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.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The impact of hand written letters ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

Do you still write letters by hand? I haven’t written or received any handwritten letters for such a long time since most of my friends, my relatives and I myself use emails or make phone calls or video calls when we want to communicate with one another. It’s a faster and more convenient way for all of us but I’m missing that familiar feeling that I used to have in the past. Yesterday I rediscovered that feeling when one of our children on receiving a letter from her donor gave a big smile and asked if it was ok to write a third letter in reply. Of course my answer was yes and I felt a little bit jealous of her. So now I am thinking of writing letters by hand to my friends who live faraway.

CEF photography project to run through June for our local CEF students

Summer is coming and to encourage creativity and to have fun, we are running a photographic project for a month. They will be trained to take photos of scenery, beaches, rivers, markets, rice fields and people.

The number of students we can do it with will depend on the number of point and shoot cameras that can be donated or funds donated to buy them.

We are still in need of donations for the point and shoot cameras, small memory cards, for printing the photos and photo frames for our exhibition that we will complete the training with.

Training will start on the 1st June. Photos are of some of the children taking photos when we were doing home visits.

If you can help please get in touch: 

Friday, April 7, 2017

About the good and not so good on our most recent home visit day ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Kim Chi

Last Sunday we visited children and families to conduct our end of year assessments. There were positive changes with better health, higher living standards and some families who have been able to pay back some or all of their debt while bad luck seems to foll...ow some of the families around with failed crops, diseased animals and sickness among family members which keeps them living below the poverty line. What upset me most was when children were left with grandparents who are in poor health and unable to make ends meet.

Sisters of our children have dropped out of school, getting married and having a lot of children they can’t afford which they then have to leave with grandparents so they can go to work far away. They are often the same age as my daughter. I don’t know how the children feel when they have to live apart from their parents but being a mother, I couldn’t stand to leave my daughter. I feel so sorry for the children since they don’t receive enough love and care from their parents which they are obviously worthy of.

I hope the children in our education programs can stay in school for as long as possible. We always encourage them to go through high school and get into university if possible as we know the better educated they are, the less likely they will be to follow in their sister’s footsteps.

(The three young children in this photo have been left with elderly and ill grandparents. There is a toddler as well. Granny has liver cancer and the CEF student in this family has to spend some of her valuable study time to look after them each day which is affecting her school results).

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Chances for Children International supporting CEF

We are very blessed to have Chances for Children International providing some greatly appreciated support to CEF. Ten children have been able to continue their education over the last year, and due to their continued support these children have help for this year too.

 One of the children we were especially thrilled to be able to support with their funds is T, as she has had a tragic life. University was her goal for some years and had kept her going through a long period of depression.

Their family is large and very poor, their home unfinished and almost empty. Dad has poor health and the only work he can manage is to support mum, who also has poor health, with selling fruit, corn and sweet potatoes at the market.

One of their many children was exceptionally bright and was placed in top classes by the school, requested to do advanced tuition and was put into many school, district and provincial competitions. Although the schools cover some of the costs related to the travel they don't cover all and they don't give the tuition free. Their family couldn't afford such costs and it all became too much and she committed suicide at home.

The family were devastated and shocked, and fell into depression, with this student I am referring to being affected the most. Once she was sponsored she was thrilled and smiled whenever we saw her, as she knew her dream of a university education was possible and she could get out of the poverty that she had known all her life.

So as you can imagine, we at CEF can't express our gratitude sufficiently to Chances for Children for making it possible to give such important support.  


Thursday, March 30, 2017

About a most determined CEF student ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Ngoc

This story is about a girl I really like. H is an example of a determined young woman who thirsts for a  better education and a brighter future. She is a third year student doing very well at university.

H is from an extremely poor family and when she was in high school her mother thought that H would not go on to university because of her ability and the family’s financial situation. Then H worked very hard in grade 12 to show her mother that she was good enough to enter university and she did a part time job as well as going to school to increase her family’s income. She was successful and entered university to take the major she was passionate about.

H always gets good results and is one of the top students in her class. Her mother has poor health and being unable to help H with all her monthly living costs, so H has to work part time as a tutor and a recyclables collector. When asked if she feels ashamed when collecting materials for recycling around the streets she said, "Not at all. It’s only a part time job and the money I make covers some of my costs so I can continue in university." In her answer she shows how determined she is to carry on at university. It’s a reminder to all of our students to try their best however severe their circumstances and that when they do there will always be a better road ahead for them.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

About term 2 payment day ~ a very important day in the lives of the CEF children and families

Payment day sounds rather dry, but it is a very important day for the CEF children and families. On this day funds are given to the families to enable them to pay the costs of their child's term 2 education and education-related costs. In this term it is mainly the fees and extra tuition classes that have to be paid.

Most of our students would not be in school if it wasn't for these funds. Poverty means no education for many, child labour, and the risk of the child being trafficked due to their impoverished conditions.

We are most grateful to all our sponsors who enable the children to stay in school until they complete their schooling, giving them a future with greater choices, as well as keeping them safe.

Photos of most of our Quang Nam students are above. Some were not present because they were ill, two were in hospital, a couple were in school competitions. a few had exams and some had important extra tuition to attend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Creative Expression ~ Art Day in Hoi An

Each spring we have a Creative Expression ~ Art Day. We run this day when Linda DeWolf is here as she is a most creative artist and helps to inspire the children with ideas. She comes with a variety of supplies for them to experiment with which they love as there are limited supplies here in Hoi An.  

A couple of pictures from the origami session

A few photos from the collage session


There are no photos from making friendship bracelets as their hands moved way to fast and all the photos are blurred!

They had an enjoyable time and we sent them home with a goodie bag as well. Thank you so much Linda for your help, inspiration and the art supplies. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Linda was once more able to meet the young lady she has sponsored for many years

Linda helped this young woman finish high school, then helped her to have a college education. At present she is finishing a further degree to give her a higher qualification enabling her to get a much better paid job. Linda has been a wonderful support for her and this CEF student has been most grateful as her siblings are not in a position to help her and she hasn't parents to help as they have died.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

We are grateful for and love our new CEF t-shirts


We at CEF have been very lucky to have our partner organization, Go Philanthropic organize new t-shirts for us all with one of their donors and sponsors. We love our new vibrant pink t-shirts and are very grateful for these high quality t-shirts!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Larry and Judi, of 'Chances for Children International' met with more of the children their donation has helped

 This week Larry and Judi, of Chances for Children International, were able to meet with three more of the children their donation has helped. The girls travelled a long way to come and meet them at CEF in Hoi An.

One of the young ladies is a university student studying to be a herbal doctor, and is a hard working student. The other two are in school and working hard so that they can get into university. One hopes to be a teacher and one a doctor. They are very shy and not confident as they come from a very poor community in a mountainous area.

The university student was an inspiration for the younger girls as she comes from a very poor situation yet is ambitious, hard working. She has become a confident young lady as she has gained a lot of confidence since entering university. Clearly she was proud to be a university student and expressed gratitude for this support and this wonderful opportunity. We feel she is destined for success.

It was a lovely meeting that everyone enjoyed with a lot of questions and sharing. Larry and Judi encourage the girls to go for their dreams and affirmed that anything is possible and just because they are very poor and females in a patriarchal society, they must not let that hinder them in attaining their goals.

Nicholas Kristof believes that 2016 has been the best year in the history of humanity

Nicholas Kristoff believes that 2016 has been the best year in the history of humanity and it may be true. Living here in Vietnam I can't see it though. The rich are getting richer, the poor stay the same or their situations get worse, unless they have outside help and support.

Policies introduced here mean that many of the poor will receive less help, or no help and already we see some families falling into despair having lost what little support they were receiving.

Now some families have family members dying instead of being able to control major health issues as they now they can't afford the medications they need to help control their health issues. Families with poor health or serious problems are not going to the doctor to find out what is wrong as they can't afford to get there or afford the medications.

More families are contacting us at CEF to ask for educational support as they no longer have any reductions at school for their children. We believe more families will withdraw children from school and send them to work as now they can't afford not to have them working and contributing to the family.  

The results of these new policies? Less people will be listed as poor giving the appearance of reduced poverty. How many other countries have introduced similar policies giving the false appearance of reduced poverty?

Link to the article:

Beginning of the article by Nicholas Kristoff and a link to read the remainder of it:
"There’s a broad consensus that the world is falling apart, with every headline reminding us that life is getting worse.
Except that it isn’t. In fact, by some important metrics, 2016 was the best year in the history of humanity. And 2017 will probably be better still.
How can this be? I’m as appalled as anyone by the election of Donald Trump, the bloodshed in Syria, and so on. But while I fear what Trump will do to America and the world, and I applaud those standing up to him, the Trump administration isn’t the most important thing going on. Here, take my quiz:
On any given day, the number of people worldwide living in extreme poverty:
A.) Rises by 5,000, because of climate change, food shortages and endemic corruption.
B.) Stays about the same.
C.) Drops by 250,000.
Polls show that about 9 out of 10 Americans believe that global poverty has worsened or stayed the same. But in fact, the correct answer is C. Every day, an average of about a quarter-million people worldwide graduate from extreme poverty, according to World Bank figures....."
Continue reading the main story

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 visit to CEF in Vietnam ~ Guest blog by CEF's US manager

I'm on my annual visit to Hoi An and this year the timing is right before ​the Tet (New Year) holiday, which is a major deal in Vietnam and unlike any holiday in the U.S. The celebration lasts a week, with planning, shopping and preparation taking twice that long. It's a party that includes visiting friends and relatives and lots of eating and drinking. For many, it's also a week-long work holiday.

CEF helps our sponsored children and their families join in the celebration by distributing food parcels, which include a big sack of rice, cooking oil, crystalized ginger, watermelon seeds, peanuts and other goodies so that they can eat well and enjoy this special time of year.  

On 22 January, a gray and drizzly day, Linda and I and the four staff drove 3 hours to Hue to visit two teens in the CEF program to distribute Tet parcels and check on their school grades.  (The staff then spent the afternoon in an anti-trafficking training session learning to teach effective methods to young girls so they can avoid predators.)  One of the girls is doing very well in high school and has a good chance to have a much better life for herself in the future.  The staff questioned her about her goals for the future, helping her refine her plans and match her talents with her eventual studies at university. 

The other girl, 'M', is a different story.  While all of the children helped by CEF are very poor, M's family's poverty really is abject. She lives with her father, who is mentally ill and rarely able to work, and her 56-year-old mother, a tiny woman who works at several low-paying jobs, including back-breaking farming work. She's healthy but looks almost worn out. They live in a small, unfinished brick and cement house that lacks windows and doors, with a tin roof containing numerous holes that leaks badly during heavy rains.  

M, who is quiet with a shy, beautiful smile, was training as a nun in a pagoda before returning to her family last year. She so far hasn't been able to earn good grades in school and her ability to escape the desperate poverty, arduous physical labour and hopelessness of her mother's life remains in doubt. Sitting on plastic stools in their house on a dark grey day, listening to the staff inquire about her life, tugs at the heart.  On the ride back, we discussed the best way to support M to have a life with a better future.  No definite solutions at this time, but one idea that may work is to get her into a restaurant / hospitality training program with an NGO in Hoi An.  In the meantime, we know that M and her family at least will have a better Tet celebration due to the generosity of our CEF donors.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Visit from Larry and Judi of 'Chances for Children International' ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

Today, CEF was very happy to welcome our donors – Larry and Judi and one of their sponsored students at the CEF office.

Thanks to Larry and Judi, and the donors of their organization ’Chances for Children International’, 7 girls in our education program have the chance to continue their studies.  
During their visit at CEF’s office we also shared more information about our work and programs, as well as shared some of the stories about our children.
We certainly hope they will enjoy their stay in Hoi An, and we look forward to seeing more of them during this time.
We are very happy to work with them and their wish to support CEF and to provide educational support for our disadvantaged children.