Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anh Thuong has a free place to study English at STEC

Anh Thuong now has a place at STEC, the local English language school, along with six other of our children. Anh Thuong is the youngest of the children we are helping by quite some years. She is very bright, sociable and already has some English because her mother speaks a little English and she has taught her what she knows.

It's wonderful to know they will have these free English classes for two years. They might even have sponsored places for longer. For example another one of our girls, Phuong, has been guaranteed free English classes at STEC for the whole of her schooling.

Hoi An's main industry is tourism. Good English is required for many jobs in Hoi An. Shop keepers, waitresses and restaurant managers, head of housekeeping, receptionists, spa workers and managers, tour guides and cooking school teachers, web designers and business managers all need good English. So this is a great advantage for the children to have this free help with their English.

Children with new educational sponsorships

Recently we had four more sponsors take on five children's educational sponsorships which is wonderful news as that is five more girls who will have a complete education and not a future like three of their mothers who are garbage collectors.

Linda and her mother are sharing the college education costs of Thuy Hang. She will be very employable after completing college. She has just started her studies in administration. Thuy Hang has no one in her family to help her through college as both her parents drowned and all her siblings are poor.

Louise is sponsoring Hang and Hong whose single mother is both a rice farmer and garbage collector. She can't make a living as a rice farmer, but with being a garbage collector as well she has managed to look after the girls. But now their education costs have escalated with the rising costs due to the stage they are at in their education, and also due to inflation in Vietnam. This is wonderful news for their mother as this will relieve some of her stress. Besides financial worries, she has very poor health, as well as having a very ill, dying mother to care for.

Lynne is sponsoring both Phuong and An. They live near each other in the mountains and one of their mother's is a garbage collector, which is hard for her as she has poor health. The other mother makes rattan chairs as she had an accident and her leg is severely damaged so she can't walk easily or do any hard work. She only makes $1 per chair: someone else clearly is making the money from her hard work.

We always have girls (and a few boys) in need of sponsors; children who need a sponsor to enable them to receive an education, so if anyone is interested in helping a child from a poor family be educated, please do get in touch!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Visit to see the Phuc Le children in our northern education program

The last few months have been very busy with home visits followed by school payment visits with our local coordinators. We have seen all of the children in all our projects except four children who were in HCM City at the time with their parents who were in desperate need of work.

The last home visits were to Phuc Le in the northern province of Thai Binh. Thao, Miriam and Chu came along to help. Thao has helped for two years and does the translating. She is very organized as well as being an excellent translator. Miriam is our volunteer social worker and family therapist and has organized quite a few sponsorships for children in Phuc Le. I wanted her to meet the community and the children who were being sponsored by her friends. I also wanted her advice and help with one family of concern in this community. Chu is our coordinator for the project and we have been working with him now for five years. Father Thao is the local priest of this parish and helps to organize all the interviews with the children and parents.

While in Phuc Le we did interviews of all the children; all of them came along with a parent or guardian, for example with a granny or granddad. We had some photos of sponsors to give the children and we took photos of the children to give sponsors. If anyone wants to send us photos to give to the children next time we see them please do.

We also gave lamps, desks and chairs to some children who needed them. Some of the homes are very dark so lamps were needed and some children have been sitting on beds or floors to do their homework so a desk was needed. Shanti designed a beautiful calendar for 2011 and the money from the sale of them has paid for these lamps, desk and chairs.

We all visited the family that we were most concerned about to try to find some solutions for their problems. We had been given lots of lovely warm socks by Trisha and Robin and gave four pairs to the children to keep their feet warm in the icy northern winters. They were amused by the idea as they had never worn socks before. We walked to the local shops to buy some new school footwear for each child as their footwear was falling apart or was too small. We organized for a devout Buddhist breakfast cook to provide breakfast each day for the children before they went to school as they were hungry because the aunt looking after them didn't have enough money to feed them three times a day.

All the children had written letters to their sponsors so we spent our evenings translating letters.

It's been a wonderful period catching up with all the children and families and now we have a couple of months of report writing to do so we can contact all our sponsors with updates, photos and letters.

Miriam our volunteer social worker and family therapist in Phuc Le

Miriam came to Phuc Le to to meet the children who have challenging situations and to offer professional advice. Photos: Miriam with the children,or on her way to meet them, in interviews, and with Tham who she found a sponsor for.