Monday, October 5, 2020
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
All these students have been sponsored by Go Philanthropic Foundation with all of them coming from challenging situations. Just a few examples of their challenges are that there is serious mental illness in three of the families, one mother has brain cancer, one girl has two parents who are blind, ten of the 19 only have one uneducated parent with a very limited earning capacity. They are not letting their circumstances hold them back and are doing their best at school!
Each year the numbers are less as they are all growing up, graduating from high school, going off to work or attending vocational training before a job. Some are continuing their education and receiving a university education. The family gets smaller, but the results bigger!
Go Philanthropic has been incredibly supportive and each year has helped to support our education programs as well such as Water Safety Day, Human Trafficking Workshops and Girls to Women (Female Health and Hygiene) Workshops. These workshops are meaningful and the students really appreciate learning subjects they need to know about for their safety and health.
Go Philanthropic has been helping us to enable these students to mature with support, be educated and have the opportunity to break the poverty cycle. This is huge and wonderful support which we at CEF and the children greatly appreciate!
Saturday, August 15, 2020
My name is Thuong and I come from a poor northern village in Vietnam. I graduated from college in 2014, majoring in Hotel and Tourism Management. It has been a long time since the last time I contacted CEF. By accident, I saw photos on social media including me, when I was a little girl which Ms Linda had taken when I was sponsored by CEF to go to school, then onto college.
I still remember the time when I first met Ms Linda and Ms Thao – CEF’s volunteer and coordinator. I was in secondary school at that time, was skinny and shy. My face became beet red really easily whenever I looked at someone's face. I was so quiet and shy at that time. Fortunately, CEF and Ms Linda cared for me and gave me an opportunity to receive sponsorship to continue my education.
I lived with my maternal grandparents when I was little until I finished high school because my parents worked in the South. They just visited my grandparents and me on Tet holidays and in summer vacations. I was so delighted when they returned home, bringing home nice clothes and candies. When living with my grandparents, I saw them working really hard on farms to make ends meet and keep me in school. Therefore, it was a huge financial gift for me and my family when CEF helped me to pay my school fees during my secondary schooling, my high school years and then helped me to complete a college course. It was the first time I had heard of this NGO and Ms Linda, who was willing to help me and support me whenever I faced any difficulties in life although she was not one of my family members.
How time flies! The little shy girl now has become a young woman who is nearly 28. It has been about 10 years since I first knew about studying Hospitality Management at college and then having it as a career. I was very curious and interested in this career when my uncle talked to me about tourism and his hotel. I was so curious when I saw many beautiful photos of hotels, food and drink on TV advertisements. That attracted me and made me dream of studying and working in this career although I knew this job would have a lot of difficulties and I had to put lots of effort into gaining experience to work in big hotels, even just for part-time work.
I was so lucky that I had a caring sponsor – Mr Stephen, and I still remember the second time I met him in Hanoi. I was in my last year at college and he did encourage me by telling me an inspiring story. He told me a story of his friend who also worked in tourism. He started at the lowest position in a hotel and did try his best to become a manager. That motivated me a lot and made me more determined to be successful in the subject I had chosen to study. My sponsor also remembered the first time he met me when I was just a little shy girl. I also remember French fries when I had dinner with Ms Linda and my sponsor. All of the care from my sponsor and CEF besides sponsorship made me feel I was a lucky girl. I will never forget and will always be very grateful for the great support you gave me and my family.
It has been six years already since the day I graduated from college. Although I don’t work directly in hotels or restaurants, I am working for a tour agency in Hanoi which is related to my field of studies. Hotels and restaurants are our partners. Finally, I attained my goals, working in tourism and I travel to many beautiful places. The important things I have learnt during my work time is confidence and financial independence. I am more confident in communication and also can help my parents now as well as support my bother with his studies in Hanoi.
As I am working in tourism, my work was affected by COVID19. I was off work for a few months and this was the first time I understood about unemployment since I graduated from college. I was confused about my future and what I should do during this difficult time. So, I applied to work in a different area. I was an officer for a college in Hanoi, working in the department of International Communication. My work was taking the students to other universities and vocational training centers so that they had a better understanding of the subjects they wanted to learn. The work required travelling by car a lot and carsickness is my biggest challenge. I worked there for a month and then stopped because I couldn’t stand being carsick so often. Although it was a short term job, it was worth trying something different. I found out that I love my job and feel I am only suitable for working in tourism. I went back to work for a tour agency after the first wave of COVID19 and feel so excited every day when I work, although I know that it is a very difficult time for tourism now due to COVID19.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Thursday, July 30, 2020
They were angry with me as they believed I had removed the possibility of their daughters earning a good salary and supporting them. I was surprised and sad when I was told this when I returned to the village a few weeks later. I had saved their daughters lives and yet they couldn’t see that at all and consequently were angry with me due to no imagined forthcoming wealth.
When I was there the prior time I had found out that some of the young teenage girls from the village were planning on going off together to excellent well paid jobs in Ho Chi Minh City. I knew immediately that the tricksters had been to the village. Well-dressed women adorned with gold jewelry went to ethnic villages and promised work to the young women who were unemployed and a financial burden to their families. The wealth the women displayed of course gave weight to their request.
The girls were due to leave the following day, so there was excitement in the village when I arrived. My friend was thrilled to tell me of the good fortune of these families. When I strongly made my stance and insisted my friend went and visited each of the families to let them know about the tricksters and what their goals could be, and to beg them not to let their daughters go to HCM City, she felt bad as she knew no one would want to hear this bad news.
She was successful in persuading them, but they now all felt anger, which was aimed at me. Although upset that they couldn’t see that their daughters were more precious and important than the money, I felt relieved that my friend had been successful in persuading the families to not send their daughters away to an unknown and potential frighteningly and degrading future that could end in death.
Covid is already and further will change the world dramatically. It has been a huge blow to progress in reducing trafficking and poverty according to Matt Friedman of the Mekong Club, who talked at the Asia Region Anti-Trafficking Conference recently. He said that we have lost ground in reducing modern slavery and that the 15 year advancement we had made, has gone! There are now 42 million people in slavery and 62% of them are in Asia!
Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, a Hanoi based NGO concentrates on prevention and rescues. According to them due to Covid-19 some trafficking rescues in Vietnam were delayed over the last six months, some were still possible thankfully, but the victims had to go into quarantine for two weeks. Not ideal at all considering the victims already are traumatized and need emotional and psychological help.
Matt shared a sad fact that families who are really poor are surrendering their children, including very young girls, more than ever before and are selling them off to brothels and traffickers, as they can’t afford to feed them. A positive is that some brothels are sending girls home as they don’t have enough customers and have growing debt.
Matt said that all communities will be affected, prices of most things will go up along with spending going down. There is a lot of uncertainly for factories, factory owners and employees. Manufacturing is no longer a smooth process as some parts aren’t being made and delivery of parts are delayed. Orders are slow in coming in, some have none and orders are often cancelled even when the manufacturing is in process. Some factories found the only way to survive and for people not to get ill was to ask the staff to live at the factory , but they had to make a rule that if they left they could not return and often demanded that they carry out unpaid overtime. It’s another new form of slavery.
Many factories are shutting down or have, most have a reduced work force, with some on reduced salaries and others not paid. As people are desperate for work, they consider working in worse conditions now. Many won’t have enough to keep a roof over their heads and feed their family. With 60-70% of the world’s factory workers being in Asia, this is a serious situation. Very sadly it is forecast that half a billion are slipping into poverty, 2.5 million people will suffer from starvation with around a million will die from Covid. This Covid-19 period in our history is a sad time for all on this planet as it is bringing about more poverty and consequently an increase in trafficking.
(The infographic from Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation shows how Covid-19 is impacting Human Trafficking.www.bluedragon.org)
Saturday, July 4, 2020
‘Since the end of June, my study schedule is less busy than before because I completed my lessons in some subjects. Others will be finished in the third week of this month, but my term 2 examinations will be in the middle of July. At the end of last month, my friend introduced to me a good part-time job in a keychain workshop. I said that it is a good part-time job because I feel happy to work there and it is flexible work. I can come in my free time. And of course, my income is depending on how many key-chains I can make. My job is to make key-chains. There, I have a chance to learn how to design key-chains and how to use the laser cutting machine. It is not a hard job and the staff can eat free ice-cream and drink free coffee in the break-time.
Covid-19 has affected not only my term two studies but also my coming internship. Normally, students can do it in the summer holiday of the third year, but now it will be delayed to term 2 of the final year. My university board also encourages students to go back to their hometown to do their internship. So, I plan to do the internship at the District Court or at the People’s Procuracy of the district. Next year, I have to choose a specific aspect of law to learn. After asking my older sisters and students who are older, I decided to choose ‘administrative law’.