Sparking Creativity among teens at risk in Vietnam

Over 3000 teenagers (mainly girls) from Vietnam applied for about 750 places at the 2020 Summer Camp run by the  Pacific Links Foundation  called Camp Connect 2020 where I had the pleasure of running a set of six Adobe Spark workshops.


The theme of the camp was Building a Brighter Tomorrow and the mission of the Pacific Links Foundation is to support the sustainable development of Vietnamese communities & the enrichment of their cultural heritage

Over the past 15 years, this Foundation has produced some outstanding results.


I spent much of the weekend (on Zoom) working with about 120 Vietnamese teenagers who are risk of being trafficked. My repeated workshop was based on teaching them Spark Post & Spark Video to help develop some digital skills in the hope that they will stay at school and find employment.



The objective of this camp are to:

■ To build a solid foundation for a bright future
■ To promote personal development by strengthening self-awareness
■ To introduce new paths and directions for the future

Students who did not have access to devices or the Internet were looked after by a range of companies and the camp was run by over 100 volunteers providing a total of 270 workshops via Zoom run by 130 presenters from around the globe.

It was a delight to be involved and provide some new digital skills and opportunities to these wonderful young people.


I enjoyed sharing some of my past Vietnam experiences when I took a group of students on a 2009 World Challenge trip to paint a school for the blind in Hanoi. This became the topic of my Spark Post while the students were encouraged to create posters based on their passions.



Nan turns 100

Today is my Grandmother’s 100th birthday. Myra France Wilson, née
Lazarus (Nan), was born on 17th August 1920 just after the Spanish Flu pandemic.


When she was a teenager, she looked after the family horse Dolly that use to deliver milk around the streets of East Brunswick in inner Melbourne. She remembers when horses outnumber cars on the streets of Melbourne.

She grew up through the depression of the 1930s, married and had her first child (my mum) during World War Two, raised four children, looked after 11 grandchildren (including me) and 15 great grandchildren. Book-ended between two world-wide pandemics, Nan has lived an amazing life.


She looked after my sisters and me when both our parents were establishing their careers. She helped me learn the 7 times table when I was in Grade 4. She taught me how to bake. She taught me how to be patient and she showed me the value of unconditional love and the golden rule.


When she lost her husband in the mid 80s, she spent a lot of time at our house in the suburbs and school holidays were spent at her house at the beach in Dromana. When she stopped driving, I use to regularly take her to Dromana. When I was doing my Doctoral thesis, we spent many weekends and school holiday periods together at Dromana. I would be writing from 6 AM to 6 PM and she would cook for me and keep me company.

When she turned 90, I took long service leave and my daughter and I flew Nan up to Alice Springs and we hired a campervan to show her Uluru. It was such a special time for the three of us.


Nan is currently being very well looked after in aged care which sadly means we can’t see her on her big day because of the Melbourne corona virus lock-down. But we will be thinking about her and connecting via Skype and phone calls.

Happy Birthday Nan. We are so proud of you and love you very much.