Swing for the Kids: Giving meaning to the game

April 20, 2018 | 09:00
Thanks to VIR’s annual charity golf tournament Swing for the Kids, promising children from disadvantaged circumstances have the opportunity to change their lives for the better and look forward to a brighter future.
swing for the kids giving meaning to the game

The first fruitful achievement

The story begins with 23 year old teacher Le Van Tu, now one of the youngest Chemistry specialist teachers at the famous Phan Boi Chau high school in Nghe An province. Before starting his teaching career, Tu was one of the most outstanding students for four consecutive years honoured with a Swing for the Kids scholarship. The story of his endless efforts and resulting success has fueled hope in children just starting out with Swing for the Kids.

swing for the kids giving meaning to the game

Born and raised in Nam Dan district, Nghe An province, in a family facing hardship in an area of land affected by severe weather from Laos, for Tu, the path of education seemed to be closed. The unexpected death of his father in a traffic accident resulted in a turbulent home life. Tu’s elder brother suffered mental health problems and his mother required a series of treatments. His older brother, who was in his twelfth grade, was unable to continue working towards the national exam for university entrance. It was during those difficult times that Swing for the Kids arrived to help Tu, like a miracle helping him to overcome difficulties and realise his dream of becoming a teacher.

“Throughout the Swing for the Kids golf tournament, Vietnam Investment Review has been my second family,” said Tu. “I have close sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and even a grandfather who are always freely willing to help me.”

During his four years at university, thanks to the material and spiritual support he received, Tu has been a consistent high achiever. “I hope to have the chance to go back to my old school to fulfill my dream of being a teacher right in my home province, to help my family and my homeland, and to share the kindness that I have received with the next generations,” Van Tu said.

After graduating, Tu returned to his family with a warm welcome from everyone. He has now successfully realised his dream of becoming a teacher, but always talks about the Swing for the Kids scholarship with deep gratitude and respect. “The scholarship made me strive to work harder, and was a source of motivation helping me to overcome hardship in life. The Swing for the Kids scholarship has really changed my life,” Tu said.

Another ex-scholarship student, Thao Seo Phi, studied at the Thai Nguyen Agriculture and Forestry University, before starting his career as a geodesist. As the fifth child in a family of the Mong ethnic group living in the mountainous province of Lao Cai, Phi never thought that he would have the opportunity to complete his studies at university and find a good job in Hanoi. But a full scholarship for four consecutive years from Swing for the Kids has helped him to realise a brighter future. Phi had the opportunity to fulfil his education path, attending university, learning English and securing a good job. Phi also wishes to return to work in his hometown to express his deep appreciation for the valuable support he received.

swing for the kids giving meaning to the game

Unlimited love

Le Van Tu and Thao Seo Phi are just two of the many success stories from Swing for the Kids. Amongst the hundreds of other pupils who have been helped by the scholarship fund are Dinh Van Hoc, who is now working for the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, and Nguyen Thi Phuong, who has trained as a doctor, as well as hundreds of pupils and students who are quietly being supported. The success of these outstanding cases has made the golf tournament of more than 10 years ago more meaningful with a more human touch.

Former minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc, honorary president of the golf charity tournaments, confirmed that the success of the tournament over the past years has shown that Swing for the Kids is on the right track, retaining its original purpose and human meaning.

Former VIR editor-in-chief Nguyen Anh Tuan, who has been with Swing for the Kids for 12 years, said the tournament and the scholarship fund has a special meaning for him. “When kicking off this tournament, I did not know about golf, nor did I play golf so I felt a little lacking in confidence. But after 11 seasons, the tournament has grown steadily. Golf has changed my view of life. Swing for the Kids helped me break through turning 50 and reminded me of the past, of the hard and difficult war. It brings meaning to my life, giving me many interesting experiences,” said Tuan.

Many other organisations and individuals are quietly contributing to the development of Swing for the Kids. They include CEOs, investors and golfers making silent contributions and helping thousands of children continue to go to school. The golf tournament has made them more aware of their responsibilities to the community, while also bringing them pleasure because their business activities can have humanitarian meaning.

Nguyen Le Huong (Hanoi National University of Education)

swing for the kids giving meaning to the game

“On behalf of all students winning the Swing for the Kids scholarships, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the organising committee, sponsors, and VIR for making our dreams come true.

Thanks to the scholarship, our family’s financial burdens were alleviated and our education path was not interrupted.”

Do Thi Tham (Academy of Journalism and Communication)

swing for the kids giving meaning to the game

“Despite being born in a poor family and my mother having to work hard to earn money to raise me and my sister, I intend to keep studying and hope to pass the entrance exam to the Academy of Journalism and Communication.

I will use part of this scholarship to pay for my tuition fees and send the rest to my mother.”

Swing for the Kids also changes the perception of the teachers themselves, who directly led the students to receive the award. Le Thu Hanh, deputy director of the Student Affairs Department of Hanoi National University of Education shared, “For the three consecutive years I have helped students to gain scholarships, I wished more and more children could receive the help and support from Swing for the Kids.

VIR editor-in-chief Le Trong Minh, head of the organising committee said, “Each VND500,000 scholarship is small, even a full scholarship worth VND10 million/ year is not that big, but it is meaningful and encouraging for underprivileged pupils and students, helping them to overcome difficulties and achieve further good marks in their studies.

By Thai An

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional