministry of Education issued a new Decree, which has officially recognized Social work as a scientific field like other academic fields and allows universities to open social work as an independent field. In the meantime, many universities in VN already began social work courses. Xuyen also mentioned the Role Association of Social Workers in each country and social workers has a strong Code of Ethics as well as the International Federation of Social workers and other International Social Welfare Association and the International Association of  Schools of Social Work.
 
At  the end the teacher represent the Faculty and the students who were in the audience said to Xuyen “Thank you, not only you gave us an idea of what  SW is all about but we also  like your methods of presentation.” By the end of the talk a huge white board was full of papers, Xuyen and the her assistants wrote all the main points in English and in Lao language and stick them on the board. Mr. Saychai requested we leave the papers there so students can come and copy if they wish afterward.
 
There were only two questions at the end. That is not unusual and Xuyen has been in Laos long enough not to feel bad and be patient as due to this she wishes to introduce participatory education when she has a chance to work with teachers and students later.
 
The presentation lasted about one hour and a half including meditation, games and role plays . Xuyen ended her talk with a poem chant about Social work by the whole audience led by Sili, her assistant. As it is a Lao culture so the participants seemed to really enjoy it and Xuyen took advantage of the permitted atmosphere, she found some potential poem chanting student whom
she pulled to the front and became the leader to suong (chanting ) who was sure had a natural  talent on this subject! Our spontaneous extra activities added presentation to probably make it unique,  fun, and hard to forget!

The poem is summarized as follow :
 
Come we come
we learn social work
Charity is not enough ¬
We need to learn more methods and techniques
Codes of Ethics in helping people who need help  to make him/ her stronger
to help himself
We should go to The National University of Laos NUOL
To learn social work
 
One day we will have many social workers to serve the society in addressing social problems .
 
Xuyen again did not forget to bring something for the Faculty. This time she brought a map of Lao Vietnam and Cambodia and also planted a tree in front of the staff’s building .
 
Our team was invited to lunch with the Dean  Mr. Phouth and to Faculty members Mr. Saychai and Mme Viengmala.

The next day 5 May 2005: 22 Students led by Mr. Saychai from Faculty of Humanity and Social Science went to the 5th Open House at Somsanga Drug Rehabilitation Center.

Xuyen Dangers
Social work supervisor
Donkoi Children Development Center
CWS Laos

Xuyen Dangers is a social worker serving in Laos/Vietnam.  She serves as a Social work supervisor of Donkoi child center and 5 other centers, Social work advisor, Faculty of Social Sciences, and the National University of Laos.