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