Saturday, December 29, 2012

Home visits in Duy Xuyen

Today I was thinking about changes in the lives of some of the children in our Duy Xuyen education program.

When we first started helping some of these Duy Xuyen children six years ago they only had what we would consider temporary homes; homes made from various materials such as wood planks, bamboo, plant fibres, aluminium sheeting, plastic sheeting and they all had mud floors. Because some of them are registered as very poor with the local government, those families have been given grants to build small new homes. Not really enough funding to do so, but a good start with a bank loan or loan from relatives or help from another charity to build little homes.

It was good to reflect on the fact that their lives are easier now; they have stable homes and educational support for their children. They are still poor, but have their children in school, and have homes that are fairly waterproof, making their lives easier and less stressful; although most of them now have home loans.

Friday, December 28, 2012

More books for the mobile library

Graeme bought some traditional stories for younger children and interesting books for the older children today. Thank you Graeme for adding to our growing collection of books for the children.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Along a muddy lane on the edge of Hoi An is Nga’s house. It looks over a flat expanse of rice fields stretching into the hazy distance. Stooped figures move calf-deep in the mud. It’s the time of year to prepare the paddies for planting.

Nga’s family do not own land but their front garden is lush with vegetables:sweet potatoes cover the ground and green beans climb up the trellis around the garden and along the path leading to the front door.

She’s growing up in an unusual family for Viet Nam: Nga’s mum is the breadwinner and her father stays at home looking after the kids and the house. And it feels a nice place to be despite its chaotic construction of wood and coconut matting, rough earth floor and rusty tin roof.

It’s Christmas day and we’re visiting Nga with Ted Mylnarz. He’s representing Liverpool Rotary who are paying for the schooling of Nga and nine other children in central Viet Nam.

That day we visited four more families all with very different circumstances but with one thing in common: they all know that one of their children will finish school.

(Photos and blog by Graeme Burn, CEF Manager, Australia)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is anyone upgrading their electronic equipment or have some free time and can help on a long term basis?

Children's Education Foundation is a small NGO helping poor girls in Vietnam receive an education.

We need some help and you might be able to help us.

Making a difference doesn't need to involve doing anything dramatic, such as giving up ones family or present lifestyle; there are small ways people can help charities, and that makes a difference. A charity doesn't function without help from quite a few people it is hard to do our work without many forms of assistance.

Children's Education Foundation has a few needs and maybe some of you are upgrading equipment and could help us out at the same time. Are you happy to donate your older equipment to CEF?

Maybe some of you can give a little time on an ongoing basis without having to travel overseas?

We don't need new equipment, but we would find some equipment useful:
2 portable laptops in good condition
1 iPad in good condition

Also we are looking for some long-term, part-time volunteers to help us. We need:
A web developer
Someone to maintain the website
Someone with marketing experience
Someone with NGO experience in sponsor communication to help with our sponsor communication
A fund raising manager and fundraising team
A bookkeeper

If you think you can help in any way, please do email me, Linda:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why not now? Why not make a difference now?

Why not now? Why not make a difference now?

So many people I meet say they will do something to help others when they retire, or when their children leave home.

There are so many things people can do to make a difference to the lives of others right now, and they don't need to be rich to make a difference either.

Just decide what is meaningful for you, and you will be able to speak to others with passion and will find the strength and clarity to act and make a difference. You will find if you decide to act now, that decision will immediately make a difference and will continue to make a difference.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We are looking for 3 long term volunteers in Australia

Children's Education Foundation is only a small non-profit organization helping poor girls in Vietnam to receive an education, but we do need some help! If you would like to help us and can make a long term commitment we would love to talk with you.

An experienced book keeper - We need a long term volunteer:
This person would preferably be in Sydney to be able to easily meet with the Australian CEF manager to work on accounts. A monthly meeting would be required. Experience with Salesforce is preferable.

An experienced website person - We need a long term volunteer:
Someone who would be happy to do a major upgrade to the website every couple of years and to add newsletters, photos or new information up to 4 times a year. Communication can be by email.

A sponsor communications person - We need a long term volunteer:
We need someone who already has experience with sponsor communication for a charity. They preferably need to be in Sydney so the Australian manager can meet with them and so I can meet with them when in Australia.

Please email me if you think you can help with one of these CEF needs with your name, where in Australia or Sydney you live, a contact number and how you feel you could help us.

Thank you!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Guest blog by Miriam about our first CEF Beach Outing

Hi this is Miriam here and I volunteer for CEF. Last year while I was in Hoi An we had the first beach day for the children. The children that are supported by CEF come from all over Quang Nam Province. There are also children in neighboring Danang province and northern Thai Binh province; but this outing was for the Quang Nam children.

We needed to organise a bus, meeting places, lunch to be brought to the beach, games and toys, sun block, drinks, snacks, volunteers to ensure the safety of the children and paid Vietnamese lifeguards. So well done to Linda; it was a big undertaking and big financial committment from an NGO. The day started with a fairly quite group who were solemnly given instructions by the VN lifeguards.

Some took to the water (fully clothed as is often the way here), but many held back in fear and perhaps wonderment mixed in. So trying to set a good example I entered the water with one of the younger girls (her parents had been lost in the floods, so she was very reticent, but not by the end of the day! I had on my long shorts and mans shirt for modesty. It was so funny to see the children struck almost dumb when the tourist walked by in bikinis; for them it was almost like seeing a naked person.

Once in the water they didn't want to come out, they did manage a couple of games, where we all cheated like mad and there was so much laughter and fun as we tried to fill water bottles with seawater without using our hands. The Kites and prizes were most popular.

A lovely vegetarian lunch was enjoyed by all followed by a nap, but needless to say the nap was very short as most wanted to play and learn more in the sea. Some enjoyed the kites and playing on the beach.

Towards the end of the day it was delightful to see those who had learned something helping the others, the comradery between the children was enchanting. To see children with so little sharing and supporting one another, to say nothing of the perpetual laughter and friendships that were made that day.

I feel as though I was honoured to be a part of this great day, I missed the one this year as I was in Australia, but I will be back for the next one!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest blog by Brian - 'Doubly Hard'

Life for many in the picturesque rural countryside of Thai Binh Province in Northern Vietnam can be very hard. The tranquil setting of small villages, dominated by beautiful church spires and old Chinese style buildings, tucked into the verdant green rice fields, belies the often difficult daily struggle faced by so many in those communities.

Many families are almost totally reliant on the output from their small rice plot as the principal source of food and a meagre cash income. And it is typically a full family effort; every able bodied family member doing their bit to ensure the best possible yield.

The loss of the physical presence of a key family member can have a significant impact on the family effort to provide for itself. But how doubly hard can it be when a family, already battling impoverished circumstances, is faced with the emotional stress of a beloved wife and mother of four young children suddenly up and leaving the home.

Such is the case for one particular family in the village of Phuc Li. The four young children of the Nguyen family were devastated some five years ago when their mother, with no explanation or warning, left the family home, never to be seen nor heard from again. The case was brought to the attention of CEF, which has seen fit to provide education support for the children in the hope that they may be able to build a life for themselves despite their hurt and the loss of a mother’s nurturing and guidance.

The family now comprises the father, his 75 year old father, twin boys Do and Doc, and sisters Diu and Nga.

The emotional plight of the children is accentuated by the fact that it is necessary for their father to spend long periods away from home in an attempt to earn a living for the family. Thus the physical and spiritual care of the children falls largely on the shoulders of the grandfather, a delightful and spritely old gentleman. However, it is a matter of concern that his ability to keep doing this for much longer must be questionable.

The emotional effect on a child of being deserted by a loved parent is profound. CEF representatives on annual visits to the family try to give these children a feeling that there are those who care about them, and who are willing to stick with them to help them build their own life, despite the cruel hand that fate has dealt them.

There are so many deserving cases but this is one that CEF firmly hopes to see result in a real success story.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tough Mudder Fundraising for Children's Education Foundation

A recent donation made possible the purchase of these books for the children!Two of our staff went book shopping this weekend and chose a wonderful selection of books!

Morwenna, one of my children is raising funds for Children's Education Foundation through her and her teams efforts in perhaps the worlds toughest physical competition!! I can't even imagine the training they are doing to be able to do this competition!

The funds Morwenna and her team will raise doing this very, very tough competition go towards the Children's Education Foundation mobile library, most will go towards getting a motorbike, book boxes, and a frame made to carry book boxes and many books.

We will then have the means to frequently get these books to the children in the many communities we help throughout Quang Nam and Da Nang. The more funds we have the more books we can get, which will allow us to get books be be shared with all their siblings and if funds allow we can purchase educational books for the parents as well.

Last week which was the beginning of this term we started this project on a very small scale; we took the books we had to the children when we visited them. This week we took some more. Next week we have many more to take the children we will see over the weekend.

CEF financially supports many children to have an education, but we wish to further support literacy amongst the children we have in school in our sponsorship programs; this obviously increases their knowledge, but also opens up possibilities in thinking; opens up their world.

A highly literate person is a more employable person; this is very important especially in developing countries!

Please support this education project, which helps the children to be better students, have better tertiary education possibilities, open up their world and help give them have better futures with more choices!

Please donate on this site:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chris has not only sponsored 4 children but raised funds for 3 roofs

Chris has been very kind and generous; he is a man with a big heart. He has sponsored two boys for several years and recently started to help two girls with their education and one with food too. He has also arranged the sponsorship of another girl. He has couch surfers stay at his home and they have made donations and he has been able to raise funds for three new roofs this way. The three families had seriously delapidated roofs and one roof is now complete, one nearly complete and one is to have work starting on it next week. All three families will be dry for the rainy season and so will their school books! The families are thrilled and so are we! Thank you Chris for your big heart,kindness and generosity!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dental care for some of the CEF children

Some of our children have just received dental care from 'Vietnam Vision'. 'Vietnam Vision' is based in Sydney and their team visits Vietnam yearly and provides free medical care, particularly cataract surgery.
This year they also provided free dental care. Some of 'our children' who lived near the hospital where they were based on this trip were able to benefit from this generous help.
Most waited with apprehension, but as you can see from a couple of the pictures, it was fun for some! The girl who you see laughing was very confident that she had good teeth and no cavities, but she had cavities, as did half of 'our children'.
Thank you 'Vietnam Vision' for this very generous and beneficial gift!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Board of Directors

As the founding director and manager of CEF, I feel a good board of directors and advisors is crucial for the support we need, not just practically, but also emotionally. I am blessed with a caring, considerate, conscious and compassionate board, and advisors as well. They don't just care about the charity; what it is doing, how it is growing, and developing and it's future, but they also care about the families, about myself, and our staff. Most of my board and some of our advisors have even been to Vietnam to see the work we do and to experience it first hand. This has been very helpful as well, as their advice has then become even more finely attuned. This support is invaluable and hugely appreciated!

Monday, July 30, 2012

CEF children that Rotary has sponsored

We are thrilled that 2 Rotary Clubs in Sydney have taken on 10 sponsorships in the last few months between them. This is truly wonderful as this means 10 more children are in school. Rotary Clubs are located all over the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed or political preference. There are more than 32,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members world-wide. The members of Rotary Clubs are known as Rotarians. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary's best-known motto is "Service above Self". Children's Education Foundation and the children and their families or carers are thrilled for them to have this support for their education.
Oanh's father killed himself, and mum can't make ends meet and send her exceptionally bright child to school. Now Oanh can continue attending school due to the help of Rotary.
Minh is an exceptionally bright child who with Rotary's help is able to stay in school. Her mother has very poor health, can work very little and is responsible for her two children and a mentally-ill brother.
Quynh's mother has poor health and a debilitating skin disease. Her father had a major accident and is recovering still. They have a huge debt and neither parent can work. Mum does some sewing when she feels well enough. Quynh is a very bright girl and we are thrilled we can help keep her in school with the help of Rotary.
Nga's parents have many children, dad has poor health and can't work much. Mum can't earn enough to pay all costs including their education. Two children have been removed from school due to their poverty. We want to make sure Oanh has an education.
Huong's mum stays home and looks after the youngest child and dad can't earn much. We are ensuring Huong has an education with the support of Rotary.
Van's dad can't work as he had a work accident and has some paralysis. One lower leg had to be amputated recently. Mum can't earn enough to pay medical bills, pay for family expenses and send her children to school. One child has had to leave school and we are helping Van stay in school with Rotary's help.
Linh's mum collects garbage and also works part time as a helper in a kindergarten. Her husband died and she is now also responsible for her elderly father-in-law. She can't make ends meet and needed help to educate her children. Fortunately Rotary has helped.
Nguyet's dad left mum with the children and they live in an isolated area where there is very little work. Help was needed for the children to receive an education. Now that is possible.
Diem is a very bright girl. Her parents are unskilled laborers and have relocated in the hope of finding work. At present they have no income and live with granny. We are supporting Diem's schooling with Rotary's help.
Quoc's mum died of a stroke, dad died in an accident and they live with their grandparents who can't afford to educate them. Now he can stay in school as he has the support needed from Rotary.
Dung become a novice monk at one when his mother decided to become a nun. When he is old enough he can decide to leave if he wants. As his mother is a nun she doesn't earn any money to send him to school. Rotary is making it possible for him to be educated.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

About Phuc Le Education Program - Guest blog by Brian

At first glance the village of Phuc Le resembles a picture postcard of Vietnam. Lying, as it does, among lush green rice fields, on the soil rich floodplains of the Red River and its tributaries, the village presents an idyllic picture. And it is indeed a picturesque place. Mostly small brick and mortar cottages, nestled among the many fruit trees planted by residents, intersected with meandering narrow concrete pathways. Dotted throughout are many small ponds, often covered with colourful water lilies; and a haven for the fish, being nurtured as an important food source for the villagers. However, as is often the case, appearances can be deceiving. Behind this picture and that presented by the personal cleanliness and neatness of the residents, lies a story of a constant struggle by many against poverty. The majority of families eke out a living from the small rice plot they lease from the Government (average 1,000 Sq Metre – about the size of the average house block in Australia or US). After setting aside enough grain for the family’s own use, the remainder is sold to realise a small cash income, about $US300 annually. Where circumstances and opportunity allow, families attempt to supplement their farming activities with other sources of cash income. Some get casual labouring work on local building sites. Others opt for one parent to leave and take work in a factory near one of the big cities. But then there are those who, because of broken relationships, poor health and other reasons are unable to avail themselves of such opportunities. Bui Chu is a young man from Phuc Le, who has a strong desire to the children in his village get the same opportunities in life through education that he has had. Chu has for some years assisted CEF in identifying those families in greatest need, in terms of providing an education for their children. As a part-time (infrequent) assistant to Linda and the CEF team, it has been a great pleasure, indeed a privilege, for me to be able to accompany Chu on five occasions as part of the annual monitoring of students in receipt of CEF support. It is so humbling to sit with these families, who despite their impoverished dwellings and the very hard and difficult lives they lead, are so welcoming and hospitable; and so appreciative of the help. Above all, I delight in having, over the years, been able to watch our students grow and change, many now showing the benefits of their education in their emerging assertiveness and self-confidence. I can only say that all of you who have contributed to giving these kids a chance of a better life can be assured that it is appreciated. A new generation of young people is emerging that, unlike their forebears, will not be sentenced to a life of slaving in the rice fields. On behalf of the kids of Phuc Le - A GREAT BIG THANK YOU.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CEF New York Fundraising Event (VIDEO)

Here's a glimpse at a fundraiser we held in New York City - thank you to all our wonderful donors.

Look out for news of fundraising event in August in New York!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A roof replaced due to internal waterfalls when it rained

A roof that had internal waterfalls when it rained, has been replaced, thanks to the donations of a kind sponsor and his couch surfing friends. Thank you Chris!

This is the home of one of the girls in our education sponsorship program. She couldn't do her homework anywhere when it rained due to all the rain that entered through the roof. This single mother and her daughter are both overwhelmed and thrilled with their new roof!

The pictures show the roof off and the new roof.

A few more of Brian's photos of the Phuc Le children

 These lovely photos were taken of our girls in Phuc Le by Brian Kuhl. We are helping the girls receive an education as they all come from poor families that can't afford their education. These girls will have a future with choices. they will be educated women who can make a difference!