Wednesday, October 29, 2014

CEF takes a sponsor to visit the child she sponsors

'T's' sponsor loves to see her whenever she comes over to Vietnam. One of CEF's staff took the sponsor to see her, as well as some lovely clothes that a good friend of hers had given.  'T', who has very few clothes, was thrilled and she tried them all on. The generosity of her sponsors friend made her a very lucky and happy little girl.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Precious time with one of the first three CEF helped to be educated

Once upon a time there was a cooking teacher visiting and studying Buddhist cooking in Ho Chi Minh City......

While learning Buddhist cooking my life changed, not due to the class, or Buddhism, but because I met three children who needed help to stay in school and complete school.

Leaping forward about 12 years....

Yesterday I spent a precious hour and a half with one of these three. She was on a work holiday in Da Nang and came to Hoi An very briefly. We had time together exploring and wandering the streets of Hoi An and chatting as us females are included to do.....

Next time we are together it will be for her wedding... so this was the last time we had together before her marriage; so it was a very precious time indeed as she is like a daughter.....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Introducing Thuy

I would like to introduce Thuy who has been a CEF sponsored student for 5 years, and still is, as she is still studying at university, but now she is also a CEF volunteer. Welcome Thuy!

Thuy has volunteered to work with CEF while she is still in university. We will be employing her when she has enough time. We were going to start training when she completed her studies, but, we decided to start her training this month, and she has done wonderfully in all ways. We are thrilled to have her on the team!

She was thrown in at the deep end on day one and asked to take notes and to fill in student update forms. Then at the end of the day was asked to take home and translate some of the students letters. On the next two days of home visits we asked her to do some of the student updates on her own.

We also expected her to accept sitting on the ground when there were no stools or chairs, walk through large puddles and tolerate torrential storms.

She smiled and laughed and did very well and we feel very fortunate to have her on the team.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

After the interviews and while labeling photos is when the experiences hit me the most

We interviewed six girls today; all clearly poor. Their poverty and their challenging situations has just hit me now, while labeling photos from the visits. Obviously I can't show I am upset when doing interviews, so I have to hold myself together, and cut off to a certain degree while doing them.

But when I see the photos of the visits, and label them, then I am hit by what I saw and experienced. The photos bring back the experience strongly. Today the contrast of two particular girls has left me puzzled and unsettled; one who couldn't and wouldn't smile, although she had caring parents in quite good health. Why was she so unhappy, what was troubling her so much? And the second girl who smiled so easily and naturally, even though her father had been a terrible father; aggressive and abusive. Now he was a 'vegetable' due to major brain injury. How could she be so relaxed, so happy, so accepting?

Monday, October 13, 2014

To help give you a sense of the environment & life of the community in the north where CEF helps with education

The community we work with in the north is a Catholic farming community. They are warm and hard-working. Their poverty is due to the challenge of making ends meet as farmers. Many borrow heavily to buy livestock to earn extra money; pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and rabbits. Their poverty is impacted due to having large families that they can't afford to care for and educate.



The beauty of the early morning before starting CEF home visits in Thai Binh Province

The early mornings were so beautiful and such a wonderful temperature. 
We went to do home visits to see the girls and families we help in this farming community in Thai Binh Province, in the north of Vietnam. 


Early in the morning on the way to Thai Binh to see the CEF children

It is always busy early in the morning as its the time most people do their food shopping. The photos are from about 15 minutes while we briefly stopped for breakfast on the side of the road.

CEF's 'Literacy Encouragement Program' - Guest blog by Ngoc

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader"- this is a saying from Margaret Fuller about reading. It is also a part of what CEF wants for our children through the 'Literacy Encouragement Program'. 

Here in Vietnam people do not read whenever they have free time and don't encourage their children to read. Therefore CEF wants to encourage and give the children a chance to improve their reading and their understanding of many subjects through our 'Literacy Encouragement Program'. 
When we shop for books we choose books which are suitable for the different ages of the children. Then we cover them in protective plastic and put each one into a bag that seals to provide the protection needed in Vietnam with its storms, heavy rain, flooding and dust from the farms. We try to teach the children not only to practice their reading but also about caring for and protecting books.

Our aim is not to give books to the children. We run this project with the wish that all the children can extend their knowledge by sharing all the books from the mobile library with each other. We carry the books with us and lend books to children every time we see them. Each child will have a chance to borrow around 3 books each time we visit and of course we bring extra books for children to have a satisfying selection. 

Some children response to us very positively and show that they really like our books. Sometimes they make requests for more books on certain subjects. Because of their love of books they get to know more about the world around them and develop their language skills. They are more confident in communicating and it is improving their reading skills at school and boosting their imagination and creativity. 
I think encouraging reading is essential as it is really urgent all over the world to erase illiteracy. Reading is the most important method to help bring about literacy step by step all over the world.