Nam T. Nguyen, a grade 8 student at Trung Vuong secondary school, one of six Vietnamese delegates who joined World Youth Rhino Summit in South Africa last month have started to act towards his role as a young rhino ambassador by calling his friends to speak out for the rhinos.

Nam is giving a presentation at his class

Nam is giving a presentation at his class

Tuan Nam said: "After my trip to South Africa, I feel that my responsible is to spread out the messages and knowledge that I have learned through the summit to my friends, teachers and everyone else. I believe that spreading the message to raise awareness on the rhino crisis will help to reduce the demand for rhino horn in particular and products from wildlife in general in Vietnam.

I was very excited, and also nervous when I start working on my presentation. I worried that my friends will not be interested in the topic, or they might simply does not care about the rhino horn consumption might cause extinction. But as I received a great support and help from WildAct organisers, I feel a lot more confident with my talk.

On the day of the presentation, I was surprised as my friends seem to be very interested. They gave me a huge clap and it made me feel a lot more relax. I started by showing them the video “World Youth Rhino Summit (feat. 'A Beautiful Lie' by Thirty Seconds to Mars)” - this is the video was showed to us at the summit and I was very touched. I asked my friends " What do you feel after watching this video?

My friend, Trung said "Rhinos have been killed too much just to satisfy human greed, we need to protect the rhino before they go extinct. I'm really disappointed because Vietnamese have been consuming rhino horns for so long..."

I then showed my friends the graphic showing number of African rhinos have been killed from 2007 to 2013. It is terrifying!!! Me and my friends have a very interesting discussion on the use of rhino horns in Vietnam. I think it is very important for them to know that the demand for rhino horns in Vietnam is extremely high, and that although many people believe rhino horns can cure disease, it's actually not true. Rhino horn is made of the same stuff as our nails and hairs. Rhino horn should not be considered as medicine, and it definitely should not be used as gift, or symbol to show off wealth.

We also discussed on what can we do to change adult attitude toward the consumption of rhino horn, and how to make them listen to us. At the end of the presentation, I feel extremely happy. My friends really support me, and I will never forget how happy it was feeling that I did something good, and that my friends are all on my side. Here are some of my friends thoughts after the presentation:

Trung T. Dinh said to me: "I can't believe it...when I saw the video and all the information that I learned from your presentation. I am very concern about this problem. Vietnam is the largest rhino consumption nation! I feel really embarrassing, extremely embarrassing. Vietnamese seems to be too ignorance. Rhinos have important role in the ecosystem. And their horns are not medicines, please stop the killing of rhinos! Please join me and my friends to protect the rhino. We can tell the adults to stop buying rhino horn".

Mai Anh Nguyen recalled: "After your presentation, I feel really disappointed about us Vietnamese people. I never thought Vietnam is the largest market for rhino horn. We all learned that rhino horn is made of keratin, but why do people still believe it can cure cancer? It's us the Vietnamese involved in the illegal trade of rhino horns and paying the horrible rhino horn traders and hunters. We must stop buying and using rhino horn, that is the only way to save them".

My friend Quynh. D. Nguyen shared her thought: "I think Vietnamese and everyone else in the world, especially young people need to help the conservationists to speak out for the rhino and spread the message. Thanks Nam for teaching me about the rhino and for showing me what I can do to help the rhino. Me and my classmates are very embarrassing about the fact that Vietnamese consumers are directly pushing the rhino to extinction. Don't be scared or afraid, let speak out together to save the rhino!!!".

After the presentation, me and my friends developed some ideas that we can do at our school to raise awareness among teachers and students at other class. WildAct have helped me to shape my idea, and I will keep them update on our work!

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Further activities from Nam and his friends will be updated next week!

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Media contacts:

WildAct Vietnam: Nguyen Thuc Linh, +84 966 818 264, linh.nguyen@wildact-vn.org

WildAct Vietnam We are a new local conservation NGO based in Vietnam, established in 2013. Our works dedicated to raise Vietnamese people awareness on conservation issue by providing information and education program for Vietnamese children. Our website:www.wildact-vn.org

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