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 families:
Sponsorships:
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.

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 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 gynaecological 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 cef.vn.usa@gmail.com or at c.e.f.vietnam@gmail.com.

Thanks you,
Linda

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam

Games for children ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Kim Chi


Children now rely on modern technology such as TV, internet, video games, ipads and cell phones for the majority of their play. It is a known fact that it limits their creativity and imagination, as well as limiting the necessary sensory and motor development.

Besides studying and helping their family with household chores, we are happy to say there still are some traditional games which our CEF children play in their spare time.


These are some photos we took on a home visit day of CEF children playing Vietnamese marbles. This game is very popular, but also interesting and attracts both boys and girls in rural areas of Viet Nam. It’s rare to see children in cities playing this game as they like to use modern technology to entertain themselves. The marbles don’t cost much, don’t need modern technology or parental supervision. It contributes to making children more creative and sociable because they have to play in a group.


Childhood will be more lively and memorable and filled with smiles if we preserve traditional games like this one.

Friday, November 25, 2016

About our CEF students adjusting to life far from home ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy

Living far from home to study is not easy for teenagers who are still in high school. Besides the experience having advantages such as helping them improve their confidence and create more self-awareness, there are challenges and disadvantages, like missing home, balancing budgets and their personal safety.

‘H’ is one of the children in our education program living far away from her home to be able to study. She shares a small room with another friend to be able to attend an advanced high school in Hoi An city. She was cared for by her father while her mother died of cancer over several years, but sadly he left before she died and never returned and 'H' was then taken care of by her granny. She can manage to live away from home thanks to her sponsorship that helps her with her costs, and on top of that she does a part-time job in her free time to help herself.

On the first days of living on her own balancing her budget was the most challenging thing she faced. Accommodation, food, school fees, stationery, personal costs and other related costs needed calculating and the small amount of money she had needed to be dividing carefully. In the beginning she always spent more than she had estimated; therefore, she had to skip breakfast and cut remaining expenses as much as possible at the end of the month. Gradually, she learned many things to help control her life, and her spending, making living and studying away from home much easier and less stressful.

Another CEF sponsored child is ‘Ha’, who is a freshman at Da Nang University of Foreign Languages. She was only familiar with a countryside life and had a very close and caring family; therefore, she felt depressed and stressed in the process of adjusting to her new life and environment. On the first day, she enjoyed her new life, but day by day, she missed her family and her friends a lot. In addition, she had to say goodbye to the carefree life and step into a responsible life with a lot of duties. She has to do things by herself now, from big things like managing her budget to smaller ones like doing her own housework and washing, which used to be done with her family’s help. It took her nearly two months to adapt to this new life and environment. Currently, she returns home twice or three times a month instead of once a week as she did at the beginning of term. This reduces her expenses as well as providing her with more time for her studies.

In general, facing and overcoming a diverse range of challenges in this life is not easy; however, once they can do it, their lives are much better, less stressful and they are able to be more successful. I hope that each child in our program can do like ‘H’ and ‘Ha’ have been doing and consider the challenges just as a part of adult life.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

With family is where children belong ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Ngoc


After some visits and getting to know this family with a very ill father in Dien Ban district, I understand more about the love of family. This father of 2 CEF sponsored children was diagnosed with severe kidney failure about 7 years ago. He has been living with it for 7 years and I cannot imagine how brave he is.

Personally I think, he is able to bear the physical suffering and live optimistically because of his incredible love for his beloved mother, admirable wife and adorable daughters. It is horrible for a person to know that they will die soon, but they do not know when. He knows for sure he will leave his lovely family forever soon. He not only feels terrible pain in his body but also he is suffering emotional and is very sensitive and vulnerable.

When he took one of his lovely daughters to school, her friends teased her due to his ugly appearance. There are many black spots on his face and it has gradually turns to a dark brown-black colour which is strange for children to see. He did not feel ashamed, but he was afraid that his daughter would be teased again so he decided not to take her to school anymore. However, it is great that his daughter tried to protect him in front of her friends. She loves her father regardless of how bad he looks.

When he was aware of his disease, he suggested that he and his wife should divorce. He felt his young wife was too young to have such a hard life and to become a widow soon. Nevertheless, the young mother of the two children did not agree and wanted to stay with him, to be by his side no matter how challenging the situation and to continue to look after him, his mother and their two children. I strongly believe that thanks to the love and care and support of his wonderful family, he has been able to overcome many obstacles he faces with the help of his strong mind too. He and his amazing attitude have been the motivation for his family to be able to keep living a normal daily life.

Therefore, each of us should be aware that family plays such an important role in our lives and we should try our best to keep our family together. That is the reason why CEF always wants our children to live with their families as long as they are good ones, no matter how poor they are.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Grade 5 girl in need of educational support

This sweet girl who is in grade 5 needs a sponsor. Her sponsorship for 2016-2017 is US$225.

Her family feel she was deeply upset by the accident of her mother and her consequent death and it affected her education, which is totally understandable. She likes going to school and loves Vietnamese and math, as well as music and she joins in quite a lot of performances at school. In the past she always got 10/10 in Vietnamese and 9/10 in math, but last year in term 1, in grade 4 she just got 8/10 in Vietnamese and 5/10 in math because she was so traumatised by her mother’s death. Fortunately, we are glad to say, she is getting better, and with that improvement she made progress in term 2 with 9/10 in Vietnamese and 7/10 in math.

Dad struggles on his meagre monthly income of US$100 to support three children of school age, as well as granny and to pay off their debt from surgery from trying to save mum's life. A sponsorship for her would help dramatically!

Please contact us to sponsor: c.e.f.vietnam@gmail.com

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Modern day abuse via Facebook ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy

Nowadays, Facebook is used by many people, especially by young people. Facebook is the fastest way to get in touch with other people or to make new friends. Besides having a lot of positive effects, Facebook affects some young people in negative ways as Facebook encourages some young people, especially girls, to become the victims of dangerous situations and crimes unbeknown to them initially.

Being attracted to boys who are good-looking and have luxurious living conditions and lifestyle, girls so easily fall in love with them, even just after a very short time of getting to know each other. Some never even meet, but still can be under their influence. Certainly, these girls are caught in this love trap that their new evil boyfriends have created.

Consequently, some of girls end up with sexual transmitted diseases after a one night stand due to no protection. Some girls become victims of national or international human trafficking and very sadly some girls are murdered due to base purposes of those who these girls consider as their perfect boyfriends.

Every year in Viet Nam there are thousands of criminal cases with extremely serious levels of abuse occurring, related to Facebook, and most of the victims are girls.

So, what is the main reason for this issue? It is lack of awareness about these unscrupulous people and their ruthlessness, that is the answer for this question. If all the girls have a full education in many different aspects, including understanding the seedy side of Facebook, they will know how to avoid these awful situations, and how to protect themselves from being used and being involved in illegal activities.





Thursday, October 20, 2016

About Viet Nam's Women's Day ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Kim Chi



In Vietnam, we celebrate woman’s day twice a year. We observe National Women’s Day on 20th October and again International Women’s Day on 8th of March.  And today we greatly appreciate CEF gave us time to have coffee to celebrate the day.

I am Vietnamese and I am very proud of the Vietnamese Women who sacrificed themselves for Viet Nam revolution as well as those who established gender equality to help Vietnamese women have the right to vote, join in the Vietnamese government and help bring about more respect from males.


Thanks to them, today we enjoy freedom and equal rights. We receive flowers and gifts from our lovers, husbands and male friends on this day as well as encourage and empower each other.

I am also very excited as I can go home early today to do something special for my mom and show my unbounding gratitude to her.

Vietnam Women's Day

Today is Women's Day in Vietnam. From the Vietnamese females perspective, the men in their lives hopefully will be expressing their love and respect for them. It could be the boyfriend or the husband expressing his love to the important woman or women in his life. But it could also be business partners / or businesses expressing their respect and appreciation to the women in their lives. Sweet or kind words, words of appreciation, and sometimes little gifts or flowers may be given.

Also females too like to express their love and care for the special women in their lives; their mothers, siblings, work friends and good long term friends.

Originally it had a similar purpose, but more of a political connection. On this day in 1930 some women who were against imperialism created a group, which is now called The Vietnam Women's Union. It is not clear what they originally did, but these days this wonderful organization, or union, cares for and does a lot to support women to have equal rights, to be respected and to receive the support and help they need. This organization works throughout Viet Nam. The Communist Party of Vietnam decided that this day, was an important day, and that it was appropriate that each year  this should be the day to officially honour women.

It is also a day to remember the valuable role of women in Vietnamese society. We at CEF are very lucky to have a strong team of women who add value to our work, who care about the children, the sponsors and donors and want the best for all our children. The staff are like mothers too, they want the children to know they are cared for, that we all want the best for them, to guide them and support them into adulthood, but not to give them things on a platter or spoil them in the process.

Each of the staff are intelligent, strong and caring women and we are blessed to have each of them as an important, essential, valuable member of the CEF team.








Friday, October 14, 2016

What a wonderful time together ~ Guest blog by a CEF sponsor

Photos from the day (photos by the sponsor, Ms Kerry)

How do you rate a memorable experience, something that would normally be totally beyond your reach? Imagine a child who hasn’t seen much of life beyond her own village being offered the opportunity to attend a rare event, a visit to a city, and a chance to meet her sponsor again. What should the child expect? It could be scary!  But it may also be exciting, and worth the risk!  How amazing would it be if the experience was life changing!

That is what I wanted to achieve for Tam and Ngoc, the girls we sponsor through CEF, on their visit with me in Hoi An. To give them an experience they would never forget. Hoi An, only an hour away from where they live, was the best location to begin this type of engagement with the girls. Through the wonderful guidance of Linda Burn and the CEF team, we were able to set this up, so that with a CEF employee as our interpreter and guide, we were able to co-ordinate a day and a plan of activities.

The girls were excited, I could tell within minutes of seeing them again. Nervous, but excited. The eldest, Tam, was keen to share a letter and a drawing she had done for Andrew and I. It nearly broke my heart. It was an expression of gratitude and a wish for our family’s well being. Ngoc was reserved but you could see she was paying attention to everything we were saying. What a great start.

The day was designed to be casual and relaxed. Vy, our CEF guide had planned out a series of activities and the girls and I followed her call. Tam and Ngoc soon figured out I knew as little as they did about Hoi An, so that was our instant bond, plus our need to chase the shade away from direct sun, which they don't like as it darkens their skin. To think they want skin like mine. Heaven forbid, I told them!

We visited Hoi An’s historic sites which showed them first hand some of the history of the city; we saw artists perform music from ancient times; checked out different arts and crafts made in the region; ate some delicious local cuisine and laughed a lot.  All the while the girls practising English and me Vietnamese, which I have to admit was worse than their English.

I loved every minute. The chance to experience life through a young person’s eyes is so personal and so rewarding. I hope they got as much out of it as I did. I truly hope I can do this again during the course of their academic careers. I think it adds another unique dimension to the sponsorship program. It increases the level of personalisation to what you contribute and goes beyond just writing a cheque. It makes you better appreciate the challenges facing girls in Vietnam. And lastly, where you set out thinking the gift was to them, it becomes your life changing event as well.

Background

When most Australians think about Vietnam, they think about the war we became embroiled in over 50 years ago. I’m no different being married to an Australian soldier. I know only too well the toll on human life and the sacrifices that were made for little gain. Pushing politics aside, I see Vietnam in its new light. Its history indelibly linked with ours, I fell in love very quickly with this country and its people as they struggle to rise above their past.

It started with a promise three years ago, that I would come back and see the girls we sponsor through the CEF program. Tam and Ngoc made a major impression on both Andrew and I and we both agreed after visiting their home last time, and meeting their widowed mother and brother, that we wanted to give these two girls the best we could through the program.


A CEF student shares about her first two weeks of university ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy


This is from a new CEF university student who is in her first year at Hue Medical and Pharmaceutical University about her first two weeks in Hue where she studies.

‘‘I already have been in Hue two weeks and started to go to university last week. In my first days in Hue, I felt very sad and missed home so much. Luckily, I stayed with my older sister in a rented room. She is a good sister as well as a good student. She often talks to me and gives me much good advice. We take turns to cook. We often call home to ask after our father and younger brother. Thanks to that, I now feel better and more familiar with student life here in Hue. Fortunately my university is quite close to my place as I go to school on my sister’s bicycle. There is a sophomore, who studies in my department at university, and lives next to my room. He is very kind and lent me his old documents and books from last year.

On the first day of university I was quite surprised to find it wasn’t like I imagined, as the university syllabus is so different from the school one. The lecturers teach very fast and seem not to care much about their students. Therefore, I have to spend much more time reading and going over the lessons at home. When I have difficult lessons, I can’t ask for help or get explanations from the teachers like I did when I was in high school, so I do a lot of reading and studying until I get it.

Now, I am already acquainted with the syllabus. I have made friends with many new students and I feel more excited to go to my lessons now. Besides concentrating on my studies, I also want to be an involved student joining in on many activities, such as attending the: ‘Welcome freshman to university’ event, and by donating blood. I am also planning to find a part time job to contribute to my living costs here as well as to have life experience. Of course, the most importance thing is my studies and I promise that I will try my best to get good school results.”