This past week was one for the books. As we said earlier, Thien-Nhien Luong (Design Capital Asia) and Cathy Lam (Our1World) are in Hue to find a new property for DCA’s Rong Center. This week we were joined by Ha-Noi business consultant Tuan Nguyen, who facilitated the strategic planning sessions. Members of Design Capital Fund (DCF), Design Capital Asia (DCA), Our1World, VANGO, and HIPE came together under the guidance of Tuan Nguyen to discuss and discover the mission, vision, and next steps for the community center.

Rong Center Vision
Rong Center Vision

We were so excited to hear new voices stepping up and speaking out about the needs in this community, using the leadership, presentation, and critical thinking skills cultivated through the HIPE program. Participating core-team members talked about some realistic ways we can address these issues as well as their concerns about the potential obstacles we will face, but overall were happy to hear that this center is for them too, as they shared their own needs.

HIPE Coreteam members presenting their interpretation of “habitat” using limited LEGO pieces

We know this won’t be easy, but needless to say, we’re so excited, inspired, and motivated to actualize our dreams and goals for this center and for Hue.

We at VANGO are so happy to share some exciting news about member Design Capital Asia’s latest in-the-works project.

As you may already know, DCA has achieved such wide success with their Healthy Initiatives through Peer Education and SEED economic development programs, so much so that they are now in the planning stages of their next step. And trust us, it’s a big one.

With the dedicated and generous efforts and assistance of the DCA team, staff, and volunteers, currently Thiên-Nhiên Lương (DCA) is and soon Cathy Lâm (Our1World) will also be in Hue, looking at properties (that’s right, I said it…properties!) to open up an innovative, one-of-a-kind community center.

This center was always the dream, and we are so excited to see it finally coming to fruition. Careful calculations are going into the choice of this location, with a few choice commodities that will not be compromised (i.e., large conference area, ample space for motorbike parking, usable garden, etc.) so that the center can properly serve the needs of the community in the way that we envision.

Currently, the center is called Rong Center, a nod to the simple yet distinctly vital and indispensable role seaweed plays in the marine ecosystem. They’re the first organism in the food chain, they provide shelter and habitat for countless animals, and they are nurseries for many species. And that’s what we want for the Rong Center–a self-sustaining place that will help support the community, a comfortable haven where people feel free to gather, and lastly, a center where people are encouraged to cultivate their experience and knowledge via capacity-building workshops, and so on.

Needless to say, we can’t believe the dream is finally here. And we will definitely keep everyone updated.

We had a very productive board meeting this year, re-structuring our board roster and reviewing this past year and plans for the upcoming year at each of our organizations, all of which we are so proud to have at VANGO. We’ve got some great things in store, updates to come!

This year’s board meeting was made extra special with the added dinner at the home of our favorite traditional Vietnamese multi-instrumentalist, Vân-Ánh Võ.

We were especially delighted to hear from students from Music Bridge and their plans for this summer’s music and leadership workshops in Hue, Viet-Nam.

We had so much fun preparing for and during the event. Enjoy these photos to get a glimpse of all the fun we had!

Top left: Staff (Kieu Han, Ngoc, Phuong Vinh, Cathy, Anh, Nhat Hang), Top right: Enjoying treats from the baking station, Bottom left: Practicing some children’s yoga, Bottom right: Storytelling with chị Ngoc
Top left: Reading with chị Clarissa (US), Top right: Developing fine motor skills, Bottom left: Practicing gross motor skills with chị Megan (US), Bottom right: Making pancakes with cô Cathy (US)

Just like that, it was over, but it was so worth it. For more information about events like this one, please contact HIPE Team on Facebook.