17 August 2004
Volunteers from the Youth Union, together with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Viet Nam, are working together to help preserve Hoi An, a heritage site declared by UNESCO in 1999.
Under the "Youth Volunteers in Cultural Heritage Preservation Project", young volunteers are encouraged to become more aware of the cultural value of Hoi An and assist in preserving its historical structures. The project also aims to link heritage conservation with income-generation by introducing woodcarving and pottery as alternative sources of livelihood for young people.
Recently, some 250 youth volunteers cleaned the banks of Thu Bon river that runs along the ancient town. They also produced a brochure to inform people about the cultural significance of Hoi An in Vietnamese history.
According to UNESCO, "Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site."
The volunteers also underwent a three-day restoration training organized by the Youth Union and UNV. There, volunteers were introduced to the cultural values of Hoi An, the legal context of preservating a world heritage area and taught basic restoration techniques.
"Before we simply know that Hoi An is a World Heritage Area, by participating in the workshop, we understand how and why it is listed, we are very proud of it," said Tran Thanh Hai, a young volunteer.
"I find it very interesting to learn these (restoration) skills, it's important that they be introduced to the local inhabitants," adds Nguyen Huynh Thanh Huyen, another volunteer.
Hoi An, situated 30 km south of Da Nang , Quang Nam Province, and lies on the banks of the Thu Bon River.
Youth volunteers contribute to the restoration of Hoi An
UNV in Viet Nam project: Youth Volunteers in Cultural Heritage Preservation
From:UNESCO in Viet Nam
UNV Viet Nam