Friday, December 2, 2016

CEF wish list for 2017

As with all NGO's there is always a wish list. As it is the time of year when many consider giving to charities we want to share some of our wishes that would help our families, but also help all of us here who work to make our work at CEF possible.

For our children and families:
US$225 spoonsorships of primary school children
US$280 sponsorships of secondary school children
US$335 sponsorships of high school children
US$400-$800 a year for university education. Most courses are 4 years. The costs vary dramatically as it depends on what they are studying and where.
We always need sponsors, so if you are interested in sponsoring please get in touch.

US$200 for a year, for food support for one of our very poor families who are struggling to feed their families. We have 10 families in need of this support at present.

US$100 for two book boxes. We have a Literacy Encouragement Program and have a library at our office, take books to some of our children and have book boxes in some easily accessible places for the children in communities to come to read, or borrow books. Ideally we would love to receive US$200 to be able to create 4 boxes of books. The books are a mixture of pictorial educational books and materials useful for their studies as well as traditional stories and books by famous Vietnamese authors. We do not provide any comics, political or religious materials. We also educate the children on how to care for books.

US$250 for the materials for a small bathroom with toilet. Each family will do the building of their own toilet / bathroom. We have many families who have no bathroom or toilet what so ever and just use the back yard for washing themselves and going to the toilet. Using the back yard is unhygienic, smelly, messy and embarrassing for the young girls we work. We have many families in need of a toilet in a small bathroom and will prioritize them as funds are donated.

US$100 donations towards our Water Safety Day. Drowning is a major cause of death of children in Vietnam. Each summer we teach our CEF children all about water safety. We have games in the water and on the beach and they all learn how to float and swim. We have both professional trainers and volunteer support. The day ends with a treat of a trip to the cinema to see a movie. The total cost will be around US$1300.

For CEF:
US$650 for a staff computer. One staff has an old slow computer, so we need to purchase a good new Vietnamese computer.

US$100 for excellent reference books for CEF staff to use. For example one of our needs is a doctor's Vietnamese - English Medical dictionary as we have many families with serous medical problems and no online or simple dictionaries can help us to translate their problems. Another is a medical book on gynecological problems, and also a highly informative book (medical probably) on female health and hygiene.

US$1000 a year for CEF training to ensure our staff develop and grow as individuals and increase their skills.

Frequent flyer points please for my travel to Australia and America for fundraising.

Donations are always gratefully received and are not wasted. Please contact us at or at

Thanks you,

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Some of the scenery from when we do CEF's home visits in Dai Loc

Dai Loc district is where many very poor families live and where we have many of our CEF families. The more isolated your home the cheaper it is to live, but the back of that is they have few options to earn any extra income. Most people try to scrape by working as farmers and living off the land. Not many of the young want to stay there as they don't want a life like their mothers and it is not a life anyone would choose.

The countryside is very beautiful there and when we go there we breath in the good air and take in the beauty. We feel that there must be some spiritual sustenance from their environment to help them through each very challenging day.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

"A father is a son's first hero, a father's daughter is his first love" ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

‘N’ is a lovely 7-year-old girl but she does not talk a lot when seeing other people. According to her father, she talks a lot at home but when having other people around, she is quite shy.

Her father has been suffering from final – stage kidney failure for 7 years. He now is very weak but he still tries to live positively without any complaints or groans because he doesn’t want to make his mother, his wife ...and his two daughters worried or upset about him. When he was still strong enough, he took ‘N’ to school and picked her up to take her home. Because of his kidney failure and the effects it has on him, his skin looks quite strange and scary for children. When her classmates saw him they teased her about her ‘scary’ father. Later, her father knew that when he saw ‘N’ shouting to her classmates in an angry voice saying, “My father is always a good father. Are your fathers as good as mine?” At first, her father was upset as he thought she might be ashamed but then he was very proud of his very little, but strong girl. 

Someone told me ‘A father is a son’s first hero, a father's daughter is his first love’; I believe so.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


As a friend said each day is a day to be thankful for.

But why I like Thanksgiving Day is because it actually is a day in which I think most of the time about all that I am thankful for and since most of my life is given to helping girls in Vietnam to receive an education then most of my thoughts turn to all those people who support us to do this work.  

If I wrote the names of all the individuals who help I would be writing all day, so this is all the wonderful people put into general categories:
Partner organizations
Our managers
Board members
and government officials we work with

And then I also have the help of social media, which in this time in our history is crucial.

If CEF didn't have all this amazing support we wouldn't be able to help the children here in Vietnam. So I am so blessed to have all this loving support as it has and continues to allow me to spend my life helping many impoverished and marginalized girls receive an education, which gives them a much better future with many more choices, than if they remaining uneducated.

Love and thanks to all of you,

If you are an Amazon user ~ please use Amazon Smile and help CEF while shopping

Amazon has created Amazon Smile to enable purchasers to contribute painlessly to their favorite charity –  for example Children’s Education Foundation – Vietnam.

We will receive .5% from all purchases through the Amazon Smile website, which is identical in all respects - including prices. There's no downside to helping out your favorite charity!

The easiest way for people to sign up to donate to CEF is by going to the following link and then signing in using their normal Amazon username and password.

Once you sign in that way, your computer should remember for future purchases and go there automatically. Very painless. (If it doesn't automatically go to that site, just type in '’)

Alternatively, people can go to and type in 'Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam' in the charity search box and then 'Select' it as the charity they would like to help fund. Thereafter, when they make purchases through '' we will receive .5% of their purchase price from Amazon.

Thank you for helping CEF-Vietnam, and please let me know if there are any glitches in the system. Also - please pass this along to your family and friends who may be interested in helping our charity or at least some other worthy cause.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

About having to be both a father and a mother ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy

Every child wants to have both a father and mother looking after them and staying beside him or her to the end of their parents’ life. However, in fact, some children are not so fortunate and unfairly in this life they have only a father or a mother due to their parent becoming a widower or widow.
Compared to widows, widowers often find they have more difficulties in bringing up their children. They tend to stay hot-tempered and impatient in a normal family life; however, they have to be both a strict father and a patient mother as is the case with widows. Also, they have to face the change in their lives to an irregular life that they have never considered they would ever have. Especially, the widowers often have trouble in bringing up their daughters, sharing their personal challenges with them when they reach the age of puberty.

In Duy Xuyen district there is a father of one of our children that is a specific example for this topic. Before dying of breast cancer one year ago, his wife had been staying in bed for 5 years dying. At that time he took the main responsibility for looking after their three children, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, developmental delay and congenital heart disease. His daily work included both farming to make a living, and looking after his disabled daughter and in addition, while the two other children were at school, he had to cook the meals and do housework so that his children would have a clean home and rice to eat as soon as they come back home from school.

He has two daughters who have already reached puberty which makes him worried a lot about how to deal with many things such their personal hygiene, understanding the sensitive problems his daughters are facing, and helping practically to prepare them for each of the important events in the year such shopping for the Tet holiday and getting new clothes for them, and all the preparation needed for the start of school each year with purchasing school supplies and uniforms and being ready for the school opening ceremony for each new academic year.

Despite a lot of financial and spiritual burdens, he still lets his children’s education continue so that poverty will no longer be present in their future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

About mothers and daughters ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Ngoc

Whenever I visit families it is touching to witness mothers who have devoted almost their whole lives to their daughters.

There is a family in Dien Ban district, where the mother not only looks after her beloved daughter very well but also provides spiritual support to her daughter. She is always by her child’s side, encouraging her and guiding ...her to go in the right direction. The mother never has new clothes or good food because she gives all of that to her child. No matter how challenging and hard the situation she has, the most happiest moments for her are to be with her daughter and to see her girl growing up day by day to become a mature and successful young woman.

Beside this family, there is another family in Da Nang city that I have been working with for around 3 years that has made a strong impression on me about the mother’s efforts and love for her children. She is bringing up 3 children on her own, which makes me really admire her. She has 2 jobs and both of them are at a garbage company. She starts from early in the morning at about 7am, and works till late in the evening, around 9pm, when her children need to go to sleep, just in order to make ends meet. She works very hard however she never complains about her job. The only thing that causes her sadness and regret is that she is unable to have much time with her beloved children and would especially love to with her daughter, as she is about to enter puberty. She wishes she had time to share many things with her daughter and have lunches and dinners with her children. It is such a normal thing to do in most families but it seems impossible for her. The fact is she has to work so that she and her children can survive. 

Each family has their own challenging situation; however, most of the mothers just want to give the best to their daughters. It is from their deep love in their hearts.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

CEF is looking for a sponsor for this little grade 5 girl ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Kim Chi

This girl looks older than her age. She is healthy, a little shy, but is a sweet girl.

She loves school and has had good school results each year, except for last year when she was in grade 4. About a year ago about the time she started in grade 4, she suffered with a huge shock because her mother died. Mum was on her motorbike travelling home from work when she had a serious accident. Fortunately, she is ...getting over the shock and started to
make progress in term 2 last year and continues to make progress. 

Although the family borrowed US$850 to afford her mother’s brain surgery, she still lost her mom. The father now works really hard to afford the family expenses and his children’s educational costs.
Since the mother died her father has to spend more time caring for his children and their 78 year old granny. He can’t get to work early in the morning, so it means he collects less rubber. 

Although she is very young still she has to help her father to look after her siblings and do some household chores each day after she returns from school. She doesn’t have much time with her friends, except at school. 

The father collects rubber from rubber trees in the forest and can earn about US$100 a month. Although he has a low income he still tries to cover all costs including the interest on the debt each month. I feel so sorry for the children and the dad as he has work as much as he can, and be both mother and father, and that is impossible. 

Therefore, with financial support from a sponsor, this young girl can continue on to grade 5 this academic year (2016-2017). US$225 would not only pay for her school fees but would also provide her with uniform, sport shoes, shoes, hat, bag, stationery and extra tuition and at the same time it would reduce her father’s financial burden.

(Staff photos)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why do farming families work so hard but they still remain poor? ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

A struggling poor father rearing three children on his own, as his wife has died.

The first reason for farmer’s poverty is natural disasters. In Quang Nam and Thai Binh where CEF works, farmers are highly vulnerable to drought, typhoons and floods every year. The frequency and severity of these disasters has become more intense as a consequence of global warming.

Also the quality of some of the farming land near industrial areas is damaged by polluted water from factories. Some of the factories give compensation to the farmers, but it is often less compensation than what the farmers have lost due to the pollution.

Another important reason for their ongoing poverty is their limited education. Most of them live in remote areas where farming is very hard and they use the old traditional techniques that their parents used. They often don’t know how to find out about new farming techniques and don’t have access to new agricultural technology.

Some also borrow money from the bank to grow new varieties of fruit or raise livestock. However, many of them lose their crops or their livestock die due to illnesses caused by lack of knowledge on how to take care for them.

Another reason is the number of family dependents is higher than the available workers in the family. It’s sad that poor farming families are often poorer because they have too many children.

Some farming families also face huge financial challenges because their main laborers have some serious disease, become disabled, or have died from some illness or from an accident.

It doesn’t mean that all farmers are poor. Nowadays, some farmers become rich and export their products to foreign countries thanks to information on modern farming techniques and advanced technology, being able to update their knowledge and apply new technologies.

Finally, education is a very important to help people get out of poverty.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

About a new organization, Chances for Children International, that is helping CEF

Chances for Children International is a new NGO that was set up recently. The couple who set it up are very caring and compassionate and are already helping children in Vietnam, India and Nepal. We at CEF feel very fortunate to have their support.

These are 4 of the 9 CEF children who are fortunate to be receiving help from CCI with their education.

They are helping her to receive a university education. She is studying to be a pharmacist, specializing in herbal medicine. She comes from a poor family in the mountains near the Vietnam-Laos border.  
Her mother died of breast cancer and just before passing away gave birth to a little boy. This young lady has helped as much as she could with bringing him up during his infancy while continuing her education.
Dad collects rubber from rubber trees in a local forest and has a very low income due to needing to spend a certain amount of time on child rearing and domestic chores as well as working. Although her father has a really challenging situation he really wants his children to be well educated.  

They are also helping this student to receive a university education. She is studying chemistry and hopes to be an analyst.
This is very exciting for her as she comes from a large family with a low income. They borrowed to build a home, but ran out of money so their home is incomplete. Dad has poor health and can't work much, so he just helps his wife with selling fruit at the market. 
Their poverty limited the education of one of their children and this very bright child who a lot was expected from at school, and she found it too hard to accept the limitations on her education, and very sadly, took her life. So having support for this student to receive a university education is wonderful! 

CCI is helping this student to complete her last year of high school and hopefully next year she will be successful in applying to study at university to be a technology teacher.
She is from a fairly new area we have been working in near the Vietnam-Laos border, where there is a lot of poverty and very few students end up receiving a tertiary education. Many of the students in this area are from ethnic communities and she is from the 'Gie Trieng' group. 
It is wonderful she has this support as mum has poor health and can't work much, so her father works hard to cover their basic costs, but they still live in a shack made from rattan matting with a tin roof.

And this student CCI are helping to complete high school. Hopefully next year she will be successful in applying to study at university to be a doctor, or a literature teacher if she can't get high enough grades to study medicine. 
She is from the ethnic group 'Gie Trieng' and where they live in the mountains it is hard to farm. Her parents have to walk a long way from home to work and for her it is a long way to school so she stays with other family members not far from her school.
Sadly she has very poor health and has to rely on pain killers a lot of the time. But even considering her health challenges she still is determined to go to university and studies as much as her health will allow.

Chances for Children International says:
Chances for Children International (CCI) is a small non-profit organization run out of our New Hampshire farm house. Our partners are small, innovative grassroots organizations. And we promise that 100% of every dollar you contribute goes directly to help the children in these programs.

Please have a look at their colourful and fresh website and support their wonderful and important work:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

International Day of the Girl Child

It feels most respectful that girls worldwide have a day allocated to them, International Day of the Girl Child, a day that exists to honor the girl child and for us all to reflect about the girl child.

I love that so many organizations now work to help girls around the world with many issues such as education, child abuse, anti-trafficking, homelessness, drug abuse, prostitution and many more issues girls face worldwide.

CEF works to help girls stay in school and complete their education, enabling them to grow into women with choices. With the issue of trafficking increasing in Vietnam over the last few year we have added anti-trafficking education. Now sexual use and abuse of young girls via Facebook is growing we are adding education on this aspect to enlighten girls about this sad change that is rapidly increasing.

As girls become women, mothers and grandmothers they are precious members of every community and need and deserve support and help.

Monday, September 5, 2016

A little girl we worry about ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy

 The home-visit trip on the weekend was my last home-visit day of term 1 and the last one meant I had now met all the children I am responsible for. Each child left a different impression on me after I got to know each of them.

Among them, ‘M’ who is a little 7-year-old girl with a sad face left me feeling obsessed with her and her circumstances after visiting her. M’s parents died of HIV many years ago, and her older sister was sent to an HIV center in Vung Tau for treatment. Therefore, ‘M’ has to stay with her violent maternal grandmother who makes a living from collecting garbage. ’M’ is often hit by her grandma who seems to be very short tempered and this makes her scared of others and shy when communicating. 

I met her when she was with other relatives eating with her dirty hands and sitting next to her maternal uncle who was drinking wine and not communicating with her. That made us very upset to see her neglect. There was no communication with her, no sharing, no good care of her and on top of that there is lack of good nutrition; all of this is making ‘M’ abnormal and different from other children of her age. Some of the biggest problems ‘M’ faces are ending up uneducated and vulnerable to abuse.

How we can help her to overcome these challenges, and how can ‘M’ continue going to school, are my concerns as well as CEF’s concerns. I can see from her circumstances that a good background for a child’s education is influenced by different factors in a child’s life.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Preparing lotus seeds for sale

To increase their income one mother and her daughter, a CEF student, prepare lotus seeds for sale. 
They soak the seeds in their shells, drain them, then can remove the shell when soft. Next they remove the fine and delicate skin of the lotus seed, then remove the inner stamen of the seed, save those for tea, and then string the lotus seeds for sale. They only get US$0.75 cents for 1 kilogram of prepared lotus seeds.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Some of the little CEF children on a recent home visit day

These are some of the little people that CEF has found sponsors for. They are all very sweet and happy children although they have unfortunate circumstances. 

Two of the children have lost their father to AIDS and mum is dying too. The father of one of the children fell off the roof while doing repairs and has brain damage. Two operations on he is a little better, but still bedridden and can't speak. One father just died from a rare lung disease leaving mum with three young children to care for. 

One girl is fortunate to have a loving mother and granny, and although both had no education they encourage her daily with her studies.

We are grateful that we have caring sponsors for these young children to keep them in school, and to support and encourage them with their studies.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

If you are an Amazon user, please use Amazon Smile and help CEF

Amazon has created Amazon Smile to enable purchasers to contribute painlessly to their favorite charity –  for example Children’s Education Foundation – Vietnam. We will receive .5% from all purchases through the Amazon Smile website, which is identical in all respects - including prices. There's no downside to helping out your favorite charity!

The easiest way for people to sign up to donate to CEF is by going to the following link and then signing in using their normal Amazon username and password.

Once you sign in that way, your computer should remember for future purchases and go there automatically. Very painless. (If it doesn't automatically go to that site, just type in '’)

Alternatively, people can go to and type in "Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam" in the charity search box and then "Select" it as the charity they would like to help fund. Thereafter, when they make purchases through '' we will receive .5% of their purchase price from Amazon.

Thank you for helping CEF-Vietnam, and please let me know if there are any glitches in the system. Also - please pass this along to your family and friends who may be interested in helping our charity or at least some other worthy cause.

Monday, July 18, 2016

My first home visit day to some of the CEF children ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy, CEF's new staff member

Recently I did my first home-visit trip since I started working for CEF. 

I visited 12 CEF children and 1 new child. Each family has their own poor circumstances. However, they are all aware that the more education their children receive, the better and brighter future they will have. It was the most wonderful thing that made me happy and not tired in spite of the hot weather. 

 I, myself, find that the home-visits are a significantly important aspect in my job. This is the best way to establish a good relationship with the children and their families, as well as to understand them better so that I can give the most appropriate educational support to them. 
In addition, home-visit trips motivate me more in this great job.

(Staff photos of 4 of the families visited on this home visit trip)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A small fundraising event for CEF in New York

CEF is a small organization and still our events are small, but meaningful. They are an opportunity to share the importance of our work and to answer questions for donors, sponsors, and those recently introduced to CEF.

Che, Vietnamese sweet snack food, usually eaten mid afternoon, was available for people to experience. And delicious sorbets and spicy tofu  was prepared by Greg and was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated!

We appreciated the presence and participation of all board members and guests and it was exciting to be have more CEF children supported due to this event!

 Linda doing a PowerPoint presentation
 Slide of  our US manager in Vietnam with three staff, all in NY t-shirts
 Some of our guests
 Some guests
Che (Vietnamese sweet snack food) and spiced tofu with rice and pickles for our event