Building across Borders organises unforgettable life experience holidays in South East Asia building houses, with our partners in Vietnam, Scivi Travel. These tours are run by an ex Secondary School Principal with over 30 years experience and knowledgeable Australian and Vietnamese tour guides. Tours can be tailor made to suit your needs or time frame and are suitable for student groups, families, and are a fantastic team building experience.
Along with house building and/or school renovations, in the afternoons we visit significant sites: the Chu Chi Tunnels, the Independence Palace and museums. We also visit Coconut Candy Factory, the Snake Farm, Pagoda’s and Temples, explore Island’s and learn about local factories using a variety of vehicles including Sampan’s, Tuc-tuc’s, boats, coaches and taxi’s. You will learn about Vietnam's long and troubled history working beside local tradesmen and meeting local families. A fantastic opportunity to make life-long friends.
The monsoon rain that paints Vietnam a deep green also wreaks havoc on poorly constructed houses. All participants work with our partners to re-house the poorest families in new homes or to build or repair local schools for small ethnic communities. All are built simply under professional supervision. No construction skills are required.
Tour prices include accommodation, meals and sightseeing activities. All Tour Groups are accompanied by staff from Australia along with tour guides from Scivi Travel. There is no homestay. Participants stay in safe, supervised, twin/triple share motel/hotel style accommodation with own facilities. The Forest Tour's accommodation is in a Guest House.
Building Across Borders has an extraordinary partnership with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Province City and Village Leaders, Red Cross, Scivi Travel, and the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations. Each home building project cost 75,000,000 VND of which 60,000,000 ($3500 AUD) – paid for by the volunteers. A local government community aid committee chooses the recipients of the new house and the local government approves the site. A local builder is engaged to supervise the building and unskilled local people are employed casually. Our volunteers work onsite for approximately two weeks. They mix concrete and mortar, pour floors, lay bricks, render walls and eventually help put on the roof. The total construction time is about six weeks with most work completed while the volunteers are onsite.
An Example of a family with a new home
Eleven year old Tien Tran and her seven year old brother Thuan recently moved into a new home on the outskirts of My Tho city in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. Tien and Thuah were living with their parents and grandparents in a humpy made of coconut leaves, timber posts and scrap galvanised iron sheets.Their mother My Dung is physically handicapped but earns money at home by peeling garlic. She makes about 3000 Dong per kilogram. In an eight-hour day she can peel about 10 kilograms which earns 30,000 Dong or $1.50 AUD a day. Her husband Tran Van Trong supplements this meagre income with occasional light work. He was injured in a motorbike accident 10 years ago and is unable to work in the fields any longer. This is part of the hidden story of a developing country.The family shares their home with Tran’s parents. Tran is the eighth of nine children born to the elderly couple. The matriarch of the family is eighty-one year old To Hi Ky who has lived all her life in My Tho. They live on their ancestral plot of land that was totally defoliated during the Vietnam War. They raise Elephant fish in a pond as their source of protein and grow coconuts, banana’s and other fruit and vegetables to supplement their diet.
The Trong Family while their home was being built.