Monday, November 17, 2014

Gift of secondhand computers for CEF children

Platinum Global has been very generous and given CEF some secondhand computers, with screens and keyboards, and a mouse for each set. CEF has given them to our university and college students and a couple to grade 12 students.

Linh of Platinum Global giving a computer set to one of CEF's grade 12 students

Wayne of Platinum Global giving a computer set to one of CEF's students in teacher training college

Wayne giving a computer set to one of CEF's students at university in Hue

Graeme, CEF's manager in Australia giving one of the computer sets to this young man who he is sponsoring to study at technical college

Heading off with the computer and accessories

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Support for CEF from Randwick Girl Guides - Guest blog by Katie O'Connor, 1A Randwick Girl Guides, Sydney

'Randwick Girl Guides' baked their best and yummiest cakes, biscuits and slices to sell at their annual Bunnings BBQ and Bake Sale in Sydney. This year the annual BBQ and Bake Sale was held on 11 October - the 'UN International Day of the Girl Child' and so the Guides decided they wanted to donate all the money raised from the Bake Sale to a charity that supports girls' education.

'Randwick Guides' met Graeme Burn from Children's Education Foundation earlier in the year to learn about an advocacy topic they are all very passionate about - girls education. And so 'Randwick Girl Guides' worked very hard all day selling all their baked goods.


The girls worked on the stall with minimal supervision and assistance from leaders and parents. They did all the selling and informed people about this great cause they were raising money for and that it was the 'International Day of the Girl Child'. 

The day was a great success with the Guides raising enough money to support a girl of the same age as them to attend school in Vietnam! 'Randwick Guides' are very excited to learn more about the girl they will be supporting and look forward to sharing their journey of education together.

Katie O'Connor, 1A 'Randwick Girl Guides', Sydney

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Is there any connection between good health and doing well at school? Guest blog by Ngoc

A question for you:“Is there any connection between good health and doing well at school?” What is your answer? I think, most people will answer in the affirmative, that there is a close connection between good health and doing well at school.

Let me tell you a story about a CEF girl, and the effect of good health on her education.

CEF has been providing educational support for a poor girl in Dien Ban whose father died from a heart attack. She now just lives with her mother and two older brothers who are of school age and her mother cannot easily support them all. It resulted in this CEF student being malnourished, in poor health, and missing many classes, and naturally her results gradually suffered.

After talking with her mother on one of the home visits, we found out the reasons for her poor attendance and results, so we decided to provide some food support. However, her health did not improve much and we were confused about this. Then we decided to continue with the food support but also give her some multi-vitamins and minerals, but suggested she just take a small dosage every other day. We were surprised that when we did the last home visit we could see she was a little bit fatter, stronger and happier. Thanks to her improved health, and more regular school attendance, her results have improved. She has also received many compliments from her main teacher about the improvement in her results.

From this experience I realized that health has a big influence on education. A student cannot be a good student unless they study hard. However, it is not possible to be an excellent student if their health is not good. Therefore, CEF sometimes provides vitamins and minerals for our children so they can have better health enabling them to work hard and be able to improve their education standard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

More books for the mobile library - Guest blog and photos by Graeme Burn

We went shopping in Da Nang and bought 60 books for CEF's 'Literacy Encouragement Program'.

World Animals for younger readers

18 ways to live a better life for young teenagers
(Example of a suggestion: Get involved with a volunteer organization)

100 things to do before you reach 20 for older teenagers
(Example of content: Ideas to help you deal with strong emotions as jealousy)

Here are Ngoc and Kim Chi among the book shelves in a large Da Nang bookstore picking out the kind of books they have found students borrow most. We bought books for three age ranges: 5 to 11, 12 to 15 and 16 to 18, primary, secondary and high school. Ngoc told me that story books and science books are particularly popular.

Books other than those needed for school work are rare in the poorest homes. The children love reading just for pleasure.

About a child - Guest blog and photos by Graeme Burn

Her house looked much the same as when I visited two years ago: a simple poorly maintained wooden structure on an unkempt block of land in a run down part of her town two hours from CEF's office. On that visit we learned that her mother had just died, and we could see her father was distraught in a dignified way. I don't remember how she was. 

On this visit her father was away living and working in Da Nang because there was no work locally. She was subdued and mostly unsmiling. She was clearly missing her father. Recently she had been staying with a different aunt, as her aunt whom she had been living with had moved to Da Nang to work. She only returned home for the occasional night when her father did.

I watched our program coordinator for the area, Ngoc, talk with her. As they talked Ngoc's care and concern for her lifted her out of her sadness. She relaxed, smiled.

And I saw how much this simple human contact meant and that this child has at least two constants in her life among all the changes and moving from house to house and uncertainty: her relationship with Ngoc and knowing that she'll continue to go to school.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some of the art work of a very shy and introverted CEF child

When we visited this CEF child she wanted to show us her art work. We were very surprised as she is extremely shy and introverted. It has been hard to even get a smile out of her over the years we have known her. It was delight to see her art work which we all enjoyed, and she appreciated the interest in her lovely creations.

Some casual photos of CEF children and family while doing home visits this weekend

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why is tertiary education important? - Guest blog by CEF's Kim Chi

I have a chance to talk with CEF’s tertiary students when we did home visits. I feel empathy and happy when CEF’s students share their feelings openly. I used to be a university student for 5 years and therefore I understand how hard it is for both the freshmen and the final year university students. It’s not only a struggle, but there is also the opportunity for fun during the university student time.

 Two of CEF’s freshmen shared their feelings recently about how everything is strange and they felt a little nervous about their first time of being in a big city. As well as that change, they have classmates, roommates and teachers who all come from different areas and they don’t find it easy to understand all the different Vietnamese accents. Nevertheless, they adapt quickly.
 Their universities recently had celebrations to welcome all the freshmen. The socializing helped to break barriers and made it easier to make friends. Although being a university student has challenges they learn many life skills in the process. They have to become independent in all ways. They also have a chance to meet many kinds of people, make many different friends, and widen their knowledge about the subjects they study, but also learn about the life of a student and about life.
One student in her last year of university shared her experience with seeking part-time work as a tutor. She had to pay commission to the employment center. Then they weren’t honest and misled her about a job where there already was a tutor. She said “I will never go again to ask for a job from an employment center.” She had a very different recent experience from which she derived great pleasure; she sold flowers on ‘Vietnamese Women Day’ with her girlfriends. Although they only made a little profit, they had an enjoyable new experience that demanded patience.
If they didn’t go to university they wouldn’t have these interesting experiences. Tertiary education is not only important for their future, but also they can learn many things from their student-life.
(Part of working with the university students is listening and hearing what they really need.  Kim Chi here is helping load a computer onto one of the students motorbikes as this student needed one)