This fall gave Samsung C&T Engineering & Construction Group employees the chance to do some volunteering in Vietnam. Thirteen staff members traveled to Thai Nguyen province, north of Hanoi, to help out with the development of Samsung Village No. 7.
The Samsung Village project aims to improve domestic and overseas residential environments through the cooperation of Samsung C&T and the international nonprofit Habitat for Humanity Korea. It started in Indonesia in February 2015 and has since expanded to seven villages across three countries.
Having gotten underway last May, tasks for Samsung Village No. 7 range from construction to community outreach. The Samsung C&T volunteers headed out there between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, also joined by 23 employees from a local Samsung Electronics Retrofit site.
Building a new life
Samsung Village No. 7 actually incorporates two villages, Phu Cuong and Na Mao, which are home to around 3,000 people.
The villagers are being supported in various ways, including the construction or repair of 53 houses, 37 toilets and other sanitation facilities, as well as sanitation and disaster response training. They are also being empowered to build their own lives, as Habitat for Humanity connects them with the local government to help them get partial loans for new homes.
On this occasion, volunteers made a daily three-hour round trip to work with a family in need of a new home. Samsung C&T staff took on tasks such as breaking ground for the construction, shaping the house’s foundations and stacking its bricks one by one.
As the Vietnamese economy is growing fast, the country is seeing an increase in construction development, including demand for workers. Samsung Village No. 7 is a relatively large site that has created 200 local jobs in addition to volunteer positions. This growing workforce raises the need for awareness of construction site safety in order to minimize risks.
The volunteers prepared a “safety training through experience” session, explaining why it is so important to wear a safety helmet and proper footwear. Also, they used a hammer and nails to show the difference between regular glasses and those designed for construction site safety.
The workers had opportunities to experience safety issues for themselves too. For instance, a virtual reality station was set up to demonstrate what it feels like to fall off a ledge or be crushed, while workers could also try on special glasses that simulated the sensation of being drunk and clearly warned them against working after drinking alcohol.
Creating a new future
A further feature of the program encouraged children based in the area to dream bigger, as the team conducted education volunteer activities as well.
Part of this initiative featured a work experience class. Volunteers prepared 18 different job uniforms for the kids to try on, in addition to offering realistic props and job simulations. By taking part, the children were able to learn more about various career options and imagine what they might do in the future.
A science class was also arranged to teach the kids about the principles of magnetism. They made their own unique toy cars with blocks and clay and used the force of magnets to move them. The children had even more fun with their cars when they were split up into groups to race them against each other.
It seems remarkable that all this was achieved in just one week, not to mention extra performances by both children and volunteers. During this period at Samsung Village No. 7, the Samsung C&T staff built genuine bonds and reaffirmed that relationships are the real connection between bricks and mortar in the construction world.