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.’

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Suong, a sad story, but with hope ~Guest blog by CEF's Thuy Tran

Suong’s family lives in one of the poorest remote villages in Phuoc Son district. In this village, most of the people are alcoholics and are all related to each other. Many husbands and wives are cousins. Almost everyone does farming. They plant vegetables, collect wood, honey, and wild vegetables in the forest for their family and then share with their relatives if they have too much. Suong's parents can't make any money because they are alcoholics. There is nothing in their house except for clothes and a few kitchen items which look like they haven’t been used for a long time. Because the soil is not suitable for planting rice, the Government supports them with enough rice to eat, but the alcoholics exchange it for rice wine. When they are hungry and need a meal, they go to their relatives who have food. Over the last three years Suong's parents got worse as they have been drunk every day and haven’t worked much which makes Suong and her sister not want to stay home anymore. Suong moved to live with her aunt's family while her sister went to live with granny's family in the same village.

Suong is one of five students in the village who continues their studies at high school. During the academic year, she stays at the school dorm as it takes her two and a half hours from home to school by motorbike. Most of the young people in her community just finished their secondary school education or some just primary school education. They all believe that it is expensive to go to high school and they can't afford it. Suong told them about her experience and that it doesn’t cost much money to go to high school. Sadly, no-one believes her because she has a cousin who works in construction in the lowland and sometimes gives her US$8.70 when he visits home. Suong is determined not to live at home, and continue her education, as she loves going to school and wants to be a literature teacher in the future.

(Name changed)
(Photos show the row of houses where they live and Suong)