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.

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