Walking 320 km to fund a health education project in Vietnam

Walking 320 km to fund a health education project in Vietnam

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Completion Date: Mon 30 Jan 2017

By walking 320 km from Leon to Santiago, I am hoping to raise over £ 700. This amount will be used to join the Medical Education Exchange Team (MEET), a non-profit organization supporting health education in Vietnam. My aim is to deliver, as a volunteer, training sessions on developmental psychology to Vietnamese students working in the health care system. Ultimately, I hope this will have an impact on the wellbeing of Vietnamese children and their family.

Whilst working as a clinical psychologist in Italy, I developed a keen interest in child development. Specifically, my area of interest is attachment theory and my theoretical framework is the Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation (DMM). During my MSc studies in the UK, I understood the importance of attachment in children, i.e. their biological instinct to bond with their parents or caregivers. Furthermore, by carefully observing how children elicit care and protection from adults in conditions of perceived threat, I gained practical understanding of standardized methods for assessing attachment patterns. In fact, these methods are used for assessing secure versus insecure attachment relationships and screening for abuse and neglect in childhood. My current PhD research intends to study how children develop attachment within the family dynamics, with the aim of furthering research and directing therapeutic interventions for children and families.

I want to contribute at an international level, by doing volunteering work for the Medical Education Exchange Team (MEET) https://meetinternational.org/directors/. Twice a year a team of their professionals runs training sessions for students attending the Can Tho University (CTUMP) in Vietnam who are training to become doctors, nurses, social workers. My Aim is to offer an overview of attachment development , so as to provide a psychological understanding of mental health in children, and so to further enrich the medical approach currently adopted in Vietnam. Ultimately, I am hoping to enhance the welfare of Vietnamese children and their family.

My volunteer work for MEET will consist in delivering the following training sessions:

  • The CARE index: the focus of this session is to explain "compulsivity" in childhood and relationships at risk of abuse and neglect (DMM model).

  • The strange situation: this gold standard in attachment research is presented to explain the different attachment patterns (A,B,C) in preschool children.

  • The strange situation (2nd module): specifically the focus is on insecure attachment strategies used by children in context of danger (DMM model).

  • Attachment within the family system: the aim is to illustrate how attachment development can be contextualized in the family context.

The sessions are planned to be interactive, so as to engage students in group discussion and role play. By using clips of parent-child interactions, students will be trained to observe signifiers of attachment behavior in children.

  • If I hit my minimum of 20 £, I will donate the funding to M.E.E.T.

  • If I hit my full target of 700 £, I will fund my flight to Vietnam as well as cover teaching and accommodation expenses. £ 500 - return ticket to Vietnam, £ 150 accommodation fee for 7 days £ 20 teaching materials £ 30 internal trips from Ho Chi Minh City

  • If things really take off and I raise more than my target (£1200), I will involve another professional knowledgeable about attachment and autism. Since in Vietnam there is a high rate of autism, a better understanding of this condition is needed to support children and their family.

I will give updates on progress while I am raising money by walking 320 km from Leon to Santiago de Compostela. Also I will give regular updates whilst teaching in Vietnam.

A sincere thank you will be given to everyone who donates, whatever the amount you might give. Please help me and help make this project happen!