We cannot believe that our week here is over. It was only six days ago that we snapped a picture of a sunrise as we walked through Bangkok airport on the way to Ho Chi Minh City. We were six women travelling to Vietnam on an IKEA Foundation-sponsored trip. It feels like a lifetime ago. The thousands of smiling faces and welcoming hearts we have met this week have endeared Vietnam to us in a way that we could not have imagined then. And this experience has made us a close group of friends who will forever be connected.
The final goodbye at the end of the last school visit was bittersweet. We miss our loved ones at home, but to leave here knowing that so much work still remains to be done to raise awareness of child rights in this country is difficult. The Save the Children Vietnam staff met us as colleagues on Monday morning. Today, we part as friends. We cannot stay here to help them with their work, but we can and will take the opportunity to raise awareness on their behalf when we return home. They in turn can share with theirs, and one by one we can tell the many people about the children of Vietnam and how they all can support the work of the IKEA Foundation and Save the Children.
For now, we say, “Goodbye, Vitenam,” and thank everyone whom we have met for making us feel so welcome. We sincerely wish you happiness, health and strength to persist with your journey towards a safe and joyful childhood for all your children.
Anna, Carin, Caroline, Dominique, Emelie, and Marie.