Hanoi and Cape Town are not far away

FNF Hanoi and FNF Cape Town shared laughters and joy in a room.
© Photo-Canva / Edited by FNF

FNF Hanoi and FNF Cape Town shared laughters and joy in a room. We played quizzes and games. We shared about ourselves, our countries and culinary arts. Our colleagues in Cape Town were nice and friendly! No pandemic could stop Hanoi learning about Cape Town. The world is again easy to connect. This was a great RE:START21.

Meeting virtually has become the new normal for people and organisations on earth. Face-to-face discussions became screen-to-screen. FNF Vietnam sees this as an opportunity for the foundation to grow as a global family.

The idea first started at Liberal Week in May 2021, an experience bringing FNF colleagues around the world together through team meetings and thematic workshops online. The event was open not only to a management level but also to all project offices and their local staff. It was phenomenal to travel around the world on our fingertips and to greet FNF colleagues with emojis.

Despite not meeting physically, it was fascinating to listen and share pandemic testimonies among the liberal family. This was such a crucial activity, especially in times of global pandemic, for countries and colleagues to support one another. We shared our pandemic situations, local updates and activities during the series of meetings.

Taking this model, FNF Vietnam decided to initiate a conversation with FNF South Africa. Andreas Stoffers, our country director, first threw this idea and was greeted with interest and enthusiasm by Ms. Barbara Groeblighoff, his counterpart from Cape Town. Wayne Alexander, a colleague from Cape Town Office, helped to hold this conversation successfully.

In Vietnam, FNF was able to spend a normal year 2020 with many offline events and few restrictions. But we were startled by the situation of our colleagues in South Africa where many plans were affected by the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns. At the same time, I realised that we knew far too little about each other.

Our global theme of this year, RE:START21 is inspiring us to strengthen the connectivity between our offices at a grassroots level.

Our joint online conversation took place on the 1st of July at 4 pm in Hanoi, which was at 11 am in Cape Town. The whole FNF Hanoi team was in office and on one camera whereas the colleagues from South Africa individually logged onto zoom due to the lockdown.

A virtual tour around the office of South Africa and its surrounding view really made me want to travel there.

This conversation lasted for an hour. Surprisingly, an hour virtually makes FNF Hanoi closer to a team from South Africa. We definitely want to keep in touch. Very big thanks to Wayne and our dear colleagues in South Africa. "Co gang len!” “Cheer up!". We are one Foundation, one team!