Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thai Binh Education Program and one of CEF's university graduates from last year

When CEF started Thai Binh Education Program in 2005 we started with helping 12 children; 11 girls and 1 boy. Most of these children have completed school now, or will over the next three years. 
The one boy has completed school and graduated from university last year with excellent results. He trained as a PE teacher and now has an excellent paid job at Vietnam National University. He was on a trial for a whole year and we greatly admire his determination to prove himself and to become a successful coach and referee in that year. He is thrilled, and we are with his success. 
He still stays in touch with his sponsor and sees him as a father. His last letter of this week is below.  

2006 ~ The first 12 children we helped in Thai Binh Province

Recent photo refereeing

Recent photo

Here is his last letter to his sponsor
Ha Noi, June 26th 2014
Dear G,
How are you?
I saw your bright smile in photos of your family. Your family is very cosy.
Since my graduation I’ve worked for Vietnam National University for a year. I am really pleased with my job. Although I worked for this university for a year without a salary, I have had many successes. However, I was delighted when I recently signed a new contract and now will be paid. I’m very proud of myself as my co-workers praise me. I not only tell them about you, but also share about CEF.
If you come back to Vietnam, I will invite you to visit my work place.
I wish you good health.
Your son,

Friday, July 25, 2014

What is CEF's Mentoring Program? Blog by Kim Chi, CEF's Mentoring Program Manager

Our mentoring program is quite new, but we find it exciting to be able to support CEF’s children in this way.
We support high school students, University and College students in our program. Students in their last year of high school are often confused about which subjects they should be studying in school in order to be eligible for the specific departments they want to study in at university. Whereas university and college freshmen feel like ‘fish out of water’ and require emotional and practical support to deal with all they need to take on; living, studying and finding part-time work in a totally new environment.

We provide support for the students by phone, email and especially by Facebook, as they all have Facebook. We also visit those who study in the local vicinity.
Workshops are planned and will be offered to our high school, college and university students this year. These workshops will help them understand their strengths and abilities enabling them to see realistic options they can take and the direction to move towards. We will work on interview skills, presentation skills, writing a CV, budgeting, goal setting, time management and planning.
For those who aim to work in an English-speaking environment, we will provide helpful links to English websites to help improve their English.  We will also link them to a network of volunteer English tutors overseas. This support will enable them to find good jobs in an English-speaking environment in the future.
We can already see this support is beneficial and look forward to continuing to support our students through this program and implementing the workshop this year.

Blog by Kim Chi, CEF’s Mentoring Program Manager

Free dental education and dental care for more CEF children at EMW Dental Centre

21 children from our education programs in Thang Binh, Dien Ban and Hoi An received free dental education and dental care at East Meets West Central this week. 18 of them needed dental work; 14 had fillings and 6 had badly decayed teeth removed.

This is a wonderful partnership to have to help the children understand how to care for their teeth and for them to see and understand the consequences of not caring for their teeth. School time is missed when children have dental decay causing pain and some have taken time off school for emergency dental treatment.

Three of the CEF girls waiting for their turn with the dentist at EMW Dental Centre

Our goal is that all the children in our education programs in Quang Nam and Da Nang receive this education and dental care on an annual basis in the holidays so it does not disrupt their school schedule. Thanks to EMW Dental Centre this is possible!

Ngoc waiting with two of the CEF children at EMW Dental Centre

Friday, July 18, 2014

Free dental education and dental care for some of CEF's children

We believe our CEF children need to be healthy to do well at school. We support them to have medical care  when required, nutritional supplements and extra food when needed too. Dental problems need dealing with as well, as rotten teeth and tooth ache keep children out of school and affect their health.

Yesterday 16 of CEF's Hoi An children attended a dental clinic that was set up in Cam Ha commune in their community hall. Cam Ha is one of Hoi An's poor communes.  The clinic for the CEF children took all morning so they had to wait patiently.

We have partnered with East Meets West Dental Center to provide free dental care for all of CEF's children.  This week 16 of CEF's children had their appointments and were provided with free dental education and dental care. Over the prior days EMW also had provided free dental education and dental care for the children of Cam Ha commune.

Fillings were needed and she is not looking too happy about it (above)

Fortunately 12 of CEF's children had nothing wrong with their teeth, but one of the girls had 2 seriously decayed teeth removed and one girl needed fillings. Two other girls will need more time consuming dental treatment in the future at EMW's Dental Centre in Da Nang.

Next week CEF's children from Thang Binh and Dien Ban districts will have dental care at the center.

Thank you East Meets West Dental Centre for providing valuable and free dental education and dental care for the children!

53 new books for CEF's mobile library thanks to Matt and Janna

'Hoi An Events' organizes events including 'Hoi An Christmas Charity Bazaar', work conferences and weddings in Hoi An. They also help to support local charities.

They have been  wonderful in supporting CEF's 'Literacy Encouragement Program' and its 'Mobile Library' and we have just had 53 books bought for the library!

Matt and Janna are having their wedding organized by 'Hoi An Events' and are getting married in Hoi An shortly. They wanted to give our 'mobile library' a book from each wedding guest; each one to be signed by a guest. What a wonderful idea and it is most kind and generous of them.

We believe in encouraging literacy amongst the children and families we work with and one way we can do this is to take books to them and to have an interesting selection of books to entice them to read them.

Thank you to all who made these books possible. Many children and their families in Quang Nam and Da Nang will get to enjoy this new selection of books on many subjects.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some families have so many challenges

This is one of the sweet families we have been working with for three years. They have unfortunately had a string of challenges and yet they still can be positive and smile. It always amazes me how they just get on with life although very sad and burdened by their misfortunes. They have to, as they won't have food to eat if they don't, but I still admire this fortitude and acceptance.

The family had to leave their simple home and land they lived on as the government was claiming the land for 'development'. Then when they were close to moving, the father died in his sleep from a heart attack although he was only in his thirties. This is when we met them as they needed help with education costs as they now had one less income.

Lien comforting Thuy just after her father died

Only two years later Thuy's eldest brother died in a motorbike accident because a drunk motorbike driver hit him. Fortunately he died immediately and didn't linger on with brain injuries. Mum was so traumatized by the news that she fainted and had to have treatment herself.

The shrine at home for Thuy's brother who recently died

Sometimes we feel helpless when families are suffering so much. We can only provide comfort and continue our support. We try to think of other ways to help as well and most of the time there is little we can do. In this case we were able to help a little by making a contribution to the funeral costs. Also Thuy's other brother had outgrown his bike, but it was a good size for Thuy, so we found a second hand bike for him. Her brother who died had just started contributing to family costs as he had finished his studies and now was able to earn, so to help fill that gap a little we will increase the food allowance we give this family until they are back on their feet more.

Mum and Thuy still able to smile only about a fortnight after her eldest son died. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wishing nine CEF students good luck with their university entrance exams

CEF has nine high school graduates who are either starting their exams tomorrow over two consecutive days or they are preparing to take them next week over two days. When the exams are depends on what subjects a student has decided to concentrate on.

We wish them all good luck and look forward to hearing their good results and supporting them through university with the help of their sponsors.

Above are some of the students who are taking their university entrance exams this week and next. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thank you Scott for your donation from your profits at 'Scott and Binh's'

Scott recently gave CEF a % of the takings from one evening at his restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City which has been greatly appreciated! 

If any of you are in Ho Chi Minh City on holiday or live there, but don't know of his restaurant, then please visit as you will see from the reviews, that it is well worthwhile doing so. Scott and Binh's Restaurant is rated #3, of 1,368 restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City with 'tripadvisor'!!  That rating is something to be very proud of for sure.  

One of the frequently stated positive points is size of the meals. These days with restaurants making cuts, the prices stay the same, but the portions shrink. Not here; portions are generous and prices reasonable, food is also creative and as you will see from the reviews, looks delicious. 

Scott and Binh's Restaurant is at 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat Street, Hung Phuoc 1 | Phu My Hung, District 7Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanks so much for your support Scott and although you didn't ask me to write anything and didn't provide me with any pictures, I really appreciate your care and wanted more people to know about your restaurant; so the photo above is from your website Scott as you will be able to see :-)  

Thanks for your kind words too Scott: "Keep up your good work!" Cheers, Scott