Monday, June 13, 2011

Free English classes for 4 of our girls

I wanted to share some exciting news. 'STEC' Smart Tutoring English Centre, a new enterprise in Hoi An has given some sponsored places at their centre to the local NGO's. Four of our children have been given the wonderful opportunity to study English there for a year due to two organizations providing the funds for scholarships. The scholarship funds come from 'Educational International Foundation' (
and from 'Global Literacy Foundation' (

This is a very exciting and a wonderful opportunity for the children. As Hoi An is a 'tourist town' and the coast from here to Danang is being developed with one resort after another, the children will benefit from having good English when applying for work in the future.

Photos of the Nhu, Tinh, Van and Thanh are included in this blog as well of the reception area and the lovely colorful shoes outside the entrance during class time!

In Vietnam it's traditional to remove shoes before entering a room, unless you are told to leave them on which might be the case when floors are earthen or very dirty or its a large enterprise such as a supermarket. Most children are taught to take them off before entering their class room too, therefore this lovely colorful collection of shoes sitting outside the front door of the centre.

STEC is looking for local ex-pats or long term volunteers to teach English or to have English conversation with the children. If you are a local ex-pat with some free time and can help out for a few hours a week they would hugely appeciate it. Visit them at 596 Hai Ba Trung Street. It's next to a building site which is across the road from Donga Bank. See Karen Chun whose organization supports and co-funds this enterprise. Her website is

Friday, June 3, 2011

A day at the beach for those we have with sponsorships in Quang Nam province

These photos are by Nadine who lives down on the edge of the beach with Huong, her daughter. Most mornings, weather permitting they go to the beach to play. Nadine has taken many pictures showing the beauty of the ocean and the whiteness of the beach. This is where we plan to take all the children who are in our sponsorship program in Quang Nam.

Only one child lives within a kilometre of the beach but most live a 2-3 hour drive away from the sea. So they will be coming from far and wide, and nearby, for this day by the sea; from Duy Xuyen, Thanh Binh, Tam Ky, Nui Thanh and from Hoi An.

We have a few volunteers so far, but still we need more adults to help on this day. A football team may even come together for this event. More adults are needed to volunteer for this outing on August 7th.

We will start with a talk on water safety before they are allowed to get into the water. Swimming lessons will happen too. We have some strong swimmers lined up to help on this day and even more would be appreciated. Some have life saving experience too, althought we hope they won't be needed at all! Besides the talk and swimming lessons - beach games, refreshments, snacks and lunch are planned. There will be some costs for this day so donations would be appreciated to help cover them (banking details are below the list of blogs on the right side).

Do get in touch if you are here in Hoi An and available to help! This will be a day for the children to remember as a special day and I am as excited as I hope the children are!

Support for CEF in Gourmet Safari Newsletter

Maeve O'Maera whose business 'Gourmet Safaris' runs culinary tours in Vietnam twice a year. has written a couple of very supportive paragraphs about CEF in one of her newsletters.

To earn some money to support myself while being the director and In-Country Manager of Children's Education Foundation, I work as the tour leader of her culinary tours. Many people on these Gourmet tours are very supportive of CEF with some now being long term sponsors.

The last group I took through Vietnam were very kind and thoughtful and I decided to use some funds they gave me to support a young girl in Hoi An who needs help to be able to receive an education. (See the pictures above.) She is a very sweet and bright girl. Her father is young, but has had cancer for some years and is in and out of hospital. How long he has left is unknown. They no longer can afford her education, so she now will be sponsored for a year by 'The Girls' from the March Gourmet Safari.

This is what Maeve wrote:

Vietnamese Gourmet Safari

"Our group of travelers are just back from a journey from top to bottom of Vietnam, cooking along the way and learning and being indulged along the way. Our groups are spoilt for guides on this safari – we have local Vietnamese guide Long Nguyen who has been with our groups from the start and takes great care of our guests; there’s the bouncy food savvy Peter Nguyen who now lives in Cabramatta and delights in showing us his homeland and introducing us to his extended family. And there’s expatriate Australian Linda Burn whom the angels brought me as a guide.

Linda lives in Hoi An in central Vietnam and has been there for over 10 years. She has had many professions in her life and she’s now head of a charity which helps young girls receive an education – its called the Children’s Education Foundation. ( )

Like Peter, Linda can translate between cultures, opening up the culture and cuisine. She’s terrific.

Linda says the group who travelled with her in March had so much fun they tipped her handsomely – and Linda is putting the money towards educating a beautiful little girl. That’s good karma! See Linda's blog; "

The next Vietnam Gourmet Safari is 11th to 21st September 2011.
Gourmet Safaris tours:

Link to the article is:

Article in LIVE HOI AN

These are a couple of pictures of CEF children that are included in the article in 'Live Hoi An'.

'Live Hoi An' is a free Hoi An publication that Amy, a local Australian puts together with events, local activities, good restaurants, shopping, accomodation, sightseeing plus much more. She is very spportive of all the local's, both Vietnamese and western and tries to promote the work we all do in her beautiful publication with wonderful photos by local photographers. It's both useful to those of us that live here and visitors to Hoi An.

Amy writes many of the articles but some other locals do too including Sam Miller who is a sustainable business consultant. Xanh Business Consulting is her business and her website address. Sam wrote an article titled 'Getting An Education' which included information on Children's Education Foundation and what we do here in Vietnam. This was a good article and helped let the community and visiting tourists know about CEF. It's a blessing to have people like Amy and Sam in the local community who make efforts to support charity work.

The link to the article in Live Hoi An:

Interview with Miriam

The following is an interview with Miriam who is a CEF volunteer in Vietnam. Miriam is going to be in Australia in June and will be helping to find sponsors for some children still in need of educational sponsorships and will be raising funds for CEF as well.

Linda:"Miriam, I first met you in Hanoi about seven years now when you were about to leave at the end of one of your many trips to Vietnam. I know you have been here twice since then and each of those times for a considerable period of time. What is it about Vietnam that draws you back again and again?"

Miriam: "I originally came here on holiday and saw the orphanage in Hoi An and couldn't stop thinking about the disabled children on their beds with nothing to do and no loving care. That is how it started."

Linda:"Why do you think you are drawn to helping Vietnamese have a better life?"

Miriam:"I'm not really sure why. The longer I am here the more I see a need not only for assistance but also compassion. It sometimes feels as though the history of oppression here has meant that for many it is about survival at all costs and it seems to me that the spiritual aspect of life has suffered greatly and needs time to repair. During this process it seems that the poor, disabled, sick or those without family have no where to turn."

Linda: "You are very supportive of the work CEF does of giving assistance to girls from poor families so that they may receive an education. Does education for impoverished females particularly mean something to you and why?"

Miriam: "As in most Asian countries boys are always put ahead of girls, and although I don't see it as my role to interfere with the culture here I believe, and it has been shown that by educating girls, they then return that help to improving the standard of living and ultimately being able to work and then to send their own children to school."

Linda: "It has been most fortunate to have your support in a variety of ways recently and shortly you will be doing presentations and telling stories about Vietnam in Victoria, Australia. What do you think are the most important things to share with others so they understand how hard it is for the poor to give their children an education?"

Miriam: "I think that it is very hard for many people to understand the level of poverty here in Vietnam. Most of us in the west do not even understand how fortunate we are to have the lives that we have, the freedom and the opportunities to direct our own lives. I think that by sharing the stories of some of the children and showing photo's that may help. Every picture is worth a thousand words as they say."

Linda: "How will you explain why we have a bias to helping girls receive an education?"

Miriam: "There is a lot of proof that helping girls to receive an education is useful as they tend to put their earning back into their family or their village and often form collectives. The other reason is related to human trafficking. Girls with more confidence and education are safer from this. Perhaps families with educated girls will appreciate them more and see their potential and some might be saved from being sold."

Linda: "Having lived here for some time I am sure you clearly see the advantages of a female having a full education. Could you just share a couple of the benefits you see the educated females have over the uneducated."

Miriam: "I have met many young women in Viet Nam, some educated and some not. I am generalizing a little here, but the educated have more confidence and are able to speak for themselves. They can obtain work and become more independent. Women in abusive relationships, (which there are no laws against in Viet Nam) can sometimes leave those situations if they are able to support themselves. Many uneducated females are forced into working in what we would call sweat shops. They do not feel safe, they are at the lowest end of the social scale in Viet Nam, and are often treated with contempt. The girls that I meet through my work with CEF are beginning to blossom, they are proud of their accomplishments, they hold hope for the future of their families."

Linda: "Thanks so much for answering these questions and I hope in you doing this interview many will understand the work you support in Vietnam.

I am thrilled you are going to meet with friends and their friends and talk about CEF and our work. I hope you will enjoy your trip back to Australia and these opportunities to find educational support for Vietnamese children, especially sponsors or donors."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Miriam and CEF awareness raising in Victoria , Australia

Miriam heads off to Australia very soon. While there she will help raise awareness about CEF, make an effort to raise needed funds and find sponsors for children waiting for an educational sponsorship. She has organized a couple of get togethers with friends and will be doing some presentations.

She is a great supporter and already has done much to help CEF's children. Just a few of the things she has done while here:
Given advice to CEF about some of our more difficult family situations.
Helped try to find out who will care for parentless children when the grandparents pass away (which is a very sensitive issue). She has a way of communicating with them that is very tender and caring.
Miriam also has found sponsors and sponsored a child herself.
She has raised funds for medicine for an ill mother (CEF has organized a sponsorship for the child of this woman) and helped raise funds to relocate a family to a flood-free zone during our rainy season.

We are very grateful for all she has done so far and wish her luck at the meetings and presentations she will be giving in Victoria, Australia.

Please also see 23-12-2010 blog and 2-11-2010 blog too)