Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Stephen's visit to Vietnam
Many of you will know Stephen Jackel, our USA coordinator. He has been instrumental in many ways; registering CEF Vietnam in New York, doing masses of paperwork to make the tax exempt status come about and he also has encouraged many to sponsor. Stephen also does all the receipting and thank you letters in the States.
Stephen has come over to Vietnam for a short visit. This has been a great opportunity for Stephen to get to know our work, our staff and the Vietnamese children more. We had an evening at CEF where he met all our lovely staff. It was nice for him to see who is carrying out the work here and to see the standard of their work.
He then came on two days of interviews of 22 new children that took place in Danang, Hoi An, Dien Ban and Dai Loc. These children have recently been introduced. He was sad after the interviews, feeling overwhelmed by their hardships that they endure on a daily basis.
He met a single mother who earns $0.15c to $0.25c a day selling beetle nuts when her health allows. He met a granny caring for 3 grandchildren and her disabled daughter with a little help from one of her sons and his wife. One girl needs help as her mum is dying from ovarian cancer and their medical bills and consequently debt is huge. He met one of the families we have been helping for nearly three years now; the mother died when her baby was three months old and dad has been trying to raise his daughter and baby son. We help with her education costs, and we give the family some help with medical bills and food. And there were many more Stephen met over the weekend.
It is just our work to visit and interview those introduced to us. Maybe it's not a good thing, but we are just so used to everyone who is introduced to CEF being very poor. We are just looking at what level of severe poverty they are suffering from, how dire is their situation, and how quickly we need to help their children go to school or stay in school.
As Stephen has not been to Da Lat before I thought he would be interested to see the clinic we built there to provide free medicine and free medical care to the K'Ho community on the outskirts of Da Lat. This clinic was needed as so few children in the community were in school due to poor health. Also many years ago I met K'Dong who is from this community. I care for dearly; she is like a sister. Stephen saw the clinic, the local school and he met K'Dong and many of her family including her four gorgeous children. Stephen took balloons for the children which they loved.
Each time I have visited Da Lat I have found out what supplies the little school in the community needs and we have provided them. It is near the end of the school year and they didn't need much; just some rulers, notebooks, pencils, coloring pencils, pens and crayons. Today we took these supplies to the three classes in the village.
The Red Cross are running the clinic for us and that now has challenges that we need to resolve. In the last big storm some windows were broken and some damage was done to the roof. Repairs clearly are needed. This clinic is the site for all the medical care for the community, so we need to find a way to get it repaired; as it's a cost the Red Cross can't carry.
Tomorrow we are off to Hanoi as Stephens flight leaves from there. It is also a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Mr Chu our northern coordinator for the Phuc Le education program. Stephen will also get to meet his sponsor child who is studying at university in Hanoi. He is looking forward to that!
It's been a quick trip but he has a had a good taster of the work we are doing to help girls stay in school and to have an education so that they have a future with more choices than their own parents.