Law and Business

ACU Business students' lend a helping hand for Heart for Mission charity

My name is Thi Nhu Ngoc Vo my friends and classmates in Australia call me Angela, I am an international student studying Master of Commerce at ACU, School of Business – Melbourne campus. During our Integrated Marketing Communication class, I had the privilege to meet Ivey Panicker the founder of Heart for Mission, a registered charity, aiming to build and establish a children’s school in Uganda.

This meeting brought back many childhood memories for me; I reflected how some children are lucky to be born into ‘adequate conditions and circumstances’ enabling them to enjoy their life, whilst others are less fortunate having to grow up in harsh environments where everything is out of reach –including education. Especially, in rural areas and in developing countries, children even today suffer from poverty and illiteracy. Personally, being born and growing up in a small rural village of Vietnam, I deeply understand the difficulty in which children in remote regions approach knowledge. I know about the tension between daily survival and attending schools and how hard they try to compete with the situations of their lives every day in order to be able to attend school. I comprehend their dream, their desire about the world outside. I wanted to help children in my small hometown to have better lives because there are many people who cannot afford to study like me. However, I was hesitant to start because I thought singlehandedly - “it is just only me”- I could not achieve anything.

I used to do some small charity programs for children when working as a human resource staffer for a Japanese company in Vietnam. In addition to helping people, the company wanted to build awareness about their brand name and it had financial resources and capacity to make an impact.  However, Ivey a primary school teacher in Melbourne must overcome enormous challenges and difficulties in undertaking this huge project. She is so brave, patient and passionate to start this big mission.

Therefore, I want to get involved with the hope that I could share something to assist. This project reminded me of my difficult childhood. Heart for Mission has naturally touched me emotionally from the onset. Besides, I was also worried for the founder of this project. It must be a challenge for her to accomplish this mission without enthusiastic support from communities. I admire what she is undertaking. Also, as an ACU business student, service and helping others are important attributes to me; I am keen to get more experience and improve my service skill. So, getting involved with this important mission is my desire and happiness.

There are four of us from Dr Judy Rex’s IMC class developing an Integrated Marketing Communication plan for the Heart for Mission charity, as part of our group IMC project. In addition, we set-up a Market Day stall on September 8, with the School of Business in order to raise awareness about the Heart for Mission work, and to gather research for our IMC project; mainly the challenges of promoting not for profit organisations. Finally the hope and desire was to try to raise some funds for the mission by selling handmade bracelets made by the young women and girls from remote villages in Uganda.

From 10:30am to 1.00pm, approximately 50 people stopped by the stall, to find out about the project. Some people bought a bracelet, others simply donated money without taking them. We had raised $125 and raised awareness about Heart for Mission around ACU. We gained an understanding of the enormous challenges in promoting and communicating not for profit organisations and causes.

With thanks we acknowledge the ACU students and staff who stopped to listen and to those who donated a gold coin. And the support of Maxine Bradshaw-Business Development Manager, Faculty of Law and Business, our lecturer Dr. Judy Rex, Ivey-Founder of Heart for Mission, Lisa Guest and Dr Nasir Butrous.

Written by Angela, Thi Nhu Ngoc Vo