Tuesday, June 23, 2015

English Lessons for CEF's Tertiary Students ~ Guest blog by Mai Thi, CEF's US volunteer

Earlier this month, I began English lessons with Kim Thanh, Truong, and Nam, three of CEF's tertiary students. Kim Thanh and Truong have graduated with degrees in tourism and accounting respectively, while Nam is still in university, majoring in architecture. These students want to improve their English in order to strengthen their skills for work and provide them with more opportunities in the future.

Mai-Thi with her tertiary students

Kim Thanh, Truong, and Nam are very eager to learn English. After our first lesson, they had a list of topics that they wanted to learn, making my lesson planning very easy. They don't want to just learn enough English to "get by," but rather have a desire to truly understand the language so that they can use it properly and broaden the number of people they can communicate with.

Mai-Thi's English lesson  with her three tertiary students

Each lesson, they come in with positive minds and maintain a constant drive to learn. When the students don't understand something, they don't hesitate to ask me to clarify, and converse among themselves to make sure that everybody understands the topic. 

In only the four sessions I've spend with them, Kim Thanh, Truong and Nam have made great strides in learning and practicing prepositions, pronouns, and new vocabulary. They have also borrowed English books from the CEF library in order to continue learning on their own time.

In addition to being very intelligent and avid English learners, Kim Thanh, Truong, and Nam are very friendly and caring. Conversing with them is very easy; they love to ask questions about American culture and in turn share information about Vietnamese culture with me. At the Water Safety Day last week, they constantly wanted me to play games with them and swim with them, showing their kind dispositions.

                       Mai-Thi at the 'Water Safety Day' with two of her tertiary students she is teaching

I have no doubt that Kim Thanh, Truong and Nam will continue to improve their English and am excited to be a part of their learning process. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Brian has returned to Australia to a new grandchild and reporting on Phuc Le Education Project

Brian is back in Darwin typing up all the reports on the home visits he very recently did in Phuc Le. He came over to Vietnam just to volunteer, to help with CEF's 'Phuc Le education Program' in Thai Binh Province. This is an annual event for Brian and he loves it! The children are always pleased to see him and seem to consider him another granddad. He even receives small presents from some of them.

Brian at the beach on CEF's 'Water Safety Day' last weekend

After the trip up north he came down to Quang Nam and helped out at our 'Water Safety Day'. Now he has gone home to granddadhood and his little granddaughter is doing well with mum and dad being very tired of course. 

Brian is missing us all as he loves his annual trips here and we all appreciate the work he does and the time he puts into doing all the reports from the long four days of visiting all the children and their families up north. Brian is a wonderful example of a long-term committed volunteer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Book shopping for children in Duy Xuyen

Before a book shopping trip we look at the area we plan to add 'Book Boxes' to. We consider the age of the children we know and see there, whose house or pagoda could be the base for the books where they will be cared for and the lending and returning of books recorded.

The books purchased on this trip

Today's book shopping was for a commune in Duy Xuyen district. One of the CEF family's there has a highly intelligent father who is a paraplegic due to a bad work accident. His eldest child is intelligent too; works hard at school and has wonderful results. She also devours books and so their home is the ideal base for two boxes of books for their community to read.

Today some of the staff traveled to Da Nang City where there is a  huge book shop with a wonderful selection of books. They always spend ages looking for books that will suite many of the children. The books selected are always an interesting mixture; cookbooks, fiction and no fiction, self-development, books by Vietnamese authors and some translations of books by authors overseas.

It's a simple activity but one that gives pleasure to CEF staff  because of their love for learning, but also because they know what joy the books bring to the CEF children.

Thuy looking for books

Kim Chi looking for books

Mai-Thi, our volunteer from the States finding books to help improve her Vietnamese

If we have donations for books, we can go book shopping for the children. If you love reading please support us to share the love of reading and donate to Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam for that specific purpose. Thank you. Linda (Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam)

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sharing the joy of CEF's 'Water Safety Day'

Here are just a few photos to share the joy the children have on 'Water Safety Day'. For me this day is meaningful, not just because it teaching them how to save their life if they fall in the water, but because it is the only day of the year that I see some of the children smile. To give them this gift of joy is priceless.

                                                               (Photos by Linh Tran)

Sunday 14th June was CEF's 'Water Safety Day'

CEF's 'Water Safety Day' was a great success on Sunday with all the children learning water safety theory, most mastering floating and some started to learn a little swimming.

They played many games in the water and on the beach and had a wonderful time.

We had 11 teachers from 'Swim Vietnam' to do the teaching, as well as 7 western volunteers and 2 Vietnamese volunteers in the water with the children too.  We also had other volunteers on land who helped prepare morning tea, fresh lime juice, lunch and organize the printing of a group photo for everyone and then added that into a photo frame.  Our volunteer photographer of the day was Linh Tran who took wonderful photos for us all morning. We now all have photos to remind us of this special day that helps to keep the CEF children from drowning. 

Big thanks to all who helped on this important day, and especially to our donors who made this day possible and a great success. 
                                                               Photos by Linh Tran 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

CEF's support program ~ 'Girls to Women' ~ Female Health Education Program

In 2015-2016 our 'Girls to Women'  ~ Female Health Education Workshop will take place and we are very pleased to be able to fill in some of the gaps that some young ladies have here in Vietnam.

                              In the workshop they will be participating in story telling, games and artwork
                                                                   to clarify and reinforce what they have learned

'Girls to Women' has already started in a small way by providing underwear, sanitary and hygiene products to some of the very poorest CEF girls. This support will continue as the reality is some girls and families can't afford these 'essentials'.

This academic year (2015-2016) we will run our first 'Girls to Women' workshop for 100 CEF girls. The plans are still being worked on but we plan to include:
Hygiene ~ what is important and why
Understanding the menstrual cycle, the changes in body, mind and emotions
A pattern to make their own sanitary towels
Challenges for females ~ Abuse (sexual, physical and mental) and empowerment
The importance of self love and self respect
The risks of trafficking
Story telling
Art work
For the older girls in their last year of high school and in tertiary education we will also cover relationships, sexual relationships, sexual health care, sexual diseases and contraception, confidence and self respect.
A gift of products and supportive books will be given to each girl at the end of the workshop.

We are very excited about this support program for the CEF girls. We hope you will share this step with us by supporting us to share essential knowledge, build self respect, and support them to avoid inappropriate relationships, abuse, being trafficked, premature pregnancy and sexual diseases.

Thank you,

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam
Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam

CEF's support program ~ 'Literacy Encouragement Program'

Our last book shopping trip

Our 'Literacy Encouragement Program', includes our 'Mobile Library for Literacy' and 'Book Boxes to Share'. The goal is to share books with children in any way that is possible to support the children to develop a love of reading and to satisfy their yearning to educate themselves more.

Donations for books are crucial for this program. We shop for books whenever we have donations for them. It is one of the activities the staff really enjoy and come back from the shopping expeditions bursting to show me the latest book purchases.

Our 'Book Boxes' are the newest part of the program and are working well. This year we started with 'Book Boxes' in two pagodas. Pagodas are a central meeting place for many in most communities (unless they are a different religion). We use large plastic tubs to transport the books and to store them in.

We plan to add 'Book Boxes' to one staff members home in Hoi An and also to one child's home in Duy Xuyen. In Thang Binh we will add 'Book Boxes' at a pagoda. We estimate we need $200 for books and boxes in Duy Xuyen and $300 for Thang Binh and $400 for books and boxes in Hoi An.

Donations towards this program would be greatly appreciated as many children benefit from our 'Book Boxes', not just the CEF children as the books are available for the whole community in each area we leave them.

A paper book for many of us is still a real treat; the smell, the feel, turning the page to find out what will happen next or what gem we will learn and falling asleep with a good book is a great way to fall asleep too. All little treasures.

To be able to share books with our CEF students and the community children makes all of us at CEF happy. Sharing books, sharing knowledge and stories is a wonderful gift to give.

                                         "A child who reads will be a child who thinks"

One of our students looking at books with her cousin

CEF students looking at books

Books from a recent book shopping trip

One of our students with books she borrowed

Friday, June 5, 2015

An annual CEF support program ~ 'Water Safety Day'

CEF's fifth 'Water Safety Day' will take place on Sunday 14th June. This event is the highlight of the year for many of the CEF children as they have a great day at the beach. They spend the morning at the beach and the afternoon doing an activity or having an outing away from the beach and the heat. 

We see this day as a really important day as the CEF children are taught water safety theory and taught how to float and swim. One child's life has already been saved due to our 'Water Safety Day'.

As Vietnam has 2,360 rivers and canals with a total length of about 41,900 kilometers (26,035 miles), and 3,400 kilometers of coast there is a need for everyone to be able to swim. Up until recently most Vietnamese did not know how to swim, but children are learning now as more schools have swimming pools, and several organizations are teaching swimming.

It is still a serious situation with between 3,500 and 4,000 children drowning each year. This is 10 times higher than the rate in developed countries. 

Please support our 'Water Safety Day' next weekend!

Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam
Has 501(c)(3) status
For US donors:
'Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam'
And send to: Law office of Stephen Jackel, 

Or use PayPal: 
Paypal is on the blog and website:
www.cef-vietnam-usa.org /  http://cef-vietnam-usa,blogspot.com (for Americans)
www.ChildrensEducationFoundation.org.au /  http://ChildrensEducationFoundation-Vietnam.blogspot.com 
(for other nationalities)
Any inquiries please email Linda: cef.vn.usa@gmail.com
or at info@cef-vietnam-usa.org

Thursday, June 4, 2015

About CEF's education support program 'Bikes for School'

CEF gave bikes to children at a 'children's home'

When you live in an isolated area schools are fewer in number and can be quite some distance from your home. Most communities have a primary school as this is the cheapest stage in education and many children in Vietnam do attend primary school. There are less secondary schools and even less high schools.

Some children need a bike to get to their extra tuition at their teachers home. The educational standard of a child without a bike can suffer due to being tired; too tied to concentrate, too tired to do homework, all because of the added time it takes to get to school and home without one, and because of the impossibility of getting to extra tuition sessions.

One of our CEF students heading off on a bike we gave her

CEF provides bikes for children who can't get to school without one or to extra tuition sessions. Most bikes we provide are second hand and cost between $35 and $50 with a basket, bell, chain and lock. We provide new bikes for children who have to travel long distances daily and these cost between $70-$100 with bell, basket, chain, lock and light. Some have to travel on bad lanes and mud paths and they need new and more sturdy, higher quality bikes costing $130-$150 including accessories.

                                  Bikes given to CEF students by Renaissance International School Saigon

If you would like to support CEF children to have a bike to get to school, and to get to extra tuition, please get in touch: cef.vn.usa@gmail.com

About CEF's Education Sponsorship Program

CEF believes a girl with an education will not just have greater knowledge, but more maturity and a future with many more choices. In developing countries an education makes a big difference to her choices. 

The children we choose to help are from marginalized or impoverished families. Although Vietnam is a developing country the reality is that poverty is not decreasing.  Education costs aren't high here, and some poor students receive reductions, but education is still unaffordable for most children from poor families.

Our sponsorship costs vary according to the stage in education the child is at. Primary school sponsorships are US$225 a year, secondary $280, and high school $335. We have one sponsor per child.

Sponsors annually receive photos of the child, an update on them, any letters from the child and their school results.

Please consider sponsoring: We always have children in need of sponsorship and keeping a child from a poor community in school reduces their risks of being trafficked!

About our 'Minority Tribe Education Support Program'

This CEF education program is to support clever girls from impoverished families living near the Vietnam-Laos border. Here they are more vulnerable to trafficking than in most areas CEF works.

So far we have provided desks for the minority tribe girls in a boarding school for high school students near the border.

Now we are looking for people to take on 40 scholarships at US$150 a scholarship. Each scholarship will keep a girl in school for a year in this area, and keep her much safer from traffickers as they mainly target girls out of school.

We will provide each person who takes on a scholarship with photos and an annual update on the project. Please get in touch if you would like to take on some scholarships:  cef.vn.usa@gmail.com

Some recent CEF staff photos

Here are some recent staff photos. We are in our CEF t-shirts which we all love. They were designed and made for us by New Paradigm Promotions.