Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Profits to Turn into Desks from the Sale of the 2011 CEF Calender

2011 is not far off and Shanti my first-born has created a beautiful calendar to raise the funds needed for desks for the children in our northern project - in the Phuc Le Education Project. She has now visited Phuc Le twice and the photos she has taken are of the children,the families,their homes and a vegetable plot. As she works in the film industry and has an artistic eye she has taken many lovely photos. Five of the calendar photos I have included in this post.

They give an idea of what some of the northern farming homes are like. Farming communities are quite traditional and still uphold many Confucius and Taoist traditions. What you can't really see in the photos are the unspoken stories.

It's a hard life for the farmers as the weather has become more unpredictable resulting in families never knowing if the next crop will be successful or will be washed away in a flood or destroyed by winds or hail.

This means many parents leave their children in the care of their parents and go to a large city to earn money as they no longer can earn enough to feed, dress and educate their children.

In a one-roomed farmhouse which we would consider large enough for one or two people, it wouldn't be unusual to find five or six people living in it. It's not uncommon for any unmarried sisters to live with one of their brothers or sisters and help out with the farming, cooking and domestic chores. The eldest son usually has his parents living with him too. The children are used to an extended family living under the one roof and sharing the family bed with them all.

One man we help has four children and lives in a small one-room farmhouse extension with the main one-roomed farmhouse having his unmarried brother, two aunts, one uncle and his father living in it. Several farmhouses in the community have elderly relatives looking after their grandchildren. One family we help has a one-roomed farmhouse with grandparents, one uncle and two little girls living there.

In the cities it's quite different as many want to just live with their partner and their own children. They are conscious of the nuclear family structure and are making the effort to become more western, not realizing how much it will change their lives. Now many infants go into care at two or three months so the mother can return to work where before her mother or his mother or aunt would have helped care for the infants and children allowing the mother and father to work.

Profits from these beautiful calendars are to make study easier for the children in this project. Profit will go towards making desks to help them more easily do their home work and not get chills. At present many do homework on a cold floor through the winter. Even though many people imagine Vietnam to be hot all the time - it's not. The winters in Phuc Le are coooold as they get quite a few snowy winds blowing in from cold northern areas of China through the winter! While where I live in the centre of Vietnam has mild winters and I only need a warm layer early and late in the day.

I hope that you are rather old-fashioned like me and use a real calendar, one that you can see and touch and has pictures and you turn the pages over, and not a mechanical calendar on your I-phone or on an another amazing invention. If so I think you'll appreciate this calendar of the traditional northern village of Phuc Le, its homes, farmhouses and people. At the same time you will also be helping the children have less chills and better school results!

If you would like a calendar or can sell a few for us please see the information below:
If you live in Australia or New Zealand please contact:
Graeme Burn, Australian coordinator at c.e.f.vietnam@gmail.com

Or if you are in Asia contact:
Linda Burn, Founding Director and In-Country Manager at c.e.f.vietnam@gmail.com or cef.vn.usa@gmail.com

And if you are in the States or Canada please contact the USA Coordinator, Stephen Jackel or Linda Burn at cef.vn.usa@gmail.com

Calendars are available now and we hope some of you are like me and enjoy a real calendar!

With huge thanks and love to Shanti for all her creative work to produce such a beautiful calendar,


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