THEME/TYPE OF PROJECT: Organic Farming
AIMS OF THE PROJECT:
Farming is a new yet full of potential project at Leaf pagoda besides taking care of children and renovation works. There are two kinds of farming that can be carried out here: organic vegetable farming & herbal farming.
The project aims at making use of uncultivated land in the pagoda to grow vegetables which are important sources of food for all the monks, children, and people living here. Usually, almost all of their food is donated, and they only buy tofu for the meals. Having an organic vegetable garden, they can provide themselves with healthier and more diverse foods; more importantly, this garden lessens their food expense.
In addition to a stable, cheap, and healthy food supply, the project attempts to accommodate people here with herbals or traditional medicine. Currently, there is a clinic providing free traditional treatment and medication for people in the pagoda and in the neighboring areas who cannot afford health care fee at hospitals. Moreover, in cooperation with Red Cross Organization, the pagoda usually organizes trips to rural provinces to cure diseases for local people. Herbal farming, therefore, is not only helpful for people inside the pagoda but also for the community.
Shortly put, this project is implemented to beautify the pagoda landscape, make good use of land, and supply food and medicine for about 80 people inside the pagoda as well as the local community.
Leaf Pagoda (originally known as Huyen Trang Pagoda) was built in 1996 in Nha Be district, HCMC. Some of the children here come from poor families who cannot afford to bring them up, the others have lost their parents. There are only a few monks living here and some local volunteers to help every day, so the volunteers can come during the daytime to take care of the children. The volunteers can play games, help them colour the pictures, or take them out for a walk. The volunteers can also help do the farming, the gardening, construction work or the cleaning.
- Number of small children: 10 – 20
- Age: 20 months to 8 years old
The main source of funding comes from followers of Buddhism and local sponsors, which is mostly spent on charity. Thus, the pagoda is poorly constructed and equipped; and the budget for food and other implements is very limited.
Leaf pagoda was built in 1996 in Nha Be, Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda was originally named Huyen Trang yet the fact that its roofs linked together with coconut leaves gave it a more informal name - Chua La or Leaf Pagoda.
Today, in this peaceful and quiet space in the outskirts of HCM city, the pagoda brings up orphan children, take care of old people, and organizes charity trips across the country.
This project requires a lot of time and continuous effort, thus, it cannot be fully accomplished at once. In fact, one group will be in charge of one step of the process only and the next groups to come will continue the work. Gradually, with the contribution of different groups around the world, farming project can be successfully implemented.
This project includes 3 phases with following activities:
a) Cleaning and evening out the ground,
c) Making beds,
d) Building water purification system
f) Watering and weeding regularly,
h) Developing draining and irrigation system,
i) Expanding the area under crop
j) Building a tool-shed
Accomodation and food
Volunteers will stay in a dormitory, sharing rooms with volunteers of other nationalities joining the same program. Normally, rooms are arranged with about 2-6 volunteers per room. During peak season, the maximum can go up to 7 or 9 volunteers per room, in 5 bunk beds (9 beds in total). Western toilets, showers and ceiling fans are available. hot water is also available. The house has TV, free WIFI, fridges, cooking facilities, and a common room & terrace.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided at the dorm. Food is typical Vietnamese meal, prepared by a local cook. The main types of food will be rice, meat, fish, and vegetables. For vegetarians, the choice is usually limited to rice, bread, vegetables, egg, and tofu.
During the working day, volunteers will stay at the project site for lunch and for taking a lunch-break.
Location and leisure
The dormitory is located in an urban area of Ho Chi Minh City. It is 5 minutes away from ATMs, two local markets, multiple convenient stores, 20-30 minutes from the nearest supermarket and Banks. Laundry services are 3 minutes away, and cost $0.50 to $1.00 per kilogram. Various choices of restaurants ranging from BBQs, Vietnamese local foods, to other foreign foods such as Korean foods, or Thailand foods. Bowling alleys and Karaoke stores available within 2 kilometers radius.
Project hosted by
Volunteer for Peace Vietnam - The South Program
At the Airport's Arrival Gate, Station 10
Maximum 8 volunteers can work at this project. Volunteers need to check with the hosting organization in advance to see if the project is still available.
Volunteers must be 18 years old minimum. Volunteers must show eagerness, the ability to maintain motivation and reliability.
For this project, experience is not necessary, but enthusiasm for hard work and to ‘get involved’ in our cause is. Volunteers also need to be fit and healthy and able to rapidly adapt to the local situations. Minimum of staying is 2 weeks and the extra fee is 270 EUR for first 2 weeks, 360 EUR for first month then 290 EUR per extra month. An airport pick-up can be arranged by staff with a cost of 30 EUR.