Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Miriam our volunteer social worker and family therapist is leaving Vietnam

Miriam is returning to Australia for an unknown period; she hopes to return. Over her remaining weeks she will have an opportunity to visit most of the children to say her goodbyes for now. They will be sad to see her go.

Over her time here she has gotten to know most of the children and has helped give advice on some of the more challenging cases. She also has had sensitive talks with elderly and sick relatives about 'what might happen if you are not very well'. How else does one sensitively ask 'what will happen when you die'? She has spent quite a lot of time with one of the ill mothers of a very sweet family which has been very helpful for both the mother and the family.

Miriam was a great help at our summer beach outing for the Quang Nam children too and had a lot of fun herself! She has also managed to raise funds and find sponsors for many of the children which has been a huge blessing. Miriam also sponsors a lovely girl whose single mother is a garbage collector.

Her caring nature has meant that many of the children and parents are very fond of her as she is warm and affectionate and humorous even without much Vietnamese. She has made many contributions to CEF in many different ways. We have all been fortunate to have her heart and help over her stay here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ngoc and Tam have just been sponsored

Their father was killed by a truck on his way home one evening four weeks ago.

The family are rice farmers, but dad was the main worker as mum has a bad back. She now is left with the challenge of the daily care of the children and earning enough to support them. Thanks to Kerry and her partner who committed to helping these girls with their education long term, that is now one big stress gone for mum.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lan and Quynh won't be pulled out of school now

Their mother is in hospital dying from breast cancer. Dad is her carer and hasn't got time to work. He isn't coping and is in a bad way himself.

If you are in hospital in Vietnam you need someone to care for you and provide food. Since dad has been caring for her for quite some time now, the family have had to borrow, and borrow more for her treatment, and now she is passing away.

There are no funds for the girls to continue their education. But now they are sponsored thanks to Morwenna and one of her friends. This means these bright girls will be able to continue their schooling.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Huynh Thuong collected a second hand bike from us today and ........

Huynh Thuong collected a second hand bike from us today and ended also being treated to a new top and trousers.

When expats live in Hoi An for a while they get bikes to get around on and when they leave they give them to one of the charities here for us to hand on to those in need of a bike. Ian and Ruth gave us their bikes and Ruth's was collected some weeks ago and today Ian's was collected by Huynh Thuong.

Huynh Thuong is an interesting girl. She lives with her mother, but for some time she lived in a pagoda and was a student nun. She still considers herself a student nun. To keep face she says very little about the situation but we gather that her mother didn't want her to be a nun and cried a lot as she missed her terribly, so Thuong went home out of pity for her mother.

She walks to school and had mentioned that a bike would make it much easier to get to school. So we allocated Ian's bike to her. As she lives a long way from Hoi An it has taken a while for her to get help to collect it.

We met up at Bao Thang Pagoda and the nuns there tried to persuade her to come live and study there. Out of duty to her mother she said nothing. But while she was there a volunteer who makes outfits for nuns whipped up a new Buddhist nun outfit for her. She tried the top on over her other nun clothes and showed us how it fitted perfectly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sometimes it's hard to know the best way to help

She is listening to her father talk about giving her and her little brother up. It's clear she is listening to a disturbing conversation.

Her little brother is about 2 1/2 now and their mum died when he was 3 months old. Dad has struggled to look after the two children and is close to giving up.

The little boy has poor health which is understandable since his mother was dying while carrying him. Dad works very little as his son can't go to child care when ill. This month he has managed to only work 3 days. This means each month he borrows from neighbors and relatives and then pays them back when he has earnt some money. The ongoing stress is getting close to too hard for him.

We took on all the education costs of his daughter two years ago and that has meant she has stayed in school. But now what is best to do?

When we saw her recently we had to do something more as dad was really upset as he had just had an orphanage manager come visit him and offer to take his children. It's not what he wants as he adores them, but he is exhausted and stressed with the ongoing health issues of his son and the lack of money.

So we spontaneously decided to pay for a thorough medical examination of his son at the best children's hospital in Quang Nam to see what really is wrong with him and to see if the local doctors are treating him correctly. We also decided to pay them some money each month for food to help relieve the stress a little.

We believe in keeping children with their family, especially young children. But we may only be delaying the day when he might have to give them up, but we want to delay that day as long as we can so they are that bit older.

If he remarries, which is very likely eventually, it is unlikely his new wife will accept his children. She will want children with him and poor people do not take their chldren into a new marriage as they can't afford the 'old' children and 'new' children. That's another subject.......

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kieu and Vi both are now sponsored

Last night I met Pam, Wayne and Drew as they really wanted to sponsor a girl; to help her have an education. When we met they not only decided to sponsor Vi (Photo of Vi on the left at the CEF office), but they also wanted to sponsor another girl, Kieu. Drew is 16 and Kieu is 16 so Drew is sponsoring her himself. I was very touched by this decision on Drew's part. They will get to meet both girls on Saturday at the CEF office.

An education for these girls would not be possible without help. Kieu's mother has poor health, works very hard as a rice farmer and makes straw mats when not farming. She still can't earn enough to support and educate her two remaining girls at home. Thuy is sponsored and now Kieu is. This is very good news. Vi's father has terminal cancer. Her mother struggles to make a living selling fruit at the market. Vi's father's medical bills are large and the priority naturally has been trying to get him treatment in the hope of helping him to suffer less and live longer.

They then told me they would like to help more and donated to the food fund and the medical fund! These two funds are new and so this was very helpful. We have found we need to help some of the children with medical issues and some are malnourished and need supplementation as well as more food.

I was overwhelmed by their generosity and thoughtfulness. So many blessings all in one evening!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One of the nuns we work with

We were discussing the technique a nun we started working with recently has for getting us to help children. She starts with bowing and saying "very very sorry Linda". I now know she has children she wants us to meet and help when she starts sentences like that. She managed to introduce 22 children in 3 months to us by using her powerful nun technique! They were all children that sincerely needed help.

I asked her why she became a nun. She said that at 7 she could see that people really didn't love each other; that they didn't show unconditional love and that they lied to each other. She saw that her society was filled with lies. There was nothing appealing about life in the world. She had never had anything traumatic or terrible happen in her life; it was just what she could see from a young age, naturally she became a nun at a young age.

The head nun of Dieu Giac Pagoda

The head nun of Dieu Giac pagoda has a huge heart and cares greatly about her local farming community.

I asked her why she became a nun. She said she went to university and studied economics. After graduation and a years work she just felt no interest in the worldly life and felt her love was far to big to give to one man or one family and decided to become a Buddhist nun and then she would be able to share her love with many.

Her concern for her local community of predominantly impoverished farmers means she has referred many children to us who need help to receive an education over the four years we have worked with her.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kim Chi has just been sponsored

Kim Chi has just been sponsored; now we know that she will have an education thanks to her new sponsors.

Kim Chi lives in a small township about an hour from where I live in central Vietnam. Her parents are physically disabled. This means it is hard for both of them to get around easily or work easily. Her father sells lottery tickets earning about $2-3 a day in good weather, and her mother has the occasional work is a relatives banh xeo (sizzling pancake) cafe. As they are disabled they do receive a small disability allowance; for them it is $18 a month.

Clearly it is impossible to put two children through school on their income and so we are thrilled that we can help Kim Chi to receive an education.

Three children were sponsored today

Ngoc Xy, Huynh Thuong and Phuong Thieu were sponsored today thanks to their new sponsors. I met Mandy recently and she said she wanted to sponsor and thought friends would like to as well. Four days later these three children were sponsored; thanks Mandy for that worthwhile action!

Ngoc Xy (pink scarf)lives locally with her single mother, who can't afford her education as well as rental and living costs although she works full time. There is a lot of employment available in Hoi An but the cost of living here is high.

She has been given free accommodation and food from a kind friend for many years now, but she has been worried about how she can ever move out and fend for herself.Her income will now be freed up to rehouse them. We hope life will look brighter with Xy's education costs being paid for.

She also hopes that once she has a small place of her own she may be able to have her son come back to live with her; she had to give him up when she moved to her friends home as she could neither afford to care for or educate him and it was too cramped with her and her two children living there.

Huynh Thuong (brown clothes)lives with her parents but both have poor health and aren't able to work physically hard. They grow enough food to feed themselves but there isn't enough income to educate Huynh Thuong. She is very bright and therefore we are thrilled that she will have support to get through school due to her sponsor.

Phuong Thieu (orange vest)lives in the mountains in an isolated area about 2 hours away. When we met them they were living in a leaking shack. There is almost no employment there and consequently his single mother, who has seasonal employment and an unreliable income finds it hard to make ends meet let alone educate Thieu who is a bright child. He now will have an education!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Uyen has just been sponsored

Uyen has just been sponsored and this will relieve a great deal of the pressure her single disabled mother feels. As a seamstress working from home her income is small; around $60-$65 a month. Uyen is a bright girl and it is wonderful to know thanks to her sponsor, that she will receive a full education.