Residents in Hoi An are very familiar with the charitable activities of the Wandi family, made up of Kawa, Nishte and their triplets Alexander, Leah and Joline, from Stockholm, Sweden.
Since 2017, the family has been on a journey through many countries in the world, helping all kinds of people through their charity the Wandi Union, which is mostly based on their own financial sources.
They arrived in Vietnam in February 2020, just before the pandemic forced the closure of international borders. They decided to remain in Hoi An.
“During the pandemic, we saw the situation in Vietnam become harder for many families,” Kawa Wandi told Việt Nam News. “Many lost their jobs in the tourism industry. We decided to reach out to help those in need."
|Kawa Wandi hands some gifts to a local elder. — Courtesy Photo of Kawa Wandi|
“We did not feel good about seeing the Vietnamese people suffer, he said.
Kawa said locals in Hoi An have been kind and respectful to him and his family.
"The country has welcomed us with open arms. Vietnam is very dear in my hearts,” he said as he explained why they have stayed so long.
They have faced no difficulties in living here.
“Life is simple and nature is amazing,” he said.
Kawa said they do charity work almost every day. Usually, they give out food packages, to cover the needs of a family of four for a week.
|Nishte Wandi joins in cooking meals for poor people. — Courtesy Photo of Kawa Wandi|
The package contains rice, noodles, oil, preserves, vegetable and more.
They also sometimes cook food and distribute it among the poor in the city.
“Sharing your bread with your fellow human beings is the best experience we can have. We have worked in charity for many years. We are happy to be able to share the blessing we have had in our life with other people,” he said.
Wandi said one of his most memorable moments was when the team reached a remote village in Tay Giang District to install a water purification system for a village of 400 people.
They didn’t have clean water. Instead, they had to go kilometres every day to get drinking water. This machine produces 200m3 clean water an hour.
“Seeing the kids running after the car cheerfully when we left them with all the joy and hope that gave us strength and love to continue,” he said.
|Kawa poses for a photo by the water purifying system he helped install in Dong Giang, Tay Giang District of Quang Nam Province. — Courtesy Photo of Kawa Wandi|
The family has made many friends that help out with the charity work. After a serious storm last year in the central region, the team carried out a series of charity activities in flood-hit areas like Quang Tri, Quang Binh, and Quang Nam.
He said local authorities have also been helpful in their charity activities. They sent trucks and volunteers, allowing the Wandi Union to send big donations.
In Quang Tri, the team had to travel by boat from one house to another to give locals essential things.
“It was a risky trip. I left my family alone in Hoi An,” he said. “It was with great happiness that I returned home after such a dangerous trip.”
Trang Quoc Tri, a restaurant owner in Hoi An who joins Wandi’s family in many charity activities, said he was really moved to see Wandi walking with his bare feet in the flood, giving essential things to locals in Quang Tri.
“He was so moved by lonely elders in flood areas that he gave them millions more as extra gifts,” Tri said.
Tran Tan Dung, Chairman of Hoi An City’s Vietnam Father Front Committee, said local authorities and people have been moved by the donations from organisations, enterprises and individuals.
“We highly appreciate the gifts from the Wandi family and other sponsors,” he said. “Many families have had to overcome difficulties during the pandemic. This is a great source of power for us to fight back the pandemic.”
|Children are the focal points in his projects. — Courtesy Photo of Kawa Wandi|
Wandi said because of the COVID-19 situation, they have not been able to drive up to the mountains. They have a few projects up there that they had to put on hold up until the roads open and things get easier.
In Hoi An, the team plans to support three schools. They will continue with the food distribution.
“Kids have always been the focal points in our project,” he said. “Our children are our future in society. Investing in them is the best thing that one can do. Their families are in need in Hoi An and Quang Nam so we will continue to support as long as we are healthy and able to.”
“We want to thank our friends from around the world and our families for helping and supporting us to make it possible,” he said.
“Vietnam has a rich culture and beautiful landscapes, from small towns with a lot of charm to cities like Hanoi and HCM City.
"The best thing for me is Vietnamese people, who always keep smiling no matter how they feel.
"Hoi An is an incredibly beautiful city. People are among the nicest we had met in our life. We are truly happy to live here, in this amazing country that nowadays we call our home.
"There is nothing that we dislike about Vietnam, except maybe that we cannot get some Swedish goods here!"
|The family enjoyed travelling in Việt Nam before the pandemic. — Courtesy Photo of Kawa Wandi|
|The Wandi children also join in charity activities. — Courtesy Photo of Kawa Wandi|
Wandi said his wife and children enjoy the quiet and stress-free life here in Vietnam.
“The warm smile and the love we received from Vietnamese people is a blessing. They enjoy the social life, the easy-going people, the nice weather, the beautiful nature, the rich culture and the amazing traditions,” he said.
“It’s hard not to fall in love with this country. Vietnam will always have a piece from our heart and forever will be the second home to us,” he said.
Source: Vietnam News
Having loved Vietnam since the day they set foot on the land, the Swedish couple Kawa Wandi and Nishte have been living in Hoi An City for two years.
A group of foreigners living in Vietnam has raised VND153 million (US$6,700) for charity amid the current COVID-19 outbreak.