Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Time up in the mountains near the Laos border

The trip into the mountains to interview new students and to update students in our scholarship program went well. The countryside was stunning as usual and the weather was kind as it was cooler than in Hoi An and there was a gentle breeze most of the time.

Students who lived too far away for us to visit came to their school for their interviews. Some of them live a few hours away with a few only being able to walk the last kilometres through the mountains to their homes.



Most homes are basic structures made of a mixture of materials, with only some of the wooden structures having cement or cement and tiled floors.  



Most families share their stories openly making it easy to see who needs help in most situations. Some parents although uneducated want their children to complete high school. Sometimes it is hard to decide who to help as some students are unfocused and unclear about what to concentrate on to do well at school and about what to do after graduation although it is just a year away. Unfortunately the system here requires them to be focused for their last three years of schooling. Some parents don't want their children in school and there is a battle going on between them. In those last two situations unfortunately there are few we can support.   





Saturday, June 3, 2017

CEF's 2017 Water Safety Day was possible due to Go Philanthropic's support

We are most grateful to Go Philanthropic and one specific Go Philanthropic donor for their wonderful support making our 2017 Water Safety Day possible.

The time at the beach was a mixture of  learning the life-saving theory about the dangers of water, how to be safe around it, including how to save yourself in the water and how to safely save others. There were fun games on the beach and in the water, lunch at the beach and then relaxation by the waters edge afterwards with yoghurts. We finished the day with a movie which was very touching and humorous about a child and her mentally ill mother. It was about caring for others, being thoughtful and not selfish.

The children had a wonderful time and everyone was very grateful for this opportunity and they look forward to the event next year.





Friday, June 2, 2017

This weekend CEF are doing new interviews and re-assessments of girls near the Laos border

Up in this area of Quang Nam near the Laos border there is a lot of poverty as there is no industry and few work opportunities. 


 This weekend four of CEF's staff are up in the mountains re-interviewing girls we have been helping one of two years and also interviewing new families asking for help for their girls education.


Homes are usually wood with tins roofs, with most having a compact dirt floor. Families are large with girls marrying younger than is legally allowed. This is what is normal.


As most grandparents and parents haven't been to school their children are vulnerable and many children end up working hard at a very young age and some go off to work in the illegal mines.


Children leave to do work they have been told about in a big city with a good income and are never heard of again. Trafficking of children from this area is so easy to do and we want this to change.


We want to protect them by making sure more finish high school, but also provide workshops for the girls to teach them about trafficking, health and hygiene, and help them develop social skills.


At present we have 32 of the girls up here in our scholarship program and run yearly workshops for them and the other girls in high school in this area.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

CEF's annual Water Safety Day was on May 28th

We at CEF believe that understanding water safety is crucial and is life-saving knowledge with 32 children drowning each day in Vietnam (WHO statistics). Each year we have a Water Safety Day where the students learn about water safety. It's a fun day too as there are games in the water, on the sand, under shelter and then we end the day with a movie.

Thank you all who helped with the preparation, at the beach, and who supported this day in various ways.  An especially big thank you to Go Philanthropic for giving us a grant so we could run this important day.


 When we arrived the no swimming sign was up. We half expected this as it had been raining on and off for a couple of days and the seas had been rough.


When the students arrived they smothered themselves in sun screen.


Covering water safety theory is crucial as they then understand the possible dangers of water and how to avoid them as well as how to rescue people in the water.


 To get the students comfortable in the ocean we play games at the edge of the beach but in the ocean. They quickly learn the strength of the waves.


We played many games on the sand too.


Only the brave went in the water to learn floating as the waves were quite frightening for most of the students.


Then it was time for  showering and many more games and singing under shelter from the sun.

video


Watching the ocean after lunch



Then we finished with a movie at the cinema and they then headed off home with a photo of them all from the day.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Eleven girls are in school due to the generous support of Tamara

Most CEF sponsors just sponsor one child, some two and a few three as we ask for a commitment to see the child through their education whether they start sponsoring the student in grade 4 or in grade 7, and that's a big commitment one we all really appreciate.


We are thrilled to hear from someone who wants to sponsor as it means they will be able to help that child stay in school, support them being educated, therefore giving them a very different future to the life of a child who has to stop their education at 10 or 13.


Sometimes we are blessed to have donations, that are non-specific allowing us to use those funds for CEF activities, workshops or even to be able to contribute to staffing costs as without staff we can't do anything. Even though these donations don't come with stipulations we love to see their funds helping some of  the children in need of sponsorship or scholarship as well.    


These eleven children have their education funded by Tamara's monthly donations enabling them to continue their education. As she is a committed donor we know that we can commit to helping these girls complete their education.


When poor and an education is unaffordable it is devastating for children to be removed from school, to know their future may well end up being the same as their mother who collects garbage to bring in funds for food each day.


Some have sad situations that mean they just can't afford their living costs. The mother of the girl above had a nervous breakdown after the birth of her last child and since hasn't been able to work leaving dad to be responsible for the care and support of his four daughters and his wife.
   

Her parents have poor health as well as living where there is no work limiting their income to support four children.   Dad has to go away for months at a time to work in large cities just to feed his family.


 Her mother has such debilitating migraines that nothing seems to relieve and the most she can manage is to look after the home and the four girls. Dad's income is seasonal as he is a deep sea fisherman and they have months on end with no income.


Her parents are divorced and she is cared for by her granny who has terrible health and an income of about $3 a day, just enough to feed her but not support her education.


 Her mother is uneducated and 'simple'. She manages to farm rice to feed them, but she has no income as she is not employable.


 Her parents died from HIV and her only sibling is unwell too. She lives with an old and ill granny and is not well cared for. Fortunately her teachers care about her.


Her parents divorced when she was very young and she now lives with her granny whose income is too small to send her to school.

These girls have a future now and their family members are hugely relieved to have this educational support. Most parents and grandparents want to see them be educated but when they haven't enough income no matter how much they want that it is just not possible.

Sponsorships, scholarships, funding of programs and non-specific donations are so appreciated that we can't easily express how much they mean to us at CEF and to the families.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Living with HIV

 

Some of the CEF children in our sponsorship program are living with HIV.


For some it is a very sad situation.  One doesn't have anyone who loves her or cares for her. Her grandfather cares the most, but not enough for her to get the care or educational support she needs. In another case her carers are elderly grandparents who haven't been able to tend to her needs or help with her education requirements sufficiently, so she is failing most subjects in primary school. Fortunately an aunt has returned to the area and is now able to help out a little. Another girl has a loving grandmother but granny is no longer young and under terrible stress as she is caring not just for her granddaughter, but also for the children of another son who has HIV and is in prison. His wife died from HIV. 

Some of the children face discrimination at school, with one girl having to leave her school and she could only find one that would accept her a long way from home.


The girl in these photos is very fortunate to have an intelligent and caring mother, even though she also has HIV. The mother is considered unemployable because of being infected and decided to develop work at home and is keeping and breeding chickens. She is so caring that they are doing really well and she is earning a satisfactory income for many of their needs, but unfortunately not enough to pay for the education costs of her four children, therefore CEF has found a sponsor for one of them. They are most grateful for that support and we at CEF are most grateful that she is sponsored and has educational support.

Vietnamese resilience


The Vietnamese have a reputation for resilience and I believe it is true. I wish to talk about one child who has bounced back and is doing well in life and school.

Her parents both died from HIV. One was in prison a long time and then soon after being released died. The other parent died soon afterwards. Her school kicked her out once they found out she was infected. Her neighbours including neighbourhood children rejected her.

She is healthy, strong, energetic, humorous and happy. She has a loving grandmother, relatives who care about her and a school she loves going to that unfortunately is far from home, but is doing well there. Her joy and humour lighten our spirit when we spend time with her. She is an amazingly resilient lovely little girl




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Completion and goodbye

After TH being in CEF's sponsorship program for 7 years it was hard to say goodbye this weekend although thrilled she had completed high school, college and recently completed another degree. When a student has been in our program a long time we grow to care for them a lot and they talk to us about their challenges and successes and share their happiness with us. 


As she started in the program a very sad and depressed girl in poor health we had to give her that bit more TLC. Her parents had both recently drowned and understandably she couldn't speak of them without bursting into tears and crying for some time.

We and her sponsor Linda D are very proud of her accomplishments. She is now employed and supporting herself, although struggling on the low income of her first job after graduation.