Monday, June 19, 2017

May, A New Chapter

Summer has come to every corner in Hanoi. If you are in the area of Tran Duy Hung street, don't forget to drop by Tea Talk for a cup of coffee and share with us your summer stories.

The Ong family has begun their transition for their move to America. Michael and Jacqueline are going to the US this summer to enroll daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, and then move to Minnesota where they will be based for a year of debriefing, writing, and planning after 16 years of dedication to Vietnam.
This transition also means that Michael officially stepped down from all management work at Tea Talk. Our Social Enterprise is now managed by a new Board of Directors that includes Mrs Thuy Trang (Executive Director), Mrs Thu Ha (Business Director) and Ms Thu Huong (Communications & Operations Director).

The Ong Family has been in Hanoi for 16 years
Inspired by the visit and activities of our friends from Australia, Saturday Fun started in the middle of April 2017 as our latest program for kids from 3-10 years old. The purpose is to provide a place for kids and their parents to play together through a variety of kids crafts. Through these activities, parents and kids can have fun and understand more about each other. With different topics each week, kids will learn how to use different materials properly and creatively. Tea Talk's family room has gradually become a regular place for our young friends to socialize and experience new things. 

Saturday Fun's little participants

This month, together with Let's Share, the newest weekly session, Let's Chat, was launched. Now, every Tuesday and Thursday, friends can visit Tea Talk to not only improve their English, but what's more, grow in areas of critical thinking and life skills. Let's Chat started off with the topic of "What is Success?" in relation to how our Tea Talk founder, Michael Ong, views success at Tea Talk and in life. The next topic was a two-parter, spreading out over two weeks, where Let's Chat teacher and facilitator Presley McFadden took the students into "Adventures in Dating", and explored conflict management within his own relationship with wife Mary in their dating days. The topics have been relevant and fun, and have given opportunity for students to practice some of the basic elements of speaking and pronunciation. We look forward to more fun times of chatting (Tuesdays) and sharing (Thursdays) each week!

"Let's Talk PLUS" provided a special Team Bonding event for the first time, with select students from throughout the Let's Talk generations. It was conducted by CoRE together with Mrs Gwen Johnson. This event was such a great opportunity for LetsTalkers to improve relationships with each another as well as build an effective support network in mental health care. The team bonding was even more significant since it was one of the last activities Gwen hosted in Vietnam before leaving in June for her home country. Thank you Gwen so much for your continuous support towards our work over the past 3 years. You will be missed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Be Glad in April ( :

- Now it's May! But wait, how was your April? Was it fun?
- Yes, we were so glad to continue serving our community!

To celebrate our fifth anniversary this year, on a beautiful Sunday morning on 9th April, we organized a special event “Let’s Celebrate Family” to welcome many parents and children in the area of Hanoi. Along with musical performances on stage, we conducted different outdoor games to help strengthen the bonds between family members. While parents were busy attending workshops on parenting skills, their children were happy to join creative and playful activities like making small gifts, decorating cookies, face-painting or board games. We indeed couldn’t accomplish our mission without the great support from our volunteers, partners and all the attendants who spent their precious time to join our fifth anniversary. Together, we created a harmonious space that helped family members get closer.

🔊SATURDAY FUN has officially launched! 🎉🎉🎉
Saturday Fun is our weekly activity that aims to provide a place for creative play for children from ages 4 to 11 years. By joining our fun activities such as arts & crafts, decorating cookies or making handmade toys from recycled materials, we hope they can grow both physically and mentally.

In April, LET'S SHARE enjoyed a series of discussions related to Easter, as even the recent film "Beauty and the Beast" was revealed (by guest speaker Beka Reise) as a story that displays how true love sacrifices for someone who has done wrong, and restores that person, making them new. Indeed, the month kickstarted with REI-Vietnam staff Ginny Teel and Rebecca Hedges offering "Easter and Spring: A Time for New Beginnings". And as Let's Share enters it's second year, we know WHAT we do at Let's Share and HOW we go about doing it, but the question of WHY was explored in another session called "Life Planning: Vision and Values" led by Raymond Tan and Lawrence Liew. Let's Share continues to exist to give young Vietnamese friends an opportunity to truly express their souls while learning and sharing about new and relevant topics in life.  We saw this happen again with the final Let's Share of April entitled "Desert Storm: A Liberation Story", where a military veteran shared about his experience in war trying to help free a country, but how nowadays he's working to help people find personal freedom. Of course, we had fun playing some games and trivia, and winning some prizes along the way! 

Following the success of our events under Let's Talk PLUS in March, in April, 13 - 14th, Ms. Jean Lim (MA Counseling), Director of PowerVision EAP Inc. from the Philippines, together with CoRE, conducted a training workshop on Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). SFBT is an approach to psychotherapy that, as the name implies, focuses on solutions rather than problems. This focus makes it shorter than other forms of therapy. Through the therapeutic conversations, the therapist and client collaborate to envision what the client wants and to discover solutions from the client’s strengths and experiences. This training workshop attracted social workers, psychologists and students. All found it helpful and easy to apply to their work.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Let's Run For Tea Talk and CoRE!

Hello everyone!

Our dear friend Owen Soon from Singapore would be doing an Ironman 70.3 triathlon race in Danang in May 2017 to raise SGD$ 10,000 for Tea Talk and CoRE.

So Let's Run for Tea Talk and CoRE! ALL funds raise would go to support our counselling services and other community outreach programs. The hope is that more people who are in need of help will benefit from these services.

To donate and update his fund raising journey, please click this link. Thank you so much for your donations! Each dollar will go a long way to help someone in need!
Read more about Ironman 70.3 Vietnam here!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let's Celebrate Family

Tea Talk, in conjunction with its 5th Anniversary is organizing a community event "Let's Celebrate Family".  Do come out and join us.  You can also support us by purchasing a ticket and donate it to low income families.  Each ticket is 120k Vnd, or SG$8 or US$6.

Let’s Celebrate Family.
This community event will bring people together, a chance for individual, couples, young families to build, strengthen, and tighten family bonds with their loved ones.
Participants will enjoy a dynamic fun-filled atmosphere with activity corners on topics like parenting skills, family conflict resolution and skills to build your relationships. There are many interactive games for children and the whole family.

Tickets are available atTea Talk Vietnam, No. 16 Lane 100 Tran Duy Hung, Hanoi
Or call: +84 4 6269 6466/ 01254598261

To donate tickets for low-income families or volunteer for the program please
For more information, please visit:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tea Talk's new location

Tea Talk's new location:

House no: 16, Lane 100 Tran Duy Hung. Cau Giay. Ha Noi.
Read more about it here:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The month of May has been a very busy but meaningful month for many of us at Tea Talk CoRE.  However, the busier we are, the call to slow down and reflect become all the more important. Otherwise we become a rat running on the spinning wheel but going nowhere.
In May, Trang (CoRE's director) was in Singapore through a scholarship from the National University of Singapore to participate in a South East Asia Young Social Work Leaders Conference in Singapore.  Tea Talk CoRE is very proud of her.  Many of my professors and social work colleagues send me messages on how impressed they were with Trang's presentation and the professionalism and passion she brought along with her.  Along with her was Tra My, a Tea Talker that has graduated from Let's Talk and is now a social worker at Hagar International.  Both Trang and Tra My did us proud.

Ms. Trang, receiving her certificate of attendance.
CoRE, though young and few in manpower, has again pull off a successful fundraising gala dinner.  Our success is very much due to all the support and help that we received from our faithful advocates, advisory council members, Tea Talkers, Let's Talkers and friends from around the world.  Our accounting staff is still consolidating the final amount raised.  The delay is due to the fact that some had pledged to donate but has yet to transfer the fund.  As for today, near to US$21 000 (gross) has been raise. Well done ALL.  Well done CoRE!

Mr. Lawrence Peh, member of Tea Talk Advisory Council and CEO of ParkCity Hanoi sponsored a table for the gala dinner.
All our Tea Talkers that helped made the gala dinner a success.
Ms. Van, a faithful Tea Talker volunteering as the MC for the evening.
May also saw the arrive of 19 students from School of the Arts (Singapore) coming for their Oversea Community Involvement Program (OCIP).  SOTA, together with Tea Talk CoRE organized fun cultural activities, baking classes and workshops spreading LOVE to those around us.  In return, each of them and those of us at Tea Talk CoRE received more than we gave. Freely received, freely give.  As SOTA and Tea Talk CoRE journeyed together for 11 days, wonderful memories were made, friendships extended, fear and insecurities evaporated, forgiveness offered, appreciation and admiration credited.  Yes, Luong celebrate with this quote, "We succeeded, not because we see each of you shared in tears the valuable lessons the service learning experience has brought.  We at Tea Talk CoRE succeeded because we tear along with you all."  Moving forward, all such service learning trip will be renamed as Let"s C.A.R.E. C for Collaboration; A for Appreciation, R for Risk-Taking and E for Empowering Communities.

SOTA students getting ready and oriented for their 11 days OCIP at Tea Talk CoRE Community.
Let's Bake: A community involvement program.
SOTA students organizing a community event with children from the local community.
But, May is not without its challenges.  The demolition of the neighboring building has severely affected our operation and business.  We came in on one Monday morning and saw the thick layer of dust covering every inch of the cafe.  Then came the deafening noise and thundering shock waves that each pounding of the demolition machine struck to breakdown each brick.  In my heart, I grumbled and wished that the neighboring construction will take more deliberate action to reduce the noise and dust. My desperate attempts to negotiate the situation pales in what God did.  God, who watches our every step has a great sense of humor.  He sent such a big rain and flooded many parts of Hanoi.  The heavy rain certainly did the job of keeping the dust at bay.

Demolition work on the house next door
Dust covered over Tea Talk
One of the most sever flood since 2008
Looking ahead, June will be a time to consolidate.  At Tea Talk cafe, our cook Trang and our manager Ha will be due for maternal leave soon.  We are training a new cook now and is looking for someone to help with the accounts.  Credits to Ha for spending the past one year establishing the tedious but needed work of establishing a strong team of cafe staff.  Linh has joined us 3 months ago to assist with marketing along with many other service related task.  Tiem is a new staff making all the drinks.  She will need training to improve her drinks making skills.  Xuan our baker is recently married.  Congratulations. 

CoRE Community, the charity arm of Tea Talk, will continue to host workshops, lectures and talks.  On June 11, Let's Talk will have it official graduation ceremony for its 6th intake. Ms; Lee Song Lee, a senior medical social worker will be conducting a sharing session on 21st June about Medical Social Work In Singapore.  At the same time, CoRE will be hosting the Community Public Health Training team again from 20th to 24th June.  The community health project will be renamed to Let's GO.  G = Grow; O = Outwards.   As we grow individually as a person, both in professional skills and our personal hope, Tea Talk CoRE aspires to grow outwards and bless other communities.  Thus the partnership between REI and CoRE through the Community Public Health Team lead by Dr. Hipp is helping is set the ground and foundation for what I envision will take root in 3 to 5 years time.

Not to say the least, is our Tea Talk Tour and Tea Talk English.  Our youngest siblings in our family. Youngest they may be but over the past 6 months, both the tour and English services have brought new revenue streams for our bottom-line. Our youngest siblings, like the picture depicted below has help carried Tea Talk CoRE through challenging times. When we have a hole to jump over, each of you came in to bridge the gap.

Thanks to Yen who is the OWO for Tea Talk Tour.  OWO - One Woman Operations.  Also the the Mcfaddens for leading Tea Talk English.  Any guess for OMO?   No, it no One-Man-Operations.  Its One-McFadden-Operations.  This is because when Presley works, the whole family sacrifices.
Let's Bike - Tea Talk Tour's unique street food tour by bike.
Let's Share - Tea Talk Fun Club.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tea Talk CoRE Fund Raising Gala Dinner

Greetings.  Allow to me share with you that Tea Talk CoRE Fundraising Gala Dinner is here again and we would like to invite you to join us make an impact in the community.  Our social impact through the Centre for Counseling, Research & Empowering Community (CoRE) has expended. For a snapshot of our impact, you can review the videos of the various projects and events we have organized over the past few years at our official channel:

CoRE's yearly operating expenses is budgeted at around US$59 000.  Our goal is to raise US$120 000 through the different fund raising events throughout 2016.  This will give CoRE at least 2 years of operating expenses. To date, we have raised near to US$15 000.

Below ere are some videos highlighting Tea Talk CoRE Community programs and impact.
Interview with VTC10 :

We are asking that you consider supporting us in the following ways:

1) Sponsor a table for a 9 course dinner at Fortuna Hanoi Hotel with a donation starting from US$800.

2) Buy a few tickets for yourself and invite your friends/ business associates to the gala dinner.

3) Buy a few tickets/tables for the beneficiaries of organizations working with disadvantaged children, orphans and people with disability.

4) Be a sponsor and give a cash donation directly to CoRE in support towards the fundraising effort.

5) Be a sponsor and give in-kind donations like gift vouchers, electronic and household appliances for lucky draws.

Donations are welcomed even if you cannot make it to the event.
Click on the links below

In Vietnam - CoRE's bank account
Bank name:  BIDV
Number account: 22010000592607
Address:Thang Long Branch

In Singapore, please contact for bank transfer details.

For a receipt of your donation, please email Ms. Hong at