Sunday, December 22, 2013

CEF has 501(c)(3) status allowing your end of year gifts or sponsorships to be tax-deductible

As the holiday season approaches fast many are considering end of year donations and gifts with a difference. In case you didn't know we have tax-deductible status.

We always have girls who need education sponsors; these sponsorships cover all the costs of a very poor Vietnamese girls education, allowing her to have a much better future with greater choices.We also help with medical costs when their health is poor, we help with food when there is not enough.

Donations can go to what you wish your funds to go to. Or if you wish they can go into our very needed general funds. These funds cover a range of costs such as as bikes for the children in our programs, staffing, transport costs of the children in our programs who need to medical care to get them to clinics or hospitals, or for transport costs so we can visit the children regularly to check on their education, health and living situation.

All support of CEF and our education work in Vietnam is appreciated and does make a difference!
We have 501(c)(3) status (Internal Revenue Code).  
Please consult your accountant regarding the tax- deductible eligibility of your gift.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Snippets of letters to her sponsor

Do you ever think about what you really wish for in your life  right now? Personally, I wish I could go back to the past.  I used to have parents and so enjoyed the time when all the family members had dinner together. I do know that it is impossible for that to become true now and anytime; I just wanted to share something that is in my mind with you.
Thanks to your help and encouragement, I now have enough good conditions, as well as the motivation to study better and better. I deeply express my gratefulness to you.
Now, I am in grade 12. It means that I have to choose a university to apply for soon. I wonder which university is good for me?
I may stop my career dream and find another university which is more suitable for my family’s economic conditions. I live off my paternal grandparents; I must obey them and respect their opinion. Therefore, I am hesitating now because I am very keen on pursuing my dream, however, I am not allowed to, and more seriously, I really have to give up my dream for ever.

I feel very sorry about failing the entrance exams for university. I have no one to blame because it is my fault. I made my grandparents, you and anyone who cares for me disappointed. I feel ashamed it is my fault. When I found out my results, I could not believe them, but I have to learn how to accept reality.
I applied for several jobs in factories, like factories to make shoes, but all of the factories refused my application form due to my age. I am not old enough to have a job and they do not want to pay a fine for hiring children under 18. I felt powerless.
However, my family members, Ms Linda and CEF staff gave me a lot of care, encouragement and advice to persevere and continue to study and that was so helpful. It was the motivation for me to make up my mind to continue and try again.
The last day of summer vacation has gone and I know that I have to stand up on my own and overcome any obstacles or challenges which are waiting for me. I will choose the right road to go down and I believe that I can do well.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Adaptability is essential in Vietnam

Vietnamese are amazingly adaptable; I greatly admire this quality. To live here one has to be adaptable whether Vietnamese or 'Western'.

This long thin country with the coast hugging its whole length, and with its numerous waterways, is very vulnerable to typhoons, tropical storms and floods.

In my local town Hoi An, most buildings were built with a hatch and a pulley on the second floor to originally pull up products for storage as it was a trading town and a busy port in the past. These hatches are used now to pull up furniture through when it floods. The newer buildings, and renovated building don't have these hatches and require carrying everything up to the mezzanine or second floor; a tedious, but essential process which some businesses and homes have had to do three times in the last two months. Sometimes the flooding is so bad that the flood waters even reach there; fortunately this is rare, but this week was the case for some businesses and homes in Hoi An.

When the market floods as was the case over the last few days, work continues whether there is flooding or not; they just move to another street that isn't flooded. 

 The homes and businesses on the water front suffered the most in our town, on both Hoi An side, on An Hoi and on Cam Nam islands that are adjacent to Hoi An.

In Hoi An after each flood, household items that are damaged are put out on the street and are cleared away within hours. The system is perfect, because flooding is such a normal occurrence. Within two days of major flooding you would never know it happened.

In the countryside around Hoi An, and in the mountains near by the poorest people live very vulnerable lives; often living in flood zones. Regular flooding is normal for them. They accept that they will lose a few days quite often through rainy season to deal with flooding at their homes.

The government does very well at notifying us of possible flooding. When we know of flooding that is due everyone prepares and the most vulnerable are evacuated to higher and safer accommodation, community halls or schools. Unfortunately occasionally not all in the low populated and isolated areas get this warning and help and they suffer the most.

The biggest challenge for all of us is when the dams release water without word getting around that it will happen, or getting to us as they do it. The release of dam water can cause a very rapid rise in water, causing unexpected and very bad flooding. The government does not fine them sufficient enough fines for them not to do this. This is what makes it a very precarious life for all of us, but especially for some of the poor. There is notification more these days, so word is getting out to most of us before it occurs. But what is sad is that those in more isolated areas don't get this last minute information, making it impossible for them to be prepared and to get to somewhere safer,  and sometimes results in fatalities unfortunately.

Today you would not know a flood took place over the weekend; everyone is back at work as the flood waters receded last night and everyone has washed away the mud left behind from their homes, front yards and the path or road in front of their home and thrown away anything that can't be repaired.

The photos were taken by many local friends from my home town over the last few days of flooding.

Pictures tell a story; these are of Ngoc

'Pictures tell a story', so I hope these pictures help you to know Ngoc who is a wonderfully bright, caring, compassionate, adaptable young woman. I feel most fortunate to have her working full time with us.

                                                          Doing home visits on a bike
 There weren't enough chairs as often is the case
                                                  Sometimes babysitting is part of the job
                                                      Showing a book to one of our girls
                                           One of our families lives next to a railway line
                           Stopping to see the dam while doing home visits in the mountains
                               Gorgeous flowers in the front yard of one of 'our families' homes

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Donations making a difference; three girls are in school

Donations make a difference! A big thank you to my friend and her friends who made a difference! Lynette simply asked her friends to donate to CEF via PayPal, and over a few days funds rolled in. Those donations have enabled three girls to go to school. Thank you to you Lynette, and to your friends for their wonderful support and for 'making a difference' to the lives of 3 girls and their families.

Girls from poor communities often leave home early to look for work in the big cities. They risk being trafficked into the sex industry or into forced labor in factories or enslaved as domestic servants and expected to fulfill all the households 'needs'. The girls your funds have helped are at risk as they are all from very poor families in a countryside farming community. 

Chang comes from a large family and her parents have a very low income. They are rice farmers in northern Vietnam. Their rice crops feed them, but for cash they grow some vegetables and dad does local building work when there is some, and plays in a band at both weddings and funerals; the music sounds exactly the same for both. They still can’t make ends meet.
Chang is in secondary school, in grade 8 this year and is a bright girl with an average of 8/10. She loves math.
We have allocated some of the funds to help her through this year of school while we look for a sponsor for the remaining 4 years of her schooling.

Lieu is from a large and poor farming family. We decided to help Lieu as her sister, Huong who is bright, refuses to do any vocational training or college studies due to her sense of responsibility to support her very poor family. If we help her sister it naturally reduces the financial stress for the family. Now Huong also has promised to do vocational training next year allowing her to have a much better income than the poorly paid factory job she is doing at present.  
Lieu has just moved up to high school, into grade 10. She enjoys literature but finds most subjects challenging. Unfortunately Lieu Is not bright, making it even more important that she completes school. Her options if she drops out of school otherwise are early marriage and motherhood, garbage collecting, or being a dog’s body for a building team as no decent work is possible for an underage employee.
We have allocated some of the funds to cover her costs this year and hope to find her a sponsor for the last two years of her education.

Phai who is a healthy and happy girl, is from a poor farming family. Fortunately their home is stable and strong although old; it was constructed when her parents were married about 20 years ago.
Dad can’t work due to poor health and eyesight. The family income rests on the mother’s shoulders and fortunately she is strong and healthy enough to do all the farming, but just can’t earn enough for Phai’s education. Although they have a low income, mum is practical and down to earth and careful with their income.
Phai has moved into high school this year, into grade 10. She likes literature and math and is a moderately good student.
We have allocated some of the funds to cover her costs this year and hope to find her a sponsor for the last two years of her education.

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In-Country Director - Vietnam

Children Education Foundation - Vietnam
For donations or sponsorship payments: PayPal is on both the blog and website

Friday, November 1, 2013

Phuc Le girls CEF was able to help due to a generous donation

Donations really make a difference and I wanted to share this so you can see an example of the difference they do make.

We were visiting a poor poor community and were told 11 girls needed help as they were all from very poor families wo could not afford their education, and could we interview them and help them TODAY. We had some basic info on them and had just enough time to do further interviews on each girl. In my mind we would find sponsors and then help them knowing for sure they each had someone who would help them through their education.

Then I remembered a donation I had received and realized that would enable me to help the 11 girls NOW!

Here are the 11 who will all need a sponsors next year, but for now they are in school and have some educational support for this year.  Donations really are a true blessing!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Educational sponsors needed for these 6 girls and 1 boy to ensure they get an education this year - please consider helping one

From my perspective I see poverty increasing in Vietnam, partly due to the inflation of living costs and salaries not increasing sufficiently.

The poor families we know, work more hours and days, to the degree they can't work any more, and even are working when ill. They just can't earn enough.

The requests CEF is receiving for educational support for children is increasing, with us receiving many in the last few months.

The children's situations vary hugely; here are some examples:
One mother left her children and dad dead recently leaving them orphans and under the care of relatives who can't afford their education.

Two children have lost one parent due to AIDS and the other is dying; they now live with grandparents who really can't afford their education.

One dad died recently and mum who is a garbage collector can't afford her three children's education.

One dad died recently leaving mum with three children and his parents to care for; she can't easily work as dad's parents are elderly and in poor health.

One child committed suicide due to knowing her parents could not afford her education, but as she was exceptionally bright they had borrowed heavily to keep her in school, but got to a stage they could not borrow any more funds. It was too much for her. There are other children in this family whose education can't be afforded.

Another dad died leaving mum with three children to educate; she can't afford all their educational costs.

One family borrowed to start a small business, but it failed and now have lost their home, as they can't earn enough to pay off the debt. They can't afford their children's education.

There are many more stories and many more children we would love sponsored but I would love to start with these 7.

Below are some children we would love sponsored in the next few weeks so we can guarantee they have an education this year.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

As soon as possible we need an especially caring sponsor for two girls whose sister committed suicide

The sponsor or sponsors needed for these two girls need to be willing to put an effort into supporting these two girls long term.

Their sister committed suicide recently. One is so traumatized she can hardly speak. The other seems to be coping well and is a bouncy little girl; but who knows really. The parents aren't coping.

The sponsor or sponsors need to be willing to commit long term to their education and the relationship.

The eldest is in grade 11 this year; her sponsorship is $300 for the year, it will be $300 next year also.

The younger girl is in grade 5 this year and her sponsorship for the year is $200. Next year it will be $250 for the that year and the following one.

The sponsor (s) need to be willing to write a letter about every 3-4 months; they will be translated. Letters can be about anything you want as long as it is appropriate (your family, your pets, your work, your environment, the autumn, the spring, etc.) but it needs to express care and support each time. Questions about the suicide must not be asked. If they want to tell you about it that is fine, but please don't ask.

It is important that it will not be expected that the girls to write back. We hope they will but will not push it at all. The point is they need as much loving care as can be shown to them as possible, now and long term.

We will provide yearly school results, and an update on each girl, and photos as with all sponsorships.

I know the right sponsor are out there! If you feel you can do this then please write to us and we can provide more details:

If in the States or Canada please write to
If in Australia or New Zealand or Europe please use this email address:

Thank you so much,

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In Country Manager

Hoi An home visits to children in our education sponsorship program - by Hieu

It was a hot and muggy Saturday when we did home visits to 25 children in Hoi An. As all of the children do not live close to each other it took a while to get to each child’s home. We had to start early so that all children could be visited and lend books from our mobile library.

As scheduled, we were at Hien’s house at 11am to visit and have an update about Hien’s progress at school as well as her granny and her mother’s health situation.  The visit went very well and Hien proudly showed us her school results and her merit certificates.

We felt so happy that Hien’s mother’s condition was a bit better compared to her condition on our last visit.  Thanks to the medical support from CEF, the pain from her chronic stomach-ache and ovarian cancer was much relieved. 

What made us surprised and touched was the kindness and sincerity of Hien’s family.  As our visit to them was near lunchtime, they were afraid that we would be hungry, so they had silently prepared lunch for 3 of us.
Even though we were offered lunch with Hien’s family we had to say ‘”sorry” and follow our plan to see some more children. The heartfelt goodness of Hien’s family made our long day’s work feel lighter as our hearts were warmed.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Girls in need of sponsors on 'International Day of the Girl Child', 11 October

Would you like to sponsor a girl for the remainder of her education, one year at a time?

Today is 'International Day of the Girl Child' and we happen to have completed many interviews of children in need of educational support recently. Each girl needs help for her to receive an education.

We have girls with ill parents, girls with parents who just can't earn enough to educate their girls, girls with parents but they are no longer taking care of them, girls with one parent, girls from large poor families; basically we have many girls who need a sponsor. We have girls far away in isolated areas and some closer to our office, some easy to see and some not; but they all need help. 15 of our girls in need of sponsors can be seen below.

Sponsorships vary from $200-$300 a year
Please let us know if you would love to sponsor a girl to be educated: (for Americans and Canadians) or (for Australians or New Zealanders)