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Guest Speaker inspires Club members. He's asked to organise Vietnam Expedition

As s result of an inspiring talk about Vietnam by guest speaker Bill Williams late last year, interested Club Members urged Bill to organise an Expedition to Vietnam "with a difference". Bill is married to Heni, a native of Hanoi, and now resident at Table Top. They met while Bill was working on behalf of Swinburn University on 2002 and worked in Vietnam for another 10 years
They have organised the Expedition to show the 'real Vietnam" and to visit orphanages, schools and villages. It is strictly a not for profit expedition and 5% of the tour fee will be donated to charities associated with the visit. The Expedition is not an official Club function but will be well supported by interested RCAN members, their family and their friends. It is open to other interested people to attend.

The Genesis of the Expedition

Rotarian Kelvin Quonoey explains:

I met Bill Williams at Mt Buffalo last July with a group of Vietnamese high school students he and his wife had brought to Australia. I also talked to some of the Vietnamese students who told me how much they were enjoying their Australian education program.
Realising that Bill’s story might be interesting  I arranged for him to be a guest speaker at a Rotary Club  meeting…….. many of you heard and were inspired by his talk that night.
After that meeting Rotarian Vince Glenane and several others suggested to me that we should ask Bill to put together some kind of study tour to Vietnam.
The idea was to use Bill’s experience and contacts to put together an experiential study tour program with a more active “insider’s approach” than conventional group tours.  Vince and I met with Bill and his Vietnamese wife Heni to discuss the possibility of a study tour to Vietnam for interested Rotarians and their family & friends.
 As the result of that discussion I am pleased to advise that a group from the Albury Wodonga area will be travelling to Vietnam this September for a 13 day expedition. The not for profit program will take participants from the mountainous north of Vietnam, with its diverse ethnic hill tribes, to Saigon in the South. Along the way we will visit Halong Bay, Hanoi, Danang, and Hoi An. 
We will visit several schools and charity organisations working with orphaned and other disadvantaged children and meet firsthand the kids and the people working to help them. At each of the charities we visit we will donate funds* or much needed supplies for their work (*included in the expedition costs).
Of course, while we are there we will also have time to see the sights, eat the food and enjoy free time for shopping. Overall the program promises to be a very special experience for those who wish to participate.


If you are interested to learn more about the Vietnam Expedition and talk to Heni and Bill there will be a briefing session immediately after our Rotary meeting on Tuesday March 3rd at the North Albury Sports Club.
This meeting will a partners’ meeting so it will be a good opportunity for partners to attend.
 I need to emphasise that while this Vietnam Expedition is being organised by some North Albury Rotary Club members, it will be a private not for profit expedition and not restricted to Rotary Club members and their families.


Meet the Vietnam Expedition tour managers

The Vietnam Expedition will be organised by Table Top residents, Heni and Bill Williams.
Heni is a native Hanoian and former Senior Manager at ANZ Bank in Vietnam.  Bill met Heni while working in Vietnam on behalf of Swinburne University. They married in 2002 and spent the next 10 years establishing Asia Pacific Management Group ( an organisation development and management education business.
Heni and Bill have extensive experience in running group events in Vietnam ranging from international study tours (for Vietnamese participants travelling to Korea, the US, the Netherlands and Australia) to Vietnam based corporate team development events and experiential leadership development activities.
Since 2013 Bill has been project managing a World Bank rural sanitation capacity development program which aims to increase toilet hygiene for rural communities….a key factor in the stunted growth rates of children living in rural Vietnam.
Heni and Bill actively support several  Vietnamese charities focused on improving the lives of children living in orphanages and from ethnic minorities living in isolated communities in north Vietnam.  An important component of the proposed Vietnam Expedition will be to give participants a  different travel experience than that enjoyed by most tourists.
As part of the expedition participants will visit some of these disadvantaged groups and isolated communities to meet the kids and the people supporting them first hand. 5 % of the expedition fee will be donated to local Vietnamese charity organisations including those we visit on the expedition.
For Heni and Bill the purpose of the expedition is to promote greater awareness about Vietnam for participants by giving them a direct connection with local Vietnamese people while also supporting local charities working to improve the lives of disadvantaged children.