Jane sets out for a brush with adventure

Jane Anderson is swapping her day job as a merchant sales manager at Crown Paint for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to help underprivileged children in a remote area of Vietnam as part of a voluntary education programme.

Jane, of Stirlingshire, is to visit Lao Cai, where she’ll help teach youngsters aged between 9 and 12 in a programme organised by the Hempel Foundation.

The Hempel Foundation, owner of the Hempel Group – Crown Paints parent company, supports projects around the globe improving the education of children in need.

Jane’s adventure will take her deep into the remote north west mountains - close to the border with China – as part of a team of seven volunteers.

There, she’ll use her expertise as a Duke of Edinburgh Award assessor and leader to teach geography along with arts and crafts, music and language skills. She’ll also lead fun activities and games.

Lao Cai is famous for its rugged scenery and picturesque rice terraces, but the area is so remote that it’s literally off the map.

So to provide an insight into the basics of orienteering and compass work, Jane will take along a plan of the Scottish Trossachs, where she has spent many weekends navigating the stunning countryside.

The mother-of-two will also introduce the children to Scottish country dancing as well as a game of rounders.

Jane was selected to support the project following a successful application to the Hempel’s volunteer programme, which attracts staff from across the world – and she can’t wait to tackle her nine-day brush with adventure.

She said: “I saw the programme advertised at Crown Paints and felt it was a superb opportunity to participate.

“I really enjoy volunteering, both with the Duke of Edinburgh Award and, more recently, with the Girl Guides in my local village, and I’m looking forward to taking the skills I’ve learned to Vietnam.”

Jane has been overwhelmed by the support of her customers, as well as friends and family, who have donated a range of clothing and sporting goods for her to take for the youngsters, with companies including Apex Decor, Buildbase, Crown Decorating Centres, Jewson, MKM Timber, McNairs and Paint Shed all supporting the cause.

Despite its beauty, Lao Cai is one of the poorest areas of the country. The majority of the population are rural farmers and around 70 per cent live in deep poverty.

Life is particularly difficult for the children and very few receive a good education. Schools are more than seven kilometres away for some and most make the journey through steep mountains on foot, which is especially tough during the rainy season.

Jane added: “The area is so remote that some of the children have never left their villages or seen people from overseas.

“Our role is to give the children a glimpse of life beyond the mountains and share stories, games and activities from our own country with them.

“In return, the youngsters will teach us their local dances and cook local food with us.”

The government has established Monday-Friday boarding schools to keep the children in school, but they lack study materials and well-educated teachers. The classrooms and dormitories are also in very poor condition.

As a result, the Hempel Foundation has pledged support two large boarding schools - attended by 600 children - run in collaboration with UNICEF.

Jane follows in the footsteps of Crown Paints’ colleagues Sharon Lawlor and Rachel Demaine. Sharon visited Indonesia with the Foundation programme in 2014 and Rachel went to Bolivia in 2012. 

She said: “I’ve worked for Crown Paints for 14 years and the company is very much focused on supporting good causes.

“I’m delighted to have been selected for the challenge through the Hempel Foundation. It’s an amazing opportunity and I cannot wait to meet the children, see the world from a totally different perspective and share Scotland’s story with them.”



About The Hempel Foundation and the Volunteer Programme

The Foundation, created by J.C. Hempel back in 1948, owns 100 per cent of the Hempel Group, meaning that rather than the company having shareholders, all of Hempel’s profit goes to the Hempel Foundation providing a charitable Foundation, as well as financial security for the business.

The volunteer trips were introduced in 2010, and now the Hempel Foundation organises a visit once every two years to one of the projects it supports around the world, inviting one employee from each region to take part. To date, these volunteer trips have helped communities and schools in Bolivia, Cambodia and Mozambique, and in 2014, Indonesia.



About Crown Paints:

  • Crown Paints is owned by Danish decorative and protective coatings company Hempel, who employ over 5,000 people and operate in more than 80 countries.


  • Crown Paints is the Holder of the Royal Warrant by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, as Manufacturers of Paints.


  • Over 1,250 employees work for Crown Paints, which is based in Darwen in Lancashire, with manufacturing sites in Darwen and Hull, which operate to ISO 9001 accredited quality management system and ISO 14001 environmental management system.


  • The company has a network of more than 130 Crown Decorating Centres throughout the UK and Ireland.


  • Crown Paints serves every sector of the decorative coatings market, promoting its market-leading paint and woodcare brands – Crown, Sandtex, Permoglaze, Macpherson, Sadolin and Berger – to consumer and professional audiences alike, as well as key export markets.


  • Crown Paints has been making paint for over 200 years.


  • Crown Paints is committed to delivering its sustainability targets and its work in this field has been recognised at several regional and national awards. The company is also able to measure the carbon footprint of all of its products.