Warm flames from activities of overseas Vietnamese women’s movement abroad

Coming from the need for interaction, mutual support, integration, and the preservation of the nation’s good traditions, activities of overseas Vietnamese women are like warm flames spreading the love for their homeland within the Vietnamese community abroad.
Ban chấp hành Liên hiệp hội phụ nữ Việt Nam tại châu Âu nhiệm kỳ 2023-2028 ra mắt. (Nguồn: TTXVN)
Ban chấp hành Liên hiệp hội phụ nữ Việt Nam tại châu Âu nhiệm kỳ 2023-2028 ra mắt. (Nguồn: TTXVN)

As an important part of the Vietnamese community living in more than 130 countries and territories around the world, women increasingly play a positive role, influencing the community as well as Viet Nam’s friendly relations with other countries and partners.

Nurturing the soul of Vietnamese people

Living in foreign lands, overseas Vietnamese women carry within them the consciousness and responsibility to preserve and promote the traditional culture of Viet Nam.

Not only focusing on educating their children about their roots, these women themselves teach Vietnamese language, cook traditional dishes, organize trips to the homeland for the younger generation during traditional holidays, Lunar New Year Tet, etc.

In Germany, Dr. Dao Thi Chau Ha has built the YouTube channel Ms. Chery Bear to share Vietnamese culture and Vietnamese language lessons, or established Vietnamese-speaking youth clubs abroad, organizing online Vietnamese language classes for overseas Vietnamese children living far from their homeland.

Moreover, she also reads books and chats weekly with children in Vietnamese-speaking youth clubs abroad via Zoom, reads books to children through activities of the “Nhung vi sao (The Stars)” book club, writes poems praising the beauty of the Vietnamese language as well as short, easy-to-learn poems to make learning Vietnamese enjoyable for children and develops Vietnamese learning materials with a set of multiple-choice questions about Vietnamese on the Quizizz interface.

TS. Đào Thị Châu Hà dẫn chương trình cho hoạt động cộng đồng tại Đức. (Ảnh: NVCC)
TS. Đào Thị Châu Hà dẫn chương trình cho hoạt động cộng đồng tại Đức. (Ảnh: NVCC)

Speaking about this meaningful work, Ms. Ha shares: “I do this primarily for my own child and for Vietnamese children around me who are living far from their homeland, and also for those children who have a part of Vietnamese blood. I hope they become more attached to their homeland of Viet Nam and possess the qualities of a smarter ‘bilingual individual’, being more responsive and more creative.”

As she couldn’t bear to see Vietnamese people born and raised in the United States gradually neglecting the Vietnamese language due to the lack of Vietnamese language schools and environments to speak Vietnamese, Mrs. Ngo Kim Viet became an “reluctant teacher,” volunteering to teach young children in Vietnamese families, teaching in churches following to the scout movement, in the United States.

Ms. Viet’s teaching method is also special through lessons about history, traditional culture, festival images, and unique culture of Viet Nam, to educate about national traditions, thereby promote the image of the country and people of Viet Nam to international friends...

In addition to activities to enhance spiritual life, these women also volunteer to participate in humanitarian activities, charity work, and contribute to support victims of natural disasters, helping those in need in communities and many places around the world. During times of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, earthquakes, conflicts, these women are always companions in community assistance activities and support for local residents.

For example, during the most tensive period of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers from the Vietnamese Women’s Club in Malaysia worked together to carry out meaningful journeys to spread love to poor laborers across Malaysia, including many large states.

There were some quite stormy journeys with winding routes in many states, but in the hearts of these women, they were very happy to bring gifts to hand over to workers on remote construction sites, in remote and sparsely populated areas. Some days, they even traveled more than 1,500 kilometers to deliver gifts to the most difficult families in Bukit Jalil, SuBang, Klang...

Tổ phụ nữ trang trí đón Tết cổ truyền tại Bệnh viện dã chiến Việt Nam tại Nam Sudan. (Nguồn: Bệnh viện dã chiến cấp 2 số 5)
Tổ phụ nữ trang trí đón Tết cổ truyền tại Bệnh viện dã chiến Việt Nam tại Nam Sudan. (Nguồn: Bệnh viện dã chiến cấp 2 số 5)

In Viet Nam, programs of compassion and kindness such as “Heart for You”, “Warmth of Love Home”, compaign to assist victims of Agent Orange, scholarship funds, etc, also regularly receive support from overseas Vietnamese women in many countries such as France, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Czech Republic, Australia, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Laos...

Regarding highly specialized expertise such as doctors, professors, experts, scientists in various fields, they have brought knowledge, experience, and skills to disseminate in Viet Nam. For example, Dr. Le Thuy Oanh, a Vietnamese living in Hungary, has been very successful with the acupuncture method using needles, effectively treating many difficult diseases.

Some women have also been recognized by the local authorities for their significant contributions to the community, such as Ms. Hoai Thu in Germany who was awarded the “Berlin Woman” prize in 1999, or Ms. Le Nguyen Minh Phuong who became the first Vietnamese person in Republic of Korea to be honored with the “Seoul Honorary Citizen” award in 2019...

With these token appreciations, these women are the bridge helping the local people better understand and love their country, understand more about the Vietnamese people, as well as nurturing friendship between Viet Nam and other countries.

Unity and harnessing soft power

Vietnamese women abroad are particularly aware of the power of unity in the activities of various organizations such as women’s unions, women’s clubs, women’s groups...

In Europe, a common home named the Union of Vietnamese Women in Europe was officially established in 2023. This is where they meet, support each other in preserving and promoting Vietnamese values, better integrating into the host countries, and looking towards their homeland roots.

According to Ms. Nguyen Viet Trieu - President of the Union of Vietnamese Women in Europe, the Union has received the sympathy and support of women in various countries. Despite geographical differences, member associations have overcome difficulties, unanimously agreeing on action plans.

During the term 2023-2028, several key tasks have been unanimously agreed upon by the women, such as collectively assisting women in countries without established women’s unions to set up their own organizations; supporting member associations in developing independent activity programs aimed at enhancing the image of Vietnamese women. They also joined forces to call for donations to establish the “For Poor Women and Orphaned Children Fund”.

The Vietnamese Women’s Union in Austria organized a Chung cake making event on the first Full Moon of the Lunar New Year.  (Photo: Ngo Thuy)
The Vietnamese Women’s Union in Austria organized a Chung cake making event on the first Full Moon of the Lunar New Year. (Photo: Ngo Thuy)

It can be seen that the Vietnamese women’s movement abroad is making significant contributions through the efforts of women’s organizations that are increasingly expanding their activities in various forms worldwide.

In South Sudan, Dr. Huynh Thi Thanh Giang, an obstetrics specialist at Field Hospital No. 2 Level 5, is regarded as a leader in the Women’s Union in preserving Vietnamese traditional culture activities. Alongside Dr. Giang’s enthusiasm, the Women’s Union of the Hospital is leading a volunteer mission plan for children in Bentiu, contributing to humanitarian work, community building, and protection of the local population.

In Austria, the women in the women’s union are particularly concerned about educating traditional culture and organizing Vietnamese language classes for children in the community. Recently, on the first Full Moon of the Lunar New Year, they organized an event to make traditional Chung cakes for children in the community and are eagerly preparing for the opening of Vietnamese language classes in Austria scheduled for International Women’s Day on March 8 this year.

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