Heartbeat Vietnam is a High School Service Learning programme at UNIS Hanoi. Our group’s mission is to raise money for Vietnamese children with congenital heart defects. Most of these children come from rural areas and are unable to pay for their critical, life-changing surgeries.
On 21 April, 8 members of our service group along with 2 teachers visited the E Hospital to meet Ánh Diệp, a 31 month infant who was suffering from Mitral stenosis (Mitral regurgitation), a complex heart disease that requires multiple steps for treatment. Being diagnosed from birth, this has caused her many difficulties in her daily life, and she required immediate attention.
As young as 4 months, Ánh Diệp had gone through the first stage of her treatment with a small sponsor, though was soon advised that her condition required a second surgery to fully cure. Her family approached Heartbeat Vietnam for assistance, and traveled down to Hanoi. She is now back in Cao Bằng, her hometown after her successful surgery on Friday 14th, and right before traveling back, our service group was able to pay her a visit before leaving the hospital; a memorable experience for both her family and us.
Ga In Yoo, one of the leaders in the group shared: “Visiting the children our service group provides small help with every academic year is always a meaningful and significant part of what makes our group, HeartBeat Vietnam, unique and important. From my last hospital visit in the academic year 2022, I learned the positive impact such a small group of high school students can make on the lives of suffering children with congenital heart defects. From then, I became more inspired to bring meaningful work and value to our service group and engage in various fundraising events. Now, as one of the leaders of Heart Beat Vietnam, the recent hospital visit for the year 2023 and seeing little Ánh Diệp was a deeply meaningful experience. I am very honored to be a part of this service group and Heart Beat Vietnam will continue to promote fundraising and raise awareness in the hope of supporting life-saving heart operations for financially disadvantaged children.”
Donghan Kim, a fellow leader, agrees: “Having the incredible privilege of visiting little Ánh Diệp born with a heart defect whom our service group was able to help by raising money and funding the surgery was truly remarkable. Seeing the child’s bright smile and hearing their laughter was a truly heartwarming experience that I will never forget. It was amazing to witness firsthand the impact that our efforts had on this child’s life and their family’s life. Knowing that we were able to make a positive difference in their world was an incredibly rewarding feeling. It reinforced the importance of working together as a community and a service group to help those in need and inspired me to continue to work for our service group: HeartBeat Vietnam.”
“I had found a lot of joy in seeing Ánh Diệp’s smiling face only a week after her surgery, and to know that we were a part of the people that helped make this happen, it brings me joy to know that our service group’s work is reaching someone in the local community. I aspire to work as hard and to go even further to be able to experience this again, as this was a heartwarming opportunity to witness firsthand. Seeing Ánh Diệp happy and healthy again after a long journey gave me motivation to work even harder the following year,” Châu Nguyễn, another leader, had shared.
Each year our service group aims to pay for 2-3 heart surgeries. With a series of fundraising events this year such as Spring fair in collaboration with Ragacy cafe, the Winterfest, and our annual Art Auction, and thanks to the help of the UNIS community, we were able to raise 47,360,000.00 VND to support Ánh Diệp’s surgery. The team will potentially return soon, in mid- May when Ánh Diệp is ready for her monthly checkup in Hanoi.
“This is a very meaningful experience. I am telling you that having the right to help young patients was a very happy and relatively interesting experience. The feeling when I meet a patient with the person is very happy. The most favorite part is meeting the child that we visited,” shared Minh, a member of the group.
We look forward to doing similar visits in the future, and a big thank you to the community for helping us make this a reality!