IESC Vietnam: Creating Connections, Building Hope

The Intel Education Service Corps (IESC) is a short-term service and career development opportunity for a selected group of Intel employees to support the deployment of Intel-powered classmate PCs in developing countries. In this blog, Renee Defeo, a Commodity Manager from TME Material, recaps her team’s first week of experiences in Vietnam.

Imagine growing up in an orphanage in Vietnam and getting to take a field trip to the Intel factory. While touring the office, you recognize one of the employees as one of the older children from the orphanage. Our IESC team was able to organize just such a field trip and see the excitement on the faces of the children when they recognized their friend.

Orphan Impactis an organization that provides skills training to orphans in Vietnam, skills that they hope can allow children to grow up and find good jobs like the one mentioned above. Our team – consisting of five US-based employees and four Intel Vietnam employees – is working directly with three orphanages supported by Orphan Impact, two in Ho Chi Minh City (Linh Xuan & Tam Binh, the latter incidentally being the same orphanage where Angelina Jolie adopted her son Pax) and one in a town called Vung Tau. One of our goals is to design and test a distance learning system to help provide high-quality lessons to five other remote orphanages in Lai Chau, Ha Giang, Quang Tri, Tuyen Quang & Cao Bang.

The field trip, where we took ten students from Tam Binh to visit the Intel factory in Ho Chi Minh City, was an amazing experience for us and for the children. We took them to the Intel cafeteria for lunch and allowed them to choose whatever they wanted. They took one of everything, and they ate it ALL! After lunch, we led the students on a “window tour” of the factory and visited the exercise room, play room, and some fancy conference rooms. It was inspiring for the students to recognize their friend, who had just started as a manufacturing technician, as it helped them see that they can get a good job if they study hard and pursue their dreams.

We will also never forget our visit to the Linh Xuan orphanage, where all of the children are HIV positive. Visiting this orphanage was very powerful experience for our team. “Visiting Linh Xuan has made me feel heavy hearted,” said volunteer Huong Huynh. But as volunteer Hung Pham noted in a sentiment shared by everyone on our team, “Helping and learning with the kids makes me realize and appreciate what we have in our life.”

The students we meet in all of the orphanages we visit show incredible strength and happiness despite their situation. We also have great admiration for the teachers of Orphan Impact, who are full of energy, love, care, dedication and time.

It is exciting to see the teachers and students using the Intel-powered classmate PCs, clearly benefiting from the training that the previous IESC teams delivered. We all feel the technology is a great tool to help improve the students’ education, and we hope that the time we spend with the teachers and students will help them create even more success stories like the one mentioned above.


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