At work, I always feel very happy and grateful when I see the improvements that our students are making in both their studies and their life skills. It makes me believe that a better future is waiting for them and it is also what I am looking for. Chien, a 2nd year ethnic minority student in our program, is an example. Her dream is to be a teacher to help others in her mountainous village. In her family her mother is windowed and has seven children. I still remember our first meeting when she was in grade 11 and she was very quiet and shy then. With CEF’s support and her efforts, she became the first child in her family to go to university. At the beginning of her university studies, she found it very challenging to keep up with the other students, so she studied much more and got better results each term. She shares with us about her life more now and asks for help when she has challenges. I am very happy to see her coming out of her shell and now helping other CEF ethnic minority students because of her experience.
Friday, March 30, 2018
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
One of the aspects of work here in Viet Nam that I enjoy most is visiting families in their homes. Every home is different from the simplest ramshackle one room house on the outskirts of town to that sheltering a large family, surrounded by rice fields with mountains in the distance and dogs, cats and hens running freely in the living room. Tiled floors, mud floors, windows or holes in the wall, rusty corrugated iron roofs and moss covered weathered tiles. We spend time sitting with the child’s mother or father, granny, grandad or aunt asking how they are, how the rice harvest was or how their health is and talking with the child about school, their holidays, what they are enjoying and what they are struggling with. On most visits something happens that, in some way or other, reveals that knowing their girl or boy will finish school has made life for the family a little easier, a known among all the uncertainty they face.
Monday, March 26, 2018
One of the twins. Our concern is that she isn't spending as much time as she should on homework at this stage in her education. She plans to increase her home work time.
She hasn't thought enough about what next. School is coming to an end soon and yet she hasn't thought about her future and what career interests her, or what she would love to study. She plans to do some research soon and then discuss her findings with our staff.
Three of CEF's university students ~ Guest blog by Graeme, CEF's Australia manager in Vietnam at present
I recently talked with three students in CEF’s university program, Quynh, Yen and Chuyen. They are in years three, one and four and majoring in Japanese, Electrical Automation and Software Testing respectively. They are all doing well.
Chuyen graduates next year once she has completed her final project and wants to work in web design. Quynh improved her Japanese by hosting a group of young Japanese university students, who also have invited her to come to Japan. Yen has made the transition from a quiet rural farming life to the hectic and challenging one of being a student in a large city.
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Recently, I gave two talks on child sexual abuse to eighty CEF children and their parents / grandparents. It is a thorny issue, but the Vietnamese almost never talk about this subject in their normal conversations.
I mainly helped them understand what child sexual abuse is, how this happens and how they can avoid this, and aimed most of it specifically at the children. At the beginning, the children and their parents looked very shy and embarrassed when I was explaining the reason why I was giving this talk. When I told them about real cases and reported the numbers within the last five years, they looked very shocked and upset and started thinking about this much more than before, they then suddenly realized that this could happen to their children.
The most important message I give to the parents who are mainly working all day in the rice fields, forests or factories or away doing a live in house-keeping job, and not with their children much, is that they need to spend more time with their children, to help them feel more secure and safe, and try to be their children’s friend so that their children have enough trust in them to tell them everything that happens to them. It is one of the best ways to help prevent child sexual abuse happening in this society.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Hien has spent most of her childhood so far living with granny and granddad as she wasn't 'allowed' to live with her mother and new stepfather. When he died she moved back home and is thrilled to be living with her mother again.
Thuy's father died recently and mum is struggling to support her and her older sister. She farms and makes shoes for a show factory.
Thuong's father died and mum is challenged to support and her older brother with her meagre income from travelling around her community by bike and selling vegetables that she grows.
Mum who is a builders labourer most of the time works to support her two daughters and son. It's a hard way for her to support herself, the three children and granny as well.
Dad is supporting her as well as her younger brother and older sister. He tries to find jobs that give him enough to support them, but they usually mean he is not home at night. He worries about the girls when he is not there, but the day time jobs don't give him enough income.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Marjorie came to the new office and met the staff which she enjoyed.
She went on local home visits on the back on Thuy's motorbike and found the experience of being on the motorbike exhilarating, the home visits interesting and sometimes upsetting.
She met with the girl she sponsors as well as the mother. She was thrilled to meet them as her student is a lovely girl as well as a hard-working and clever student. Mum is a loving, caring, thoughtful and responsible mother.
Marjorie with Trinh and her mother.
Marjorie is at present out on her last day of home visits in Duy Xuyen, a district adjacent to Hoi An and will be visiting 13 children today that are in our sponsorship program.
Monday, March 12, 2018
Stephen, CEF's US manager arrived last week and has been relaxing and recovering from the long trip, but also has met the staff, saw our new office and has been on a home visit day to meet some of our children and their families.
It's good to have him here and great he comes annually to stay in touch with our work here, with the staff, the children and families too.
Monday, March 5, 2018
These are the children who came to the payment presentation in Dai Loc recently. On this day we started with a talk about Child Sexual Abuse which we followed with the payments for term 2.
We don't usually do a talk and it normally is impossible to get busy parents and grandparents to come to a talk, so we told them there would be a talk that was compulsory to attend before the payments were given.
We felt we had to make it compulsory as this is a very important subject for all the children and their parents to understand. We talked about what it is, how it happens, why it happens, how to avoid it and what to do if it happens. We gave them statistics and stories about local children who have been abused to make it real for them. They were given emergency numbers as well.
This was one of the four workshops we did on this subject over two weekends.
Friday, March 2, 2018
Thuy Dinh is our newest CEF staff member. We are very happy to have her join the team as we are very busy and need another team member.
She is a recent university graduate who is passionate about doing charity work and working with the poor. She has had a challenge time to get a university education and understands the importance of inspiring the students to aim high and for them to persevere no matter how hard it is to achieve their dreams.