The #WUSCSomeGoodNews initiative features stories of positivity and hope of people who are making a difference in Canada and around the world, particularly during this pandemic.
Meet Quyen Dam, a long-time WUSC volunteer and e-volunteer from Saugeen Shores in Ontario. Since 2018, he has been taking on different volunteer opportunities with WUSC through WUSC’s Volunteer Cooperation Program (VCP). The VCP program is a government-funded program that offers skilled Canadians the opportunity to participate in Canada’s international development assistance efforts while working alongside local partners and communities.
In his current role as e-Volunteer Support Advisor for WUSC in Vietnam, some of his duties include undertaking public engagement activities, and providing support in the revision of key volunteer orientation documents, in promoting WUSC’s volunteer opportunities and partners on different channels, and in training and managing volunteers.
Quyen thinks his most important impact is the support he has provided to all the volunteers he has met during his past and present assignments. He was part of the cohort of international volunteers whose return back to Canada had to be rushed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and that experience did not fade his enthusiasm for volunteering: through an e-volunteer assignment, he was able to continue to support other fellow returned volunteers.
He explains how giving back to his country of origin while making the link with his country of adoption fuels his volunteer ambitions and motivations: “Those two years that I volunteered in Vietnam were life changing. […] Canadians opened their arms to thousands of Vietnamese refugees in the late ’70s, including my family. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to return to my roots and give back to my Vietnamese community. […] Volunteering in Vietnam has also allowed me to further embrace my heritage.”
This month, he will be taking a new role as Hospitality Advisor for one of WUSC’s partners in Vietnam – Bac Thang Long (BTL) Technical College. His new challenge will involve contributing to the development of restaurant training programs, making sure programs follow international standards and enable students to acquire practical skills and consolidate their knowledge.
Quyen finds that his volunteer experiences have fostered his personal and professional development and vows to continue volunteering to contribute to improved opportunities for young people and women. “I want to pay forward the opportunities I received upon arriving in Canada as a refugee and continue to help interconnect my two cultures,” he said.
In order to get through difficult times, including the current pandemic, he recommends following his example, and staying engaged, connected and active with our different communities.
Are you also making a difference in your community? Share your story and connect with us on social media using the hashtag #WUSCSomeGoodNews.