Tuesday, March 19, 2019

About a recent home visit day ~ Guest blog by CEF VN USA manager, Stephen Jackel

As CEF-Vietnam’s U.S. manager, and a big fan and supporter of CEF’s founder Linda Burn, I do my best to visit Vietnam and Hoi An annually.  This year, on my 14th trip to the country (hard for me to even grasp that!), I headed out early one Sunday with CEF staffer Thuy to visit nine children sponsored by CEF’s generous contributors and update our information on how they are faring in their studies and their goals for the future.

On these visits I was struck by the contrasts between the young ladies who were working hard and succeeding in school and those who, though smart, were underachieving and potentially throwing away their opportunity for further education and a chance for a better life.  Like teenagers everywhere, they are tempted to hang out with friends, play sports instead of studying, and most insidiously, to fritter away homework time on Facebook.

MH, a polite 10th grader whose mother is caring but not in good health, used to get very good grades and dreamed of becoming an architect, which is an uncommon and ambitious goal for a poor Vietnamese child living in the countryside. But she failed two classes last term and basically isn’t working hard enough this term to improve her grades unless she makes significant changes to her routine.  Because our resources are limited, CEF demands a lot from the children we support and Thuy had to warn MH and her mother that if she fails any classes this term we’ll have to suspend our support for the coming year.  A somber MH admitted that she’s been spending time Facebooking with her friends instead of putting in the hours she needs to regain her standing as a top student.  We hope she can stick to her promise to spend more time on the books.

In contrast, U, an athletic 9th grader who just earned her brown belt in karate, is maintaining excellent grades and on course to achieve her goal of attending a science and technology university in Danang.  She also will be making time for extra classes at a local school teaching English.

The home visits made me think about my own childhood and how I often neglected homework to play with friends, watch TV or read the books I loved.  I can’t imagine how I would’ve coped with the temptations now confronting children via the internet and social media.  I was fortunate to live in the privileged West and had time to mature and accomplish my goals. The children CEF helps don’t have that luxury. At a young age they must recognize that their opportunities are fleeting and if they don’t apply themselves now, they’ll miss out on their chance to escape poverty. We wish them well and are ready to help as much as we can.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sponsor visit

Dennice and Ted visited Vietnam and were able to meet the young lady they sponsor as well as her mother. This was a real treat for both the student and mum as well as for her sponsors. They spent some time together and TT was blessed with some thoughtful gifts from them.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Ever wonder what you can do to support Children's Education Foundation?

University is the dream of most of our students, but possibly only about 50% will be successful at getting into university. For those who are successful the challenge is how to cover the costs of  their university education.

At present we have 31 students in university, studying a variety of subjects, such as medicine, law, accounting, nutrition, food manufacturing and technology, IT, chain supply management, teacher training and foreign languages (English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese).

University costs vary depending on the subject, the area they are studying in and the city. For example the costs to study in Tam Ky in Quang Nam province are low and the university costs are low too, but the costs of studying in Ho Chi Minh City are high for both studies and living. To study medicine or architecture, the costs are high, to study teacher training the costs are low.

Another factor is can they get part time work to help with their costs. In some cities it is easy, such as in Da Nang, Tam Ky, Ha Noi and in Ho Chi Minh City. But when our students study in Hue they have a challenge finding work as it is a small city, but also because our students from Quang Nam who study there, have a different accent.

Students can apply for student loans in term two if they aren't an orphan, but a parent has to sign the paperwork and although it is the student's loan, some parents refuse to do this, denying their child a university education.

Basically for a poor student, going to university remains but a dream for many.

The CEF University Education Fund was created to help students dreams come true. When their sponsor from high school can't afford their university education costs, because of this fund, CEF can step in if they are in need of help.

So that more students can be helped, this fund offers the student 25% as a loan, to start paying back once they are earning.  75% of their short fall for their university education is a gift.

All our university students also receive mentoring and attend workshops that provide information they are in need of, such as on female health care, family planning,  budgeting and human trafficking. We also provide good second hand computers to our university students.

We hope that you will be interested in supporting this important fund that enables our students to be better educated and have a future with more opportunities.

Please get in touch with us: c.e.f.vietnam@gmail.com

(Photos are of some of our university students who come to CEF for biannual updates)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A passionately creative CEF grade 5 student

H is a delightful grade 5 child in our sponsorship program, who is passionate about drawing. Her spare time is spent drawing scenery, events and people and all her art work is delightful. 
Her other passion is being a fashion designer, so she practices designing and making clothes for her dolls. She plans to design some clothes for her mother who only has three sets of clothes that are very old. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New computers for staff

We use a mixture of new laptops and second hand ones at CEF. If  they are donated to CEF and are not too old and in good working order, we repair them all and give most of them to the students who need computers. We also use some in the office until they get too slow for the staff to work on. Then we repair again and pass onto our students who need computers, for just doing simple things like writing assignments.

Recently two of the staff computers got to that stage and these two staff were thrilled to get new laptops. Without non-specific donations we could not do this.  So we are very grateful for these donations. Now they can do their spreadsheets on costs of the students, estimated costs for our education programs and support programs, their reporting on their students, researching, preparing powerpoint presentations for workshops, then storing work in dropbox and much more. 

Thank you!

Thuy Dinh says: 
I am writing this note to express how thrilled I am at having a new work laptop.  My old computer one was second hand but it was a good quality one except for not having a battery that worked. I had problems when the electric power was cut off suddenly while I was working. Now, I am working without worrying about the power going off. I am sure the new computer will help me work more quickly and efficiently. Thanks so much for giving it to me!


Friday, November 9, 2018

Mentoring training

We at CEF were most fortunate to have mentoring training with two very experienced staff from Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.  This amazing organization has an extensive sponsorship program, but also specializes in rescuing and helping with rehabilitation of street children and trafficked children. 

Their experience in mentoring was most valuable as we were able to not just learn new ways to ask questions, but were also very stimulated by the related conversations and questions we were asked. Working together on the issues that arose was valuable and left us keen to amend questionnaires we use when seeing our students and families. Open questions we found out were crucial to finding out information we need to know. Taking care, showing more compassion and being good listeners all were crucial to developing better and more open relationships with our families. 

We are most grateful for this wonderful help and support we received from Blue Dragon Children's Foundation.   

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Home visits in Duy Xuyen

On Sunday we visited CEF families in the closest part of Duy Xuyen district, which is about 45 minutes from the CEF office. We left at 6am and got home at 7pm. These days can be long, but are important to catch up with the families, to see their homes, the quality and the safety of them, and to hear about the family and discuss the child's education. 

The following are a few of the children we visited on Sunday. 

Her father died last year and her mother is doing what she can to support her three children on her own. This little angel was given this doll for her birthday the prior day to our visit. With CEF providing education support it reduces some of mum's financial burden.

This CEF student is holding a bag she was given by her sponsor, filled with all sorts of goodies, some educational and some just for fun. Her dad died last year too and mum is bringing up two children on her own.   

The brother, who is unfamiliar with having his photo taken and isn't sure what to do. He is holding a bag given by his sisters' sponsor. It was full of many fun activities and some cars too. 

The step sisters only started livng together recently after step-dad died. They love each other so much and the older girl is now so much happier than when she lived with her grandparents.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Happy to say T is sponsored

Now T is sponsored and we are thrilled. Thank you Kathy!

She has had challenges and will continue to due to being affected by agent orange. Her father worked collecting scrap metal at Da Nang airport, the site of dumping dioxide or what has become known as 'agent orange'.  After working there some years he and his wife had T. She was born with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Sadly a few years later dad died from 'agent orange' related illnesses.

Last year she had her sixth finger removed from each hand and the recovery process was extremely painful for her.   She was meant to have the sixth toes removed this year, but the memory of the pain is too much and she is refusing, but she can only wear thongs due to having 6 toes and knows at some stage she will need to have them removed.  

Normal looking hands now

Site of removal of a finger can be seen

T who had two fingers removed

Monday, October 15, 2018

Thuy Tran's birthday tea break with the staff

We popped out from work to celebrate with Thuy Tran one of CEFs hard working staff members. It's fun to take a break from work to celebrate birthdays!