Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sponsorship is always a blessing for each child and sometimes they get treats too!

Every child who is sponsored is blessed. They are able to stay in school and work towards a better future with more choices. Their carer has less stress knowing their child or grandchild is in school and they don't need to worry about their education costs.

Some sponsors go one step further and write to their sponsor child. We translate the letters and pass over the original and the translation. It is always interesting for the child to receive a letter from their sponsor.

Then there are a few who send surprise boxes. These boxes of goodies always delight the child. What a treat to receive useful, but high quality items from overseas!

It always touches me that some people have such huge hearts and don't consider the effort and cost they have to go to to do this. Because they think of the child here first, they create great joy for the child.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

About the recent visit of our US manager in Vietnam

Each year Stephen Jackel, who is CEF’s manager in the USA, visits Vietnam and attends some events; home visits or payment days, or both. Stephen does the receipting and accounts, as well as a lot of the communication with our US donors and sponsors.

Stephen enjoys these visits and has become more involved each year. He is getting to know the staff and the workings of CEF in Vietnam.  He enjoys the home visits but finds some disturbing as the level of poverty and hardship of some of families is hard to bear.  

(This family has a challenging situation as dad fell off the roof and now has partial paralysis and therefore they have lost both incomes as mum has to look after dad)

His visits are important. On payment days they enable Stephen to meet our Vietnamese government partners, but he also gets to see the complete payment process. As well as that he gets to meet some of the children sponsored by people he knows in the US and this enables him to talk about them personally. The visits enable him to talk about the work CEF does in Vietnam and describe the conditions of the families we work with, the despair of some and the joy some express in receiving help, also our criteria and selection process for new families and children, and much more.

We appreciate his commitment to CEF and his efforts in making the long trip from the States to Vietnam each year.  His probing questions and his feedback are important for all of us at CEF too.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

About home visits ~ Guest blog by Stephen Jackel, CEF's US manager

I've been fortunate to be able to return to Vietnam again this year. Yesterday we conducted four home visits to children in the countryside about an hour outside of Hoi An and I was struck by the difference between two of the young girls, whom I'll call Hanh and Linh. Hanh, who is sponsored by a donor in New York, is 10 years old but is small and looks even younger.  She overcame her shyness and chatted with us about school (with the assistance of CEF staff member Quan’s translation) and showed us her notebooks, which contained meticulous notes as well as math charts and diagrams done with coloured pencils.  Although Hanh has grown up in a home without a father, her mother and granny work as subsistence farmers, still the small, sparsely furnished home was a happy one. The mother and granny are warm and affectionate and Hanh is all smiles, obviously smart and doing very well in her classes.  As we left I felt uplifted and optimistic for her future.

Linh's family recently applied for assistance from CEF to keep her in school and this was Linda's second visit to assess her and the family for a sponsorship.  Both parents work as farmers, although the mother injured her knee last year and is laid up after recent surgery.  They had to borrow money for the operation and so their financial situation has become dire, making it very difficult for them to keep their three children in school.  Linh, who is a tall 14-year-old, is a good, though not great student.  For whatever reason, the household is not a happy one and we sensed that her life is difficult.  Linh is shy and quiet, but more responsive than on Linda's first home visit to meet her.  Her application for a sponsorship was approved and we're hoping that the chance to finish her education will give her more opportunities to create a better, and happier, future for herself.
Photo of her and family