We wrapped up our summer training program with a goodbye ceremony for our Level 2 teacher training participants. Imagine a room of about 50 people doing the chicken dance with music at full tilt and then joining into a circle to hold hands, dance, and sing together – Vietnamese and Americans alike. I wish I could have bottled the genuine good will and positive energy that radiated amongst us all. 

After the last photo was taken. our team headed to the US Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City where Lillian, Maura and I gave a presentation about pediatric hearing loss and our work. There were about 80 people in attendance including friends and colleagues of the Global Foundation from the universities, local nongovernment agencies, and the hospital.  It felt really good to look out on the audience and see familiar faces and feel their support.

Members of the US Consulate then issued the Global Foundation its second grant in support of our program. The Consulate has been a wonderful resource for us, not only providing financial assistance but also helping us build our network. I look forward to continuing our relationship with the good people there. 

The day wrapped up with a celebratory dinner and then catching Talk Vietnam on national television. Talk Vietnam, a Vietnamese talk show, aired a segment about the Global Foundation and the efforts of our team and the Vietnamese deaf education and medical communities to support children with hearing loss. I was impressed with production and am grateful to the Talk Vietnam team for shedding light on our cause.  The highlight of the 42 minute piece for me was our story of Tam, a little girl with hearing loss andevoted father who benefited from our Deaf Education  Program. I blogged about this family in “A Hollywood Kind of Day” last month. With all the day’s events, it was not a bad way to end a super summer.

The third edition of our Vietnam summer program may be complete, but we are already looking ahead. A few weeks ago, I blogged about the action plan that the Level 3 audiology participants developed with our support to set a process for better collaboration across clinics, schools, hospitals, and families of children with hearing loss. They asked me to chair the kickoff meeting of a newly formed coalition they have established for this purpose that also includes school administrators, 2 parents, and doctors.

Yesterday, we had the first meeting and made good progress in establishing some structure to what this collaboration might look like. I look forward to watching how it unfolds and supporting their efforts. It was inspiring to see how motivated this new group is to improve the system for children with hearing loss in Vietnam. 

The next Mobile Mission is scheduled for January 2013 and there will be much planning in the months to come to prepare for that. In the near term, we will launch a video analysis program to provide select Vietnamese teachers and therapists in our program with professional development support during the year.  We also continue to have discussions with partners in Vietnam on various projects to help address the gaps in support for children with hearing loss across both education and health care.

The list is long and there is much to do. But for now, everyone on our team should feel very good about this summer’s training program. I am very grateful to all of our talented professionals who showed great heart, compassion, creativity, and talent over the course of the year and during this summer’s program.  And our Vietnamese partners did their usual wonderful job in coordinating the program elements in Vietnam.  Overall, over 95% of the Vietnamese participants passed the final tests of their respective programs and the pre/post test comparisons reflect a progression in knowledge and skill. The feedback the Vietnamese provided in their evaluation forms was all very positive.

I’m looking forward to following the progress of the teachers this school year and how they will apply what they have learned with the children. Meanwhile, the number of participants in our audiology program more than doubled this year versus last summer. The content was well received and we will continue to build on our audiology training effort and support the Vietnamese efforts to train each other.

And so we end another successful summer. Much more to come.  Cam On and Tam Biet!