Sunday, September 10, 2017

"For the sake of the children" she said



For granny life is hard. This granddaughter has lived with her since mum died from HV. One of her other daughters lives with her and her three children as she recently gave birth and it is the tradition in Vietnam to go home and be cared for by your mother after giving birth.  One son has just been released from prison, who also has HIV, but can't find work, so she is having to support him too, as well as his son, who his wife left with granny when she left the relationship.

Granny is exhausted and depressed and yet keeps on working - "for the sake of the children" she said.

She has been most grateful that her granddaughter has been sponsored for the last year as it has been one less worry and financial stress to deal with.

If interested in sponsoring please do get in touch: cef.vn.usa@gmail.com


Why do we at CEF want girls to be sponsored?



Here are some simple and important reasons CEF wants girls to be sponsored:

1. They need a full education to have choices in life and not continue the cycle of poverty of their parents and grandparents.

2.It reduces their risks of being abused and trafficked.

3.It gives them time to mentally, emotionally and physically be prepared for the world of work, relationships and family.  

Why do we want this particular girl to be sponsored?

1. Because her mother deserted the family and hasn't returned, dad is an alcoholic and works far from home, granddad is old and has no income, auntie works the rice fields and can only manage to feed the three of them.

2. Because she is too young and not ready to leave home and work, like all her sisters and brothers did.

3. Because she is the only one in the family who has the potential to graduate from high school and get a job that will support herself and her aunt and granddad.

4. Because she deserves to be educated and wants to be!

cef.vn.usa@gmail.com
Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam
www.cef-vietnam-usa.org (US website)


Friday, September 8, 2017

CEF's board of directors in the USA

It's wonderful to have people on the board who are really interested and really care about the work CEF does in Vietnam, who think positively, creatively and are multi-skilled and experienced in many relevant fields.  
This important support is a blessing which I am very grateful for whether face to face for our AGM or by email or phone.  

Ngoc's start to her work day on Friday

Friday was the birthday of one of our CEF staff, Ms Ngoc, who is a valuable staff member of four years.

She is engaged to be married and her fiancé and her met up at a local café before work and he presented her with a huge bouquet of sunflowers. What a wonderful way to start a birthday!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

She hasn't forgotten being left

 
Although she was a tiny little girl at the time, she has never forgotten being left by her mother, who never returned for her.

Fortunately her elderly grandparents have been able to care for her and shower her with love. Even though she shortly will be graduating from high school she still talks about her mother leaving her and not coming back to get her.

Luckily she has been sponsored since she started school which has meant she has been able to have an education. Granny has poor health and can't walk easily and granddad sells lottery tickets to pay for their food, but he can't earn enough for her education.

She dreams of a university education and a good income so she can then help look after her grandparents, who have been 'parents' to her for most of her life.


If interested in sponsoring or donating towards the University Education Fund please get in touch:
cef.vn.usa@gmail.com


Saturday, September 2, 2017

An interesting letter from a grade nine CEF student to her sponsor

...My family and I are fine. How about you? I hope you had a warm Xmas and a lucky new year. Last week, I felt so tired because I just had a very difficult examination and I had to spend lots of time to prepare for it and I tried my best. Now, I am already back to normal study days at school.
Oh, I forget to tell you about my happiness at the beginning of this letter. I had a trip to visit my brother in Hue two months ago. I still remember how wonderful that day was. It was my first visit to Hue and my father took me on his motorbike. It’s a very long way but I enjoyed the scenery very much. I saw many interesting things along the road. I saw the beautiful sea, the huge mountain in the other side and the nice cloud above our heads. In Hue, we saw the Huong river, we went down under the shade of the many green trees and saw the colorful flowers along the road. My brother picked us up and took us to visit some famous places in the old city. There, I saw a horse, I touch him but I couldn’t ride him because I was too scared. Then, we went to my brother’s room. It’s a small room but comfortable. We stayed there one day and went home the next morning. Hue is an ancient capital city with many historical places and beautiful sightseeing to do. I wish I could visit it again. Then, my family was very happy to see my brother ten days ago when he returned home to visit us. We cooked, ate, watched TV, and listened to music together. When he left, I was so sad. I miss him and want to see him very much. But don’t worry about me as everything is all good and my family is, too. I hope you and your family are all well, too.
Oh, I wrote too much. I should end my letter here and I should go to bed because it’s very late now and tomorrow I have to wake up early to go to school.
I am looking forward to hearing from you soon......

An interesting letter from one of our CEF grade nine students to her sponsor

In Vietnam letter writing skills are not part of their education therefore most of our students neither write much nor share about their lives. One of our CEF students wrote a very open, interesting letter to her sponsor recently.
How are you and your family? How is the weather in your home town now? In my hometown, the weather has become erratic this summer.
This summer I took a vocational training course once a week. It’s very strange that I sometimes feel bored when I have to go to school every day during the school year, however, I really want to go to school in the summer holiday because I feel more bored at home and miss school, teachers and friends.  I love studying and learning. All the children in my village also have the same feelings like me. This summer, I also helped local students with their studies at home by teaching them new lessons they needed to learn. They then didn’t need to pay teachers for extra tuition. The children enjoyed my lessons and I enjoyed teaching them too. People in my village often joked and called me ‘little teacher’ and that made me feel quite happy. Another great thing happened this summer and that is my family went out together to have dinner out. That was the first time we all have ever had dinner outside the home and it felt so great so do that! I could feel happiness all around us. During this summer I also had a chance to join the District Youth Camping for the best students in our district. I made many new friends and had a lot unforgettable memories with them. During the camping, we played many games and activities as well as taking part in competitions between students from different communes of our district. Our commune’s target was to get the 4th prize but we got the 3rd prize! All the students in my commune and I were so happy and felt proud of ourselves. I hope I have a chance to have that amazing experience again.
Although my letter is quite long now, I still have many stories that I want to tell you.  July 24th was my 14th birthday and it was the best birthday that I have had. This was the first time my family held a birthday party for me. My mother bought me a little birthday cake. I also received some little gifts from my family and my best friends. I was so happy and really enjoyed that sweet party. Three days later, I joined the Youth Club in our community. In the evening of the July 27th, we went to our district War Martyrs’ Cemetery to burn incense and remember all the people who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and peace. In the dark of night, many little lights were burned making the cemetery look so warm and beautiful. It’s so nice that I can do some little things for those people, our heroes. I feel proud of all our heroes and my country.
My letter now is too long and I should finish my letter. I hope you and your family also have an interesting, sweet and happy summer like I did.
(Translated by CEF staff) 




Friday, September 1, 2017

An exceptional CEF sponsor


 We have a few sponsors sponsoring 3 children at the same time, and we have had a few sponsoring 5, but this amazingly kind and generous man is sponsoring 9 children at the same time!

As some of them live far from the CEF office we don't see them often and we don't take sponsors to see them either, so he had only met the children he sponsors who live within 45 minutes of the CEF office. This year he got to meet the ones he hadn't yet met and that was a treat for all of them.  

 

The children and their families have been most grateful for his support as they all have challenging situations. The father of one of the girls fell off a roof and has brain damage. He now can sit up and say a few words, but it is unlikely he will improve any more than that as it is now 3 years since the accident. Mum farms but can't afford her daughters' education. Another girl lost her mother a couple of years ago to cancer and dad has poor health, but with the help of his brother manages to farm. He can't do more than that due to his health but also because he has a child with Down's Syndrome who is at home all the time and he has to look after her unless his daughter is home.  
  

  One father had a stroke and can walk and talk a little, but has made very little progress in the last three years. Her mother makes street food to sell at the market. One mother has cancer and is slowly passing away and dad is not strong and finds the odd job here and there.


Another father became deaf overnight and no one knows why and the tests don't tell us why as well.  No one will employ him because he is dead. His wife works in a shoe factory to support the family of four. The mother of one of the girls is in the final stages of renal failure and has no income as she is on dialysis most of the time. Dad was a criminal and no one knows where he is. So when mum is in hospital she just lives with her elderly granddad who also has no income. They live off donations and gifts of food. Another little girl lost her father a few years ago and mum does whatever work there is that she can do while the children are at school.

Although their lives are hard, they are all lovely children and grateful for what they have got in their lives and are especially grateful for their education sponsorships as without that help they would not be in school due to the low or non-existent income of their families.

The lotus represents the potential of the CEF girls who live in poverty


The lotus is just like the girls we work with at CEF in Vietnam.

It is an exquisite flower with medicinal seeds, yet it's health-giving deep roots are growing deep down in the mud.

The girls come from poor families, some come from generations of families who know nothing except grinding poverty. Their homes and shacks are basic, their circumstances often unbearable.

Each girl has potential, the possibility of flowering and doing well in school, graduating and being a shining example in their community. They can blossom and be an expression of the difference education can make, become a truly good and useful person in their community and country, bursting free from the cycle of poverty their family may have known for generations.  

Therefore to me the lotus perfectly represents the girls we work with at CEF.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's wonderful that this CEF student has a sponsor to help her study law


She comes from a poor community up near the Vietnam-Laos border where few students graduate from high school with good grades, where very few go onto university and where there are not many work opportunities.  This young lady has thought about her future for some years, about what would give her a good income and allow her to live and work near her parents so she can help look after them as they age.

Today I learned the exciting news that she has a sponsor to support her to study law and now she can fulfil her dream of becoming a lawyer.

At her university those studying Law will choose the specific type of law in the final year (year four) based on which department / field they will work. She said she wants to choose Administrative Law because she can then can work in her hometown. Firstly, she will apply to the people committee office as a officer, then if she has the skills they require she would then be promoted to the court of the district and become a local court lawyer. 

She has many employment opportunities as one can see from her university’s training objectives:
The Faculty has, since its foundation, trained a large number of bachelor graduates majoring in administrative law to meet the human resources requirements of the State’s administrative agencies such as the People's Committees at all levels, professional departments under the People's Committees and the law enforcement agencies such as the People's Court , People's Procuracy, law offices,  local and international law firms, and Human Resources departments in companies.

She has chosen wisely and we are sure she will do well as she is hard-working and did well in school. We look forward to seeing her fulfil her dream of becoming a lawyer.   

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An education makes a big difference to a girl, it gives choices

When poverty is the reason for not attending school, it is a bleak picture for the girl as she will have little choice about her future. The girl is very likely to end up doing what her mother does whether rice farming, collecting garbage or recyclable materials, sweeping streets or selling drinks in a small homemade stall outside their home.

An education gives her choices. The standard to work for a factory has increased and it is essential to be a high school graduate. That may be the worst job she can do after completing high school.  But as awful as that may sound she will receive benefits and a regular income. She has the chance to better herself too with hard work and sometimes may be requested to do some further studies with both giving her a higher income and more 'status'.

A girl with a university education has even more choices, an endless variety as long as she didn't study something that there is no need for.

At present we have many students in need of sponsorship with some needing university sponsorships. The first four girls below need university sponsorships and the last four need school sponsorships.

If you would like to take on a sponsorship for school or for university please get in touch: cef.vn.usa@gmail.com



   





Thursday, August 17, 2017

This CEF student is in need of a sponsor for the remaining four years of school


V needs a committed sponsor for her to continue her education and complete the last four years as her father can't earn enough to cover this cost. Mum has died, dad has poor health and works when well enough. To find work he has to travel to a large city as where he lives in the countryside there is rarely any work.

When dad goes away she has to look after herself, with various relatives from the area staying the night with her, so she is not alone at night. When dad goes away to work she is very sad although she knows it is essential to do that to afford their food and household bills.

V's sponsorship for 2017-2018 is US$320. We hope you can sponsor her and if so please get in touch: cef.vn.usa@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

One of our CEF students is in need of a sponsor to take them through university


K wishes to study Chain Supply Management, which seems a practical and realistic choice, but she needs a sponsor to help her to be able to attend university.
She was thrilled to get accepted at the university of her choice and to do the course of her choice.  It's a university with a very good reputation. K wants to find a good job in a reputable company in Da Nang city after graduation.  
During this summer holiday to help cover her personal costs while going to university, she has been working in a local 'com' rice restaurant.
K was born into a poor family of 6 and is lucky to have parents. Her family home is in Phuoc Son district, a mountainous area in Quang Nam near the Vietnam-Laos border.
In 2012, they had a new small concrete house built with funding provided by the Labour Union of Quang Nam province. Once they had a stable home they were removed from the 'Poor Household' list and moved to 'Nearly Poor Household' list which means although they are poor, they now only have free medical insurance.
Her father works as a security man for the Education Department of the District. He earns US$150 monthly. After working there, he comes home to farm. Her mother is a farmer. Although she has high blood pressure, she still works very hard. She plants rice for eating and grows vegetables for the family and for selling. Most days, she can earn about US$5 from selling vegetable at the local market.
Her parents didn't complete secondary school but they believe that a good education will give  their children a better future so they try their best to support their children’s education. They don't earn enough to send their youngest two daughters, who are twins, to university, K being one of them.
Although K is saving to cover her personal costs and will work while at university, and her parents will get a loan to cover her accommodation costs, she still needs a sponsor to cover her university fees, related charges and study supplies. She only needs a sponsorship of US$400 each year for 4 years.
Please get in touch if you can help her: cef.vn.usa@gmail.com 

Proud CEF parents


Sometimes we feel like the parents of our CEF children. When they overcome obstacles, do well in school or at something challenging we feel very proud of them.

At present we have many students who have recently graduated from high school which we are thrilled about. They all have challenging family situations and to make it this far is a wonderful achievement and we are very proud of them all.

 One girl stands out.  T has had a challenging life and childhood. She and her mother lived in a shack in the countryside where men tried to break in at night, then they moved and built a shack on the edge of Hoi An where mum felt safer. The government gave them a small grant and they borrowed some money and were then able to build a very small solid home. Her mother has done whatever she can to earn money and for many years did heavy labouring work until her health started to suffer. Since then she has made rice porridge, made small lanterns with brightly coloured threads and tried raising a sow, enabling her to have a small income, but not enough to put her daughter through school.


T has been sponsored by a kind sponsor through Go Philanthropic, enabling her to continue and finish her education. They are most grateful for this support which enabled her to continue her education but also take extra tuition sessions and summer English lessons last year.

She has done very well in her final year, final exams and her university entrance exams. She has not only been accepted to possibly the best university in Vietnam, but also has been given two grants for the four years of studies which mean she does not need to worry about any aspect of her education.

That is quite an achievement from a girl who could have easily surrendered to a life like her mothers, but we are so happy to say she didn't. Being sponsored was a big part of the picture enabling her to receive a good education with the extra educational support she needed, but also her strong spirit is part of the picture too. It's been wonderful and heart-warming to see her do so well and become a lovely well-educated young lady.  University starts in three weeks and she is preparing for the move to and change of living in a large city.

We are very happy about her success and very proud of her and wish her well with the next stage in her education and life.
 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

School is starting soon and CEF has many students in need of scholarships

School starts soon and we have committed to helping many girls from near the Vietnam-Laos border to staying in high school, but to keep our commitment we need people like you to help them. US$200, approximately the cost of five dinners out for one, will keep one of them in school for another year. At this stage in their lives this makes a huge difference.

Why:
Minority tribes are targeted by traffickers as most parents and grandparents of the girls are uneducated
Near the border the girls are vulnerable to being trafficked
Illegal marriage at 14 or 15 is normal
Having first babies at 14 or 15 is considered normal too
Carrying on the family tradition of farming is expected by most families although they themselves can't make ends meet and support their children
Alcoholism is a problem due to the sad situation of poverty generation after generation
Most are trying to keep it together on a day to day basis and they can't see into the future and what is possible
Their children need the opportunity to complete high school, then they are more employable and they have managed by then to avoid a lot of the above happening to them
 
Below are photos of few of the many girls in need of a scholarship. Please get in touch if you would like to take out a scholarship. cef.vn.usa@gmail.com



  


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Time with our newest board member

CEF's newest board member, Robert, lives up in the beautiful Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts.
We had some valuable time together discussing many aspects of CEF. His experience in management, NGO work, living in a developing country, and being on boards is valuable and the meetings together were extremely beneficial. I feel very grateful to have him on our board.

 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Budgeting Workshops

Twice a year  and sometimes more we run simple half day budgeting sessions for a few CEF students at a time enabling us to work with them individually on their university budgets.

We believe it is crucial for our high school graduates and university students to have a grasp of financial literacy as without it they can not manage their money and can't manage to make their funds last while in university. We have had students be so cautious that they lived off instant noodles and vegetables and consequently they have no problem with making their funds last. On the other hand some have seen delicious street food in the streets near by their accommodation and instead of cooking have dined well and been puzzled when their funds have run out.

In the sessions they mainly learn through shopping games and then apply those principles to their personal budgets for university. Some easily grasp budgeting and others don't. Some students are invited to attend the workshops more than once to help them deepen their understanding of budgeting.




Photos are from the most recent July Budgeting Workshop

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A few photos of Hoi An and near by to give a sense of the area

CEF is based three miles out of Hoi An ancient town. Many of the students in our sponsorship program live in Hoi An, or on the outskirts and not far away.

Here are a few local photos to give you a sense of the area.


Along Bach Dang street in Hoi An town
Afternoon street food in Hoi An  

Local artist painting along the river front in Hoi An

Breakfast food seller in Hoi An

 Outside of Hoi An where the main river going through Hoi An meets the ocean

 Watering scallions at a local vegetable garden
Thinning scallions at a local vegetable garden




Monday, July 24, 2017

Life Skills Workshop on Communication Skills

CEF recently ran a Life Skills Workshop on 'Communication Skills', which was most successful.
This important workshop was possible due to financial support from Go Philanthropic. We at CEF are most grateful as are our Quang Nam and Da Nang high school and university students who thoroughly enjoyed the day as well as finding it very useful. 

We were fortunate to have a wonderful teacher for the day, Ms Huyen, who was from Blue Dragon Children's Foundation. She has experience in teaching this subject, but also knows how to retain the interest of the students by including many enjoyable games that showed what she was talking about.

The students worked in groups and took turns in presenting group decisions and ideas. They worked on verbal communication, communication by body language, non verbal cooperation as well as social media communication especially about Facebook.

As Facebook is the means by which a lot of human trafficking takes place these days we felt it was crucial to have the students fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of using Facebook and how they can use it wisely. Games, role play and discussions were used to understand this crucial communication method.

We are very grateful for the support from Blue Dragon Children's Foundation for sharing their wonderful Ms Huyen who ran this excellent day.

I was very happy with our hard-working staff who planned, helped and managed the day as well as the help of the three dynamic joyful volunteers.

Big thanks to all who helped and supported us to run this day.        

Untangling without verbal communication

One of our university students presenting the work of her group

Students listening to Ms Huyen, from Blue Dragon Children's Foundation who was their
teacher for the day

Lining up according to foot size, but it had to be organized without talking

Doing group work

Students, staff and volunteers with Ms Huyen, their teacher of the day