After a busy term teaching English in her Guangzhou school, Tove Vine spends her holidays volunteering at orphanages in Vietnam, Cambodia, Tibet, India, China and Nepal.
After moving to China 10 years ago at 57, Tove, from Brisbane, left her comfortable life to chase her dream.
She believes it is never too late – or too early – to start a new life, and make a positive change in the lives of others.
One of the highlights of her adventures overseas is a hygiene program she started in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Tove was motivated to set up a hygiene program to help educate 120 children after watching them eat their one meal a day with dirty fingers.
“The children would come to eat from the food program based at Bethlehem Kathmandu Church. I would watch them eat their rice and Dahl with filthy hands,” Tove said.
Shocked by the children’s hygiene habits, she approached the Church pastor, Peter Denish, and asked if she could buy soap and towels for the children.
Tove said she was motivated to help change the hygiene habits of these orphans after watching a documentary about monks in Dharamsala whom had suffered severe stomach pain.
“Australian doctors worked out the pain was due to unhygienic eating habits,” she said.
“Because these children were orphans, there was no one teaching them the importance of washing their hands before eating.”
As part of the program Tove purchased soap, hand towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste for all 120 children.
“It was so wonderful see the gusto the children put into washing their hands, faces and feet – especially when it brought smiles to their faces” she said.
“It is an act many of us take for granted. It was so wonderful being able to provide everything needed to teach the children a few small important hygiene practices.”
Tove is also the author of three books written chronicling her journey from straight laced accountant to the owner of 12 English schools in China.
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