Monday, 26 July 2010

Report from Vietnam

Latest stage in Stephanie Driver's work

Stephanie Driver fell in love with Vietnam on a spur-of-the moment visit in 1999. She was back in 2000, teaching English, and visited an orphanage for children with physical disabilities.. She volunteered to help out, started leaning the language and realised that what she wanted to do. Two years later she came home to England, to become a conductor.

During her training at the National Institute she returned to Vietnam whenever she could, to broaden her experience and advance her language. Her dissertation was a feasibility study for CE in Vietnam (a very nice one, I know because I had the pleasure of tutoring it). She graduated in 2005 and was off back to Vietnam, an English-speaking British conductor in a country that was already changing fast but where services for disabled and other needy children have such a long road ahead of them...

How long a road? Glimpse this from the latest issue of CHIA News from the charity Children's Hope in Action, which includes a brief report on her work.

As in many countries (not just developing ones), every principle, everything that conductors do is about as opposite as can be to the local culture for understanding and dealing with disabled children. Stephanie's task includes this, the problem of finding an employment/institutional niche to support development of what she wants to do, and material and other conditions some of which may be gauged from the rest of CHIA's newsletter

Conductive Education may think that it has a hard time of it, and wonder how it is is going to manage during the age of austerity. Stephanie and these others who extend CE far beyond its usual bounds around the world offer a salutary message.

References

Driver, S. (2009) Vietnam: a chronicle, in G. Maguire and A. Sutton (eds) Just do it! Young conductors make their way in their new world, Birmingham, Conductive Education Press, pp. 51-60

Nhu Thuy (2010) Practical and life skills, CHIA News, June
http://www.childrenshopeinaction.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/CHIA-June-2010-Newsletter1.pdf

Stephanie is on Facebook –

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1540593482#!/profile.php?id=544341226&ref=ts
Scroll down – and down – and down – for a fine-grained account of her life and work in Vietnam, and lots and lots of photos.

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