The Backpacker Intern

From SCC Vietnam to TEDxTeen NYC

If you focus and work hard, a lot of creative work can be done in two days. Like my last two days at Saigon Children’s Charity (SCC). An organization that helps disadvantaged Vietnamese children to get an education and a fairer start in life.

On my first day, Paul Finnis (Charity Director) welcomed me at the office, an old but cozy building in Ho Chi Minh City. After a short introduction and some shakin’ hands with my new colleagues I was briefed on a task where you can wake me up for at night; writing a brand story. I was teamed up with Vince Doub, a filmmaker from France who lives in Saigon.

In about an hour we already had a cool idea. Or at least a direction that felt good with both SCC as Vince and me. We took the motorbike and started to do some work at i.d.Cafe. A modern coffee bar with good A/C, wifi and a lot of creative people. Or people who try to look creative. As you see on the picture below.


SCC doesn’t have a lot of money so they couldn’t afford a place to stay for me. Luckily DDB Group Vietnam was so kind to sponsor my stay at a really nice hotel. Thanks so much for that guys!

On day two I got up very early to visit one of the schools. Here, they give disadvantaged children the opportunity to learn different skills such as English, photography, hairdressing, hospitality, art and computer skills. I talked with some teachers and learned about their great work.


When I got back at the office, Vince and I threw our first execution ideas in the trashbin and improved it. We ended up with a stop-motion film made out of chalk on a playground. I’m not allowed to give more details. But it looks like we are going to produce a neat short film. Hopefully this film will help SCC to get more sponsors.

At the end of my internship the sweet people of SCC gave me a card with good luck wishes from all the colleagues. Thanks so much for that. I loved to help you out and wish you all the best with the great work you are doing.


In the evenings and the whole day today I was focussed on probably the biggest thing I will ever do. A TEDxTalk. It’s still so unreal. But so awesome at the same time! This Saturday I’m on stage in New York City with a bunch of crazy ones at TEDxTeen. The event is hosted by Nile Rodgers and Q-tip. It’s being broadcasted live by MTV Voices in more than 150 countries. My talk is at 3:50 PM (NYC Timezone). But after the event they will put the whole talk on YouTube, so I will share it here afterwards.

In a few hours my taxi is here to pick me up. I’ll fly to Hong Kong first, have to wait there for three hours, and then do about 16 hours of airtime. I’ll arrive in the Big Apple around 2:00 AM and the next morning I have the official rehearsal for my talk. Maybe it’s better to change my name into #TheZombieIntern…

One of the coolest things so far, is that I even inspired my parents with this project. They live in Holland and never crossed the ocean. But now they are coming to New York! It’s the first time they are going on a big trip like this. That’s so awesome. I’m proud that they opened their mind and looking forward to see them again. Have a safe flight mom and dad, see you on the other side.

One hand in the air for the big city!

3 thoughts on “From SCC Vietnam to TEDxTeen NYC

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