Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Guest blog - Stephen's thoughts about the Da Nang home visits

Home visits always bring up a mixture of emotions.

There is pride in the accomplishments of the children, whose families lead difficult lives due to poverty and often the absence of one or both parents. There is sadness, too, when, during the detailed interviews conducted by Linda and staff member Ngoc, we learn of new troubles and hardships.

The interviews cover the health of the children and their caregivers, as well as school issues, and the news is not always good. In two homes there were shrines to fathers who had recently died. And one girl, a beautiful, smart child, seemed quite depressed, which is a big problem in a place with no real opportunity for child therapy.

 The best part of the home visits is seeing the shy smiles of the children and their understanding that their lives can be dramatically changed for the better by their opportunity to pursue their education.

It also was inspiring to see parents, who generally have led dire lives, place importance on having their children complete school.  One mother, who has lost a leg to leprosy and dealt with a life of extreme poverty, was reluctant to smile for any photos, but she clearly was strongly committed to her daughter’s education and proud that she was one of the top students in her class.

By Stephen Jackel - Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam's US manager

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