The commitment of Eurasia in Vietnam has a long story.
Tho Ha Vinh, the founder of Eurasia, is of Vietnamese origin on his father’s side. He and his wife Lisi lived for twelve years with seven youngsters living with various mental disabilities in a Camphill community, named “Fondation Perceval” in St Prex, Switzerland. For many years, Tho was the director of a Special Education Training in this Camphill. When Vietnam reopened its borders after the war in 1982, Tho took the opportunity to return to the homeland of his father. He was deeply touched by the suffering of the people, and the wounds of war which were still visible everywhere. The life of people living with mental disabilities and their families was very difficult. Many other groups at the margins of society were suffering and it was evident that there was an immense need in the country.
Eurasia started its engagement by helping those who took care of people living with disabilities. Initially, Eurasia offered support by providing for the most basic needs: building a kitchen, buying beds, a washing machine, finding sponsors for food, in order that these people on the margins of society could live their lives in dignity. Very soon it became clear that there was also a need to create adequate education and work opportunities for people living with disabilities and also to train those people supporting them. This became the central work of Eurasia in the following years.
The first Eurasia training courses were given in 1998, in Phu My, a big orphanage in Saigon. Seven vietnamese students were sponsored to complete a full four year Special Education Training in Switzerland. They all returned to Vietnam and four of them have been working for Eurasia since. Eurasia has organized many training courses in Vietnam and a one year course in Special Education at Hue University.
Since 1999, Eurasia built seven schools and created special classes in Hue. With our various partners we have also built and sponsored vocational training centers and a home for elderly ladies, widowed during the war.
In 2018 Eurasia celebrated 20 years of work in Vietnam. We can say that Eurasia works along three axes: Care for self, care for the other and care for nature. We now have three entities working closely together. Eurasia is the name of the Association and Foundation. It is a network of people with the same values who work together to develop ideas and find funds for the different projects. Tinh Truc Gia, or The Peaceful Bamboo Family, often referred to as “TTG” is a vibrant living and working community for people living with special needs in Vietnam. It is also the embodiment of our values. Eurasia Learning Institute (ELI) is the part of Eurasia which organises training courses. Our tasks have evolved over the years towards a wider ecological awareness and developing social entrepreneurship in order to make the life and work with/for people living with disabilities sustainable.
Also in 2018, the ELI team launched a project to bring Social and Emotional Learning to public school children in Hue with a first training session for « Happy Schools teachers » in April. The ELI team is also working with businesses in Asia, to bring the above mentioned values into their daily work through the introduction of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in business. GNH aims to shift the focus of business or society from the drive for economic growth, to increasing the happiness and wellbeing of people and all species.
It is thanks to our very dynamic vietnamese and european team, our many partners, in Vietnam and abroad, the longtime friends and members of Eurasia Association and Foundation that the work of Eurasia flourishes and grows joyfully.