Wake Up Schools has begun a series of initiatives to create opportunities for front-line people to come together to share and to experience the mindfulness practice. There was an urgency to support healthcare workers, and so with the Centre for Healthcare Improvement Research (CHIR), we co-hosted a workshop in Vietnam on Sunday 7 April.
Healthcare workers in the Hospital of Tropical Disease and Cho Ray Hospital, at the frontline of the effort to treat and contain COVID-19, shared their experience of anxiety, exhaustion and suffering. We shared elements of the practice and led short guided meditations to offer a taste of the mindfulness practice. The webinar is now available through CHIR to 30,000 healthcare staff in Viet Nam.
One week later, on April 12, we held a workshop for Vietnamese educators. More than 100 attendees from universities, colleges, high schools and kindergartens joined the workshop. The guest speakers included university lecturers, high school academic board members and a psychology counselor. They shared about the educational challenges as well as the opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Orla O’Sullivan and Le Thi My Hang from Wake Up Schools introduced the practice of mindfulness so that educators could experience more peace and learn how to take care of strong emotions during this difficult time. Nguyen Thi Gia Hoang, Lecturer at Hoa Sen University, Psychology Department shared after the workshop: “As I listened to the panelists share, my understanding about the situation in schools and in families amidst Covid-19 broadens. My heart goes out to all parents, teachers, students and non-teachings staff who are struggling now, including myself and many people I know. I resonate deeply when the Wake Up Schools coordinator, shared about the situation in Ireland and how parents face real anxiety in home-schooling their children during this crisis. She showed us a bell and shared how the practice of listening to the sound of the bell can help us come back to the present moment, to be there with the sound of the bell and calm our nervous system, even when the world outside seems to be chaotic. I hope that each of us can create that space to be present and take care of ourselves during this challenging period. I hope that from that space, we can reach out to those who are vulnerable, or even ask for help and support for ourselves. I hope that from that space, we can be reminded of the preciousness of life and of the sources of strength and compassion that reside in us, in our families, schools and communities, so that together, we can walk through this storm, step by step, moment by moment.”
Wake Up Schools aims to continue creating spaces for exploration, sharing and support. If you are interested in creating a space for healthcare workers or educators in your country or time zone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Orlaith O’Sullivan