Armed with maker kits, teeming suitcases, open hearts and minds, and a few scattered nerves, the PureService4Good team landed in the colorful, populous metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Thursday, October 5. Since then, our time has been categorized by teamwork, collaboration, mutual learning and growth.

So what brought our global group of Puritans to this city of ten million people?

There are significant numbers of youth without parental care in Vietnam. Children who grow up in government-run orphanages leave at age 18; many lack confidence, high school diplomas, nor the prospect of viable employment opportunities. That’s where Orphan Impact enters the picture.

Founded in 2009, Orphan Impact prepares children for a future beyond the orphanage walls. Through STEM-focused teaching, Orphan Impact facilitates learning opportunities designed to “unleash creativity, encourage communication, develop critical thinking and increase each student’s confidence.” Tad Kincaid and his team of facilitators and volunteers are passionate, innovative, intellectual and authentic; they possess genuine love, admiration and respect for the children they support. Many of us were moved to tears when one facilitator shared her personal story during our first day onsite; originally a beneficiary of the program, she is now an Orphan Impact facilitator herself; her teachers and mentors are now her colleagues.

Over the next two weeks, our team will work with Orphan Impact staff to expand their maker curriculum. The goal is to provide new technological materials and accompanying training to foster opportunities for creativity, tinkering, problem solving and empowerment; ultimately increasing the children’s life and career opportunities. Orphan Impact estimates that ultimately 440 children and 26 teachers will benefit from this initiative.

The symbiotic nature of this program also enables Pure Storage employees to hone their leadership skills. Over the past eight weeks, as we prepared for this service project, we were encouraged to learn more about ourselves. Platforms like ViaMe enabled individuals to understand their strengths, as well as appreciate opportunities for growth and development.

During this in-country phase, we’ve already had the opportunity to uncover the strengths of our teammates and see those strengths in action. As a result, we are already better equipped to form and bolster a cohesive, cooperative and collaborative team. Cross-functional alignment has been encouraged and fostered; colleagues who may otherwise never have met have been united by their openness and shared desire to #GoDoGood. Just a few days in, we are humbled and grateful.

Access the team’s daily blog postings and learn more about Team4Tech.

Special thanks to Brett Murray for the photography.