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by Paul Kennedy
Wayne Worrell who started the campaign. Photo courtesy of Wayne Worrell
As social distancing continues to take its toll on residents obliging by the rules, one expat English teacher has decided to use the time to good effect.
Wayne Worrell has started a social media campaign he hopes will not only show support for the many frontline workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic but also help unite the Vietnamese and expat communities.
From left to right: Julia Meyer, Courtney Jordaan and Molly McMiles, who are English teachers in Hà Nội, from South Africa. Photo from Facebook
Alex Pike, an English teacher in Hà Nội, from the US. Photo from Facebook
“This last two and a half months has been very tough,” said the father-of-three.
“Not just for us, but for most people. I decided to try and help the best way I could with what resources I had. And this is by uniting Vietnamese and expats together.”
Worrell is no stranger to these sorts of campaigns. Also during the coronavirus pandemic, he arranged a blood drive to get much-needed supplies to medical facilities.
Chelsea Kerbaugh, a music teacher from the US. Photo from Facebook
Dan and Maggie Klien, educational consultant, and an elementary teacher, from the US. They work in Hà Nội. Photo from Facebook
For his latest venture, he is calling on expats to photograph and video themselves holding messages of support directed at the thousands of medical staff, police, military and volunteers.
He added: “I’ve been at home 24 hours a day, seven days a week, looking after my boys, which has been fun but I needed something to do.
“The first one I did was a blood drive which went viral and was absolutely fantastic, brilliant response and it brought people closer together.
“I did another one, clap for carers, which was another fantastic motivation to bring everyone together.
“I did a post on behalf of the doctors and nurses. They were asking people to stay at home, so they said the only thing we want from you is to stay at home and be safe.
“I’ll always remember those words and seeing those pictures and that went viral also. It always stuck in my mind and being at home gives you time to think.
“So, I decided to do the reverse and be able to actually thank the doctors, the nurses, the police, the military, the volunteers, as well as the expat community.
Elyciah Klaartjies, an English teacher from South Africa. Photo from Facebook
“I reached out to my friends, I reached out to their friends, and within two days everyone wrote their words to be able to express how they feel and the gratitude they have, like myself.
“I feel so much gratitude to the doctors, to the nurses, to the police, to the military and to the voluntary workers. They have given the ultimate sacrifice, to keep us safe.”
Since launching the campaign, Worrell has been inundated with messages from people expressing their gratitude and showing support to the frontline workers.
In one video message, an expat says: “Thank you Việt Nam. Especially doctors, nurses and all Vietnamese health workers for keeping us safe. We appreciate your efforts.”
Another adds: “Hi nurses and doctors, I wanted to say a big, huge thank you for your strength and support and courageousness during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Joe, Becca and Scotty Phillips, an academic director and a music teacher from the US. Photo from Facebook
The motto behind the campaign is 'Viet Nam co len' which is a call to tell the country to keep fighting. Worrell has no do doubt that a fighting spirit will help conquer COVID-19.
“I am one of those who does what they have asked us to, stay home. And that’s what we all should be doing now, stay home and be safe,” he added.
“I think about my family, I think about my children. I want to go out, who doesn’t?
“Việt Nam was doing good before, Việt Nam will do good again.”
To take part in the campaign simply make a sign like the examples shown here, take a photograph of yourself and post to social media pages. And share your image in groups to show your support. VNS
Mohit Sharma, who works in imports and exports, from India. Photo from Facebook
Vani Veikoso, an English teacher from Fiji. Photo from Facebook