Friday, January 1, 2021

Wishing everyone a healthy and fulfilling 2021


 I know worldwide many have had a challenging year, more than most. It is a sad situation to hear of and see the suffering over the last year here due to Covid19, floods and landslides. We have been deeeply touched by all the wonderful support we have received internationally and locally.  We hope for is that 2021 will not see so many suffering. 

Here in Vietnam many suffered due to Covid19, not because they got ill and died, as deaths were very few and only from the second bout, but due to the results of our very strict social distancing rules and the gradual stopping of international flights, reducing tourism to just some local domestic tourism. It has meant large scale unemployment with many reinventing themselves, to find a way to bring in an income to support their families. The employment situation now is a little better with some having low incomes and domestic tourism has increased and consequently more restaurants, cafes, homestays and hotels have reopened. Sadly too late for many which shut down permantently and have been on the market for six months or more.


Tropical storms brought flooding and landslides with many in low lying lands and in the mountains losing their homes and all worldly possessions. They now are trying to start life from scratch, which is hardest on the middle aged and elderly. 


We at CEF are incredibly grateful for the wonderful support we have received to help bring relief to those suffering. We received funds to give families who needed support during a time of no income due to Covid19 and Covid lockdowns. We received flood and disaster relief funds for those in the mountains and low lying plains to help with damage to their homes or to help give temporary shelter 
and later to give towards their new permanent homes.

                                    

We are most grateful for all the care we received to help others less fortunate, when things have not been easy for many of you too. Thank you so much.


The support of sponsors and donors has been wonderful and without your help very little would have been possible over this year. Girls stayed in school, and we had none drop out even though things were tough for their families. Being sponsored and having Covid support during the toughest months made a world of difference. 

Thank you to all who have helped in various ways over this last year which includes my board, advisors and volunteers as well as all the local people who raised funds too. Together we can make a big difference. Thank you.  

We all wish you a healthy, fulfilling and good 2021,

Linda

Linda Hutchinson-Burn, the CEF staff and CEF management

Children's Education Foundation - Vietnam 



Saturday, December 19, 2020

Disaster Relief December 2020

 Over the last 6 week we raised funds for disaster relief for families who lost everything in Phuoc Son district, a mountainous area inhabited mainly by ethnic communities who live in simple homes. The following photos show the results of the disaster to homes.  

We thank all who supported this project to help bring some relief to the suffering. I can't imagine what it is like to lose everything except what I am wearing. 










 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Home visits with photographer Manus Campbell

Every term we visit all our CEF students at their homes, but some university students come to the office when they are available for their updates. 

It's a chance to see how they are, how the families are, the condition of their homes, to see if their finances have increased or decreased. We also discuss their education and provide suggestons to deal with educational challenges. 

Our older students from grade 8 receive mentoring on home visits too. This is important as they frequently know of few careers except what they see in their lives, such as shopkeeper, bank clerk, teacher, doctor, nurse, waitress, cook and tailor.  If none of those appeal or are realistic, they often are stuck on choosing a career. In this case we introduce the Holland Test that accesses their interests and their abitilies and gives a long list of potential careers, that our students then researches. As in many countries if the student focuses on the university requirement for that subject, they have a much greater chance of entry so it is important to try to choose a future career when in grade 9 before entering high school. As many of us didn't know what we really wanted to do until our thirties or fourties, this clearly is a challenge for them.    

Manus who is sponsor, board member and part of our marketing team, as well as a professional photographer, loves to come on home visits to see his children, as well as the others and to take photos for us.  We appreciate having these photos to share with sponsors and for the stories we write.  Below are some photos he took on recent home visits.














Saturday, December 5, 2020

Home visits accompanied by photographer Manus Campbell

 Every term we visit all our CEF students at their homes, but some university students can't be there so they come to the office when they are available for their updates. 

It's a chance to see how they are, how the families are, the condition of their homes, to see if their finances have increased or decreased. We also discuss their education and provide suggestons to deal with educational challenges. 

Our older students from grade 8 receive mentoring on home visits too. This is important as they frequently know of few careers except what they see in their lives, such as shopkeeper, bank clerk, teacher, doctor, nurse, waitress, cook and tailor.  If none of those appeal or are realistic, they often are stuck on choosing a career. In this case we introduce the Holland Test that accesses their interests and their abitilies and gives a long list of potential careers, that our students then researches. As in many countries if the student focuses on the university requirement for that subject, they have a much greater chance of entry so it is important to try to choose a future career when in grade 9 before entering high school. As many of us didn't know what we really wanted to do until our thirties or fourties, this clearly is a challenge for them.    

Manus who is sponsor, board member and part of our marketing team, as well as a professional photographer, loves to come on home visits to see his children, as well as the others and to take photos for us.  We appreciate having these photos to share with sponsors and for the stories we write.  Below are some photos he took on recent home visits.




                                                                






This last one I tool on Manus's camera


Monday, October 5, 2020

Some Quang Nam payment day photos

On Sunday we had our term 1 payment day for our Quang Nam sponsorship students. We thought we would have to do what we did last term and that is just meet with 20 students at one time and 20 parents. Although there has been some loosening of our Covid restrictions, we still met in quite small groups, and had strict instructions to wash hands with sanitizer and to wear a mask. So we all wore masks except for photos and speeches. 

We could not help our students if it wasn't for the funds from all our wonderful donors and sponsors, all working together with us to keep our students in school and university. Thank you so much! 

A few of the 300 photos follow from the payment day of some of the groups of students from Dai Loc, Hoi An, Dien Ban and Duy Xuyen, students reading their contracts, speech giving and presenting two payments with the Dai Loc Red Cross, and one family photo of a dad with three of his four daughters. This is a super wonderful dad as he works so hard to support these girls and his wife who has serious mental health issues, so had to include this sweet photo of them.






                                                  






Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sponsor letter

Some of our sponsors stay in touch with the students they have been helping and when in Vietnam meet up with them. It warms our hearts that there is this lovely meaningful connection. 

This is a letter from Tham's ssponsor to her, with the Vietnamese following the English:


Hello Tham

How quickly time passes.  Hard to believe that it was 12 months ago last week that we met for lunch and a lovely talk in Hanoi.  And then I got that beautiful letter from you, to which I am only now getting around to replying.  Naughty me   .  So much has happened since then.  And not just in your life and mine; the whole world has changed with the effects of the Covid virus.

I hope you and your loved ones are all well.  It seems from here that Vietnam has done a very good job in containing the virus.  I hope it is still ok in Hanoi.  Australia is going quite well compared to a lot of other places.  It helps us being just one country on a big island.  Our government has strict rules in place limiting travel in and out of the country, and even between some provinces.  This has limited the spread, after people returning home from overseas early in the pandemic brought it home with them.

Here in Darwin, in the north of Australia, where I live, our Premier closed the borders of our Province way back in February, which proved to be very wise.  We have had no local transmission at all.  We are now able to travel to some other parts of Australia and I am hoping to go and see two of my daughters, who live in other provinces, very soon.  Unfortunately international travel is not allowed and I don’t know when I will get to see all my lovely friends in Vietnam again.  I miss it so much.

You said in your letter that you were in an internship and expecting to get a permanent appointment.  I hope that all worked out for you and that you are happy in your job.  Also you were graduating in June.  Did the ceremony go ahead with the virus around?  I would have loved to be there had it been possible.  Your Mum must be so proud of what you have achieved.  And you have set a very good example for your sister, who I believe is also now studying hard and doing well. 

Thankfully my family are all well.  I have three daughters and two stepsons.  They are all now in their forties and have families of their own, which means I have six grandchildren, four boys and two girls.  The youngest is named Ivy, and she is just five years old.  Ivy has her old grandfather doing whatever she wishes.  My family jokes to me that when Ivy tells me to jump I say “yes and how high?”  We have a lot of fun together.

As a parent it has made me very happy that all five of my children did quite well at school and have gone on to have good jobs and be able to provide well for their own families.  My eldest daughter is a school teacher and the other two are both scientists, one working for the local government in the Fisheries Department and the other at a hospital in Western Australia.  My eldest stepson is a journalist and works as the media relations manager for a national football club.  The other works part time in the office of a member of the provincial government; but is kept busy caring for his wife who has physical disabilities as a result of a serious car accident about twenty years ago.  And they still have two young sons at home, so he is a very busy man.

I am attaching a page with a few photos of family and around my home in Darwin.  

Hopefully I will see you again some day.  I have told family members about you and they may come looking for you to say hello if they get to travel to Vietnam some time in the future.  I hope you have a happy and healthy life and wish you all the very best of luck.

Lời chúc tốt nhất.


Chào cháu Thắm,

Thời gian trôi qua nhanh quá. Thật khó để tin rằng đã 12 tháng trôi qua kể từ ngày ông và cháu ăn trưa và trò chuyện cùng nhau tại Hà Nội. Và sau đó ông nhận được từ cháu một lá thư rất dễ thương mà đến bây giờ ông mới có dịp hồi âm. Rất nhiều thứ đã xảy ra kể từ hôm đó. Không chỉ trong cuộc sống của cháu và ông, cả thế giới đã thay đổi dưới ảnh hưởng của đại dịch Covid. 

Ông hi vọng cháu và gia đình cháu đều khỏe. Có vẻ như Việt Nam đã và đang làm rất tốt công tác phòng chống dịch. Ông hi vọng ở Hà Nội cũng vậy. Úc vẫn đang tiến triển tốt so với nhiều nơi khác. Điều này giúp mọi người ở đây được sống trong một đất nước trên một hòn đảo lớn. Chính phủ có những qui định nghiêm ngặt nhằm hạn chế việc đi lại trong và ngoài nước, và thậm chí là giữa một số thành phố. Điều này giúp hạn chế sự lây lan, sau khi những người từ nước ngoài trở về nhà trong đại dịch và mang theo bệnh. 

Tại Darwin, phía bắc nước Úc, nơi ông đang sống, Thủ hiến của ông đã đóng cửa biên giới của thành phố vào tháng hai, điều này được cho là rất khôn ngoan vì ở đây không có bất kì ca nhiễm nào trong cộng đồng. Bây giờ mọi người ở đây có thể đi du lịch đến những vùng khác của Úc và ông đang hi vọng sẽ sớm gặp lại hai cô con gái của ông đang sống ở những thành phố khác. Rất tiếc, du lịch quốc tế chưa được phép và ông không biết đến khi nào ông mới có thể gặp lại những người bạn của ông ở Việt Nam. Ông nhớ họ rất nhiều.

Cháu có nói trong thư là cháu đã đi thực tập và mong được nhận vào làm nhân viên chính thức. Ông hi vọng những điều cháu mong trở thành sự thật và cháu hài lòng với công ciệc của mình. Lễ tốt nghiệp đại học của cháu vào tháng 6 vừa qua có được diễn ra trong tình hình dịch bệnh này không? Ông đã mong là ông đã ở đó vào ngày cháu nhận bằng tốt nghiệp. Chắc là mẹ cháu đã rất tự hào về những gì cháu đạt được. Cháu cũng đã tạo được một tấm gương tốt cho em cháu, người mà ông tin rằng đang học hành rất chăm chỉ và rất tốt.

Rất may gia đình ông vẫn khỏe. Ông có 3 con gái và 2 con trai riêng. Tất cả đều đã ngoài 40 và có gia đình riêng, nghĩa là ông có 6 đứa cháu, 4 trai và 2 gái. Đứa cháu nhỏ nhất tên là Ivy, và con bé mới được 5 tuổi. Ivy có một người ông làm tất cả những gì con bé muốn. Các con ông hay đùa với ông là nếu Ivy bảo ông nhảy thì chắc ông sẽ nói là “Vâng, nhảy cao bao nhiêu?”. Tất cả mọi người có rất nhiều niềm vui khi bên nhau.

Với tư cách là một phụ huynh, ông rất vui khi cả 5 đứa con của ông đều học khá tốt ở trường và đều có công việc tốt, có thể chu cấp tốt cho gia đình chúng. Cô con cả của ông là một giáo viên và 2 đứa còn lại đều là nhà khoa học, một đứa đang làm cho chính quyền địa phương Sở hải sản và người kia làm cho một bệnh viện ở Tây Úc. Con trai riêng lớn của ông là một nhà báo và làm giám đốc quan hệ truyền thông cho một câu lạc bộ bóng đá quốc gia. Đứa còn lại làm bán thời gian trong văn phòng của một thành viên chính quyền cấp tỉnh, nhưng vẫn bận rộn chăm sóc cho người vợ bị khuyết tật do tai nạn xe hơi nghiêm trọng xảy ra 20 năm trước. Chúng cũng có 2 đứa con trai nhỏ ở nhà, vì vậy nó là một người đàn ông rất bận rộn. 

Ông có gửi kèm hình gia đình ông và nhà của ông ở Darwin trong thư này.

Hi vọng sẽ sớm gặp lại cháu. Ông có kể cho gia đình ông nghe về cháu và tất cả mọi người đều mong chờ gặp cháu nếu đến Việt Nam. Ông hi vọng cháu có một cuộc sống vui vẻ và hạnh phúc và chúc cháu gặp nhiều may mắn.

Lời chúc tốt nhất.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Phuc Le 2010

Back in 2010 we were helping many girls in this Catholic community of Phuc Le to stay in school and complete their education. Being a Catholic community, most had large families with a high school drop out rate. Families generally considered that a girl should marry as soon as possible and bear children. This attitude was a challenge for us to deal with sometimes. One particualr family with this attitude would not allow their very bright daughter to have a university education, but wanted her helping in the family business and in the family way sooner than later.  She was distraught about this fixed opinion, but that is what happened.

All the girls in this community completed school and many did have a university education, except for two sisters who we were very fond. Mum had abandoned the family due to extreme poverty and dad's alcholism. An aunt took on the responsibility of the care of granddad and the cildren. She was an uneducated rice farmer and every day was a struggle to put food on the table. Although we paid for the girls education and contributed to food, she wanted them working to remove this daily burden.  They both finished secondary school, but then went to work. 

Sometimes with sponsorship and food support provided we can't always accomplish our CEF wishes one hundred percent. Fortunately we were able to help all the others graduate from high school at least. 

These photos are by Shanti Burn. 









 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

A love for volunteering ~ Letter translation by CEF's Thuy Tran

Nga, a grade10 CEF student, shared her interesting experience of volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic in Hoi An in her letter to her sponsor: 

‘I hope this letter finds you and your family fine. Covid-19 has affected many people around the world and I hope it doesn’t affect your area too much. I also would like to say thank you very much for caring for our family and supporting us during this difficult period. 

In Hoi An, we have had a long period of quarantine because there were many positive Covid-19 cases in our local communities. All people have followed the government’s directives, staying at home to protect themselves and to prevent the pandemic continuing. During that time, The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union has had many activities to take part in on Covid-19 prevention and control efforts together with our health authorities. Being a member of the Youth Union, I am very happy and willing to volunteer when they need us. Many members wanted to join their activities, and I was so happy and proud to be chosen. After doing health checks and being trained in how to protect ourselves from Covid-19, I attended many activities since the end of July. 



I helped them in cooking for people who were staying at the quarantine sites, giving food support to communities which were contagious quarantine areas, where they strictly stopped transportation between different communities, and also stopping and checked the temperature of people travelling from one area to another to prevent the spread of Covid-19. As well as that we also checked the temperature of students when they went back to school. I also would like to send you some photos about my volunteer work.’