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.