Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our most recent microloans are going well

Our 'micro-loans' are going well. Two are complete and we have two more that have been in place for a few months now. We are slowly trying out some small loans with families we have worked with for some years and know well, in the hope that they will gradually be less dependant on our support to educate their children. We see it as a slow and gradual process and feel it is one of the ways we can help long term.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Food Parcels for New Year

New year food parcels have been promised for the five struggling mothers listed in the last blog! They will be thrilled!

In Vietnam the New Year is very special;it's a time of praying for the ancestors, paying off old debts, patching up arguments over meals, repair and repainting of homes, as well as feasting on special celebratory dishes. We have many families who can't afford the everyday basics, let alone any of the extra activities and foods of New year, and it is just a stressful time for them.

Chris is a couch-surfer and asks for donations towards charity work from his couch-surfing guests;the kitty has filled up and he is able to promise the five mothers I mentioned a new year food parcel each. This will enable them to have some special celebratory meals together. The parcel will contain many basics such as soy sauce, fish sauce, oil, dried fish and some New Year treats such as glutinous rice, special fruits and Banh Chung.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Single mums struggle to keep their children

We have many single mothers struggling to keep their children. We have several mothers who have already given away one child as they couldn't afford to feed them. Some are unemployed due to health issues and some are earning a pittance; 20 cents a day or 50 cents a day and most have no relatives near by to offer physical or financial help. It is hard to feed, clothe and house a child on so little. Most of the single mums and their children only have one set of clothes,in poor condition too.

We also have mothers who are like single mothers as their husband is dying or has had brain injury and therefore he can't contribute and is another person for the mother to care for.

Every New Year is the most stressful time for a mother. It is traditional to buy a new outfit for everyone in the family, to eat new year celebratory dishes, to repair and paint their home, as well as pay off debts. Most of the mums of the children in our education programs can't do any of that,as they are too poor. This makes Tet a very stressful and not a happy celebratory time. Straight after Tet, term 2 school fees are due.

We help relieve some stress for these mothers and help them support their child to be educated and have a future with better options than their mothers by paying all school related costs for their child. You can help too. You can help a mum and their child in a very simple way:
Cook a meal at your home for a few friends and ask each to make a donation for dinner.
Over the holiday season when you get together with friends ask each one to donate; maybe $5. It adds up and makes a BIG difference!

With your donation please send a note to let us know if you would like to help a specific mother and child, and if you would like the funds to buy clothes or food. Thank you so much for helping them.

Here are just a few of our mums who struggle to care for their children:
Y and her mum; Y has a pink t-shirt on.
Minh and mum; Minh also has a pink T-shirt. Her mother has a pale green top on.
Hang and mum; Hang has a pale colored pyjama outfit on.
Phuong and mum; Phuong has a cardigan on.
An and mum; An has a tortoise-green top on.

If you have questions please email me, Linda:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flooding in my home town - Hoi An

Every year in Quang Nam there is flooding. Some of the worst is in Hoi An where I live. Either there is a small flood or two, or a large one or two; even a small flood affects many and the large ones are very serious resulting in many deaths. This year there were heavy rains for days and serious flooding, as there was two years ago and three years ago, etc. Hoi An residents expect floods yearly and are very adaptable, but still it's a bad situation to have to accept on an annual basis.

Many streets of shops, restaurants and businesses had to shut down for several days due to not being able to access them because of the flooding. They lost very needed incomes.

Two of the families we help had to abandon their homes and move in with relatives in dry areas unaffected by the floods. Many friends were affected; one had 1 1/2 metres of water in her shop, another 1 meter in her restaurant, another had to move out of his home and live in his office. Each of them has mud to get rid of from inside now, they have damaged personal effects and equipment and have now to do repairs and repaint. I was lucky; my house and land have been built up three foot above the level of the path outside my land and only my garden flooded right to the edge of the house.

But for others it was much more serious with their flimsy homes being washed away and 100 plus people have died due to the recent flooding.

From BBC News
...Nguyen Minh Tuan, a disaster officer in Quang Nam, told the BBC Vietnamese service that the province had been hit by four days of flooding. "Quang Nam province gets hit by floods every year. Local people in this area are getting used to living with floods - they have to find a way to adapt," he said..

We who live there don't believe they should have to adapt when money could be spent to change the situation and relieve a large community from unnecessary yearly suffering and more importantly, save many lives each year.

Photos from Quan.