Thursday, July 4, 2013
The hard-working families of Phuc Le Guest blog by Brian
While Vietnam as a whole climbs steadily up the economic ladder, many of its citizens, particularly in rural areas, continue a daily struggle against poverty. The tranquil, some might say idyllic, setting of the CEF target village of Phuc Le, belies the hard life faced by many mums and dads in the struggle to provide life’s basic needs for their families, ie. to feed, clothe, shelter and educate their children; and to keep them safe from sickness and disease.
Phuc Le is a farming community; but not one to which many of us in fully developed countries would relate. For farming in this region read “subsistence” farming, a form of farming in which nearly all of the crops or livestock raised are used to maintain the farmer and the farmer’s family, leaving little, if any, surplus for sale or trade. The survival of the family is dependent on the success of the crop, predominantly rice in this region.
In this situation families must often prioritize in trying to fund those basic needs mentioned above. All too often it is education, investment in the future, that suffers most when things get tight. And, through cultural mores, it is more often girls in the family whose education is curtailed. A depressing situation when world authorities recognize that female education is the key to raising living standards across the globe.
Thus, Linda and CEF, with support from wonderful sponsors, have for some years assisted a number of Phuc Le families in order that they might keep their daughters in school, even when the going gets tougher than usual. And the results are starting to show. I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing no less than four young ladies who have just completed Year 12 with good grades, and are now preparing to sit for University Entrance Exams. Take a bow all you guys involved.
For me it has been such a great experience. To be privileged to return each year and see these young people, who just a few years ago were too shy to say boo, now self-confident, assertive young women with great personalities; all ready to take that next big step onto life’s stage, and with options in life their mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of.