Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wonderful to see one of the CEF families in their new safe home

Many of the families in Dai Loc have homes that flood and are vulnerable to the storms we get through our autumn that brings strong winds and heavy downpours and sometimes typhoons.
So we are always pleased to learn that the local government has given a contribution to one of the CEF families towards constructing a new home,

This is the old home that flooded easily each year and was destroyed in a bad storm.

Once they have a strong home their health also improves as they are less exposed to the extremes in weather. 

Their new solid,strong home that is well above the flood level

Although this family are thrilled to be safe and not so vulnerable, this new home comes at a price as the local government can only make a contribution, so they have to take out large loans. It means that each of the families who are helped out by the local government, also end up with a debt which creates a different stress. This is the case for this single mother, her mother and daughter.

They still feel it is better to be safe and to have that stress, than to be vulnerable to our unfriendly climate and the consequences of it such as flooding and destruction.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

An incredibly easy online way to support CEF is to use 'Amazon Smile' for shopping

IF you do any shopping with Amazon, please use this link and order through Amazon Smile as CEF receives 0.5%  of every sale. Orders can be made whether you are in Australia or America. Just use the link below and it will take you to the 'Children's Education Foundation' Amazon Smile page.

Thank you as this helps make a difference! It all adds up! If you share this information it will add up even more.


Friday, December 26, 2014

It's wonderful to look back on the year & all the help & support CEF has received

It is wonderful for us at CEF to look back on the year and to see what we are all able to do together.
Even if we just look at the last few months, we are thrilled to see that many more girls have been sponsored. They are able to stay in school until the end of their education, stay safe, and not be in a vulnerable position with the risk of being trafficked.  These girls really needed the educational support they now are receiving.

These girls have only very recently been sponsored. Their lives will be better, 
with more choices and opportunities. Their carers have expressed how they 
feel a sense of relief and less stress upon learning of the educational support 
for their child or grandchild. 
Several of these children are orphaned and are under the care 
of someone in the extended family and most only have one parent, 
or one parent able to work. Educational support 
makes a big difference in many ways. 

 All the help CEF is giving, we couldn't give if it wasn't for all of you who help in various ways. All our donors, sponsors, board, management, volunteers, fundraisers, advisers and government partners are all invaluable. Without all of you we can do nothing. So thank you to all you for your help and support this year. You have all helped make a difference to the lives of many this year.

CEF's staff also are wonderful and caring people, and their work with your support allows us to carry out your wishes to help the children here in Vietnam.

A big thank you to all of you,

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam
Children's Education Foundation 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wonderful to see this CEF family receive government support to have a home

When CEF met the grandparents and their youngest grandchild the three of them lived on the edge of the river, where their hut was prone to flooding.

Their basic shack did little to shelter them from the elements and they all suffered with health issues from the cold and damp in the winter, and the extreme heat in the summer.

The only wonderful thing about their shack was that it got the cool summer river breezes, and had wonderful views year round.

They needed a new safe home, for themselves and the little one, but the grandparents had no savings and lived hand to mouth. When we met them they had only recently taken on the care of their granddaughter, who was considered an 'orphan' in Vietnam, although she still has a living parent, she just didn't have one who cared for her or looked after her.

Last winter they were told they may not have to wait much longer before they would be given land. The government was very generous and in the early summer gave them land, but also gave them a generous sum of money for building. Their local commune also gave them a generous amount.

Granddad's son who is a builder and lives in Phat Thiet, came to help out, by supervising the builders, but also did most of the building himself, to save his parents money.

When we visited in the summer the house was going up very quickly, and when we visited at the end of the summer it was complete and they had settled in and the little one was bursting to show me around her new home.

(This photo is by Australian professional photographer John Cushion)

It was so wonderful to see them in a safe and solid house that wasn't going to be subject to flooding and knowing that they would not be vulnerable to the elements.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sydney Girl Guides supporting CEF girls in Vietnam

There's a Girl Guide unit in Randwick, Sydney and they are quite something! 

I was lucky enough to talk to them this week about what CEF is doing at their end-of-year awards ceremony. They are a wonderfully curious bunch. They had thought-provoking questions and a bubbly enthusiasm to find out about what it's like to be a girl in another culture. I look forward to exploring more with them and their unit leaders.

I was presented with a cheque to support an eleven year old girl  in Viet Nam -  the same age as many of them - and Katie, the unit leader, told me they would continue to help her until she finishes school. 

Thank you everyone, girls, leaders and parents.                                                                                      
Here's a photo of them and the Girl Guides motto, which aligns closely with CEF's mission.

A wonderful journey into the mountains to see CEF children ~ Guest blog by Ngoc

I have joined in on many home visits trips to distant areas to see the CEF children and I know that the further away areas that we visit have the poorer families there. Nevertheless, on the most recent home visit trip with our 'mountain' education project coordinator, Kim Chi, I  was left with very strong impressions, more than on any other trip. Although it was a rainy day and we all got wet as well as having some obstacles on the way, I am grateful to have had a chance to do these visits in order to have more understanding about different areas of this province and the different aspects of poverty that the families face.

Can you imagine how they have lived in such a leaky house like this for many years?

Because their home leaks, when it rains heavily in the night, the mother has to wake up at midnight and find a plastic sheet to cover the mosquito net with in order that her beloved daughter can have a deep sleep.  The one thing of value to a single mother is her child, so the reason why the mother works so hard is so she can give the best things to her daughter in the circumstances.

This sweet girl nurtures a dream to be a teacher, so little by little she makes efforts to improve her school standard by working harder. 

Despite living in such hard circumstances, they always seem happy, perhaps because they have each other. I have a strong impression of the girl’s wonderful attitude and her beautiful smile.  Her smile is likely to be the motivation for her mother to overcome obstacles and make huge efforts.

As it was rainy season and a very wet day, when we visited another house we had to walk along a muddy and slippery path and walk around water-filled fields to get there. The little girl is in grade 3, but she is so mature and clever. Every day her father has to carry her on his back along the muddy paths and around the fields to the road so she can find a way to get to school from there. Her house is rather far from the school so when she gets to the main road, she has to find someone and persuade them to take her to school on their motorbike.

She is interested in becoming a teacher in the future and she wishes to then return to her hometown to teach. She told us that she wanted to live with her family and contribute her knowledge to her community. What an admirable spirit! She gives us confidence in her plan and belief in her having a bright future when we see and talk with her. Although she lives in a poor family with lots of obstacles in her life, she always sounds optimistic about her life and her lovely face always has a smile on it.

These two girls are both in poor situations but are very different girls with different situations; however they are always smiling brightly and understand that their future is in their hands. They are both determined to be successful in the future and have a strong belief that a good education will bring about changes for them.

We wish to support them and encourage them to attain their goals and help their dreams become true.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Festive season fundraising for desks for minority tribe girls in a boarding school

At this boarding school for minority tribe teenagers in the mountains of Quang Nam there is no study room or desks for them to use. They use their beds or their stools.

This holiday season we would like donations to buy desks for them, to make it much easier for them to be able to do their study and homework. It's only $10 for a desk.

An example of the desks we will get that can be used on the bed or on the floor.

And it collapses for easy storage.

For donating for desks at $10 each:
~Donations from Australians (& everyone else except Americans & Canadians)~
Deposit funds into ‘Children’s Education Foundation’ account Commonwealth Bank, Bondi Junction, NSW 2022.
Account: 10955621, BSB: 062-124
Australian contact: Graeme  Burn   c.e.f.vietnam@gmail.com

Mail please send to:Children's Education Foundation (Vietnam)
PO Box 35, Glebe, NSW 2037

Americans and Canadians:
On the US website (for Americans and Canadians to use) please see payment options

Thank you for your support this festive season,

Saturday, December 6, 2014

About the work of a CEF father and a mother

One CEF's girls mother makes Vietnamese sleeping mats. These beautiful mats involve a lot of work; growing the reeds, cutting them, drying them, dying, drying again, and then eventually the time consuming and back-breaking work of weaving the mats. 


One CEF girl's father is a fisherman. His income is unstable due to the seasons here. The result is no income for a few months of the year a moderate income for 2 months, and an unstable one for the remainder of the year. As his income is unpredictable and unstable mum works full time in a factory to try and increase the family income.

When not fishing dad mends the nets which get damaged on a daily basis. This is very time consuming work and if not done well or not done at all results in the loss of fish and income.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Snippets of the children's letters to their CEF sponsors....

We never know what a child will write in their letters to their CEF sponsors. Sometimes they are full of practical details about school, sometimes very brief to thank the sponsor and sometimes sad, and occasionally very expressive. Their letters sometimes help us to understand the children and their situations better. Here are two very different letters; one sad, expressing the sadness she still feels since her father's death three years ago and the need for house repairs, and the other describing the joy of experiencing the summer rain.

I’m writing this letter to thank you for your help.
My family used to be happy although poor because there were my parents, my grandparents, my sister, my brother and I. Unfortunately, we aren’t as happy as before since my father died; all  my family’s burden is on my mother’s shoulders. My mother is the only person who can cover the costs for everything for my family as well as care for my grandparents. Therefore, I haven’t seen a smile on my mother’s face for some time; I love my mother so much. 
In the rainy season my family is very sad because my house which my parents saved money to build is leaking and the walls are cracking. There is one small room which isn’t leaking; my mother uses that room for my grandparents to live in. Therefore, she covers our bed with plastic. I wish my house wasn’t leaking and it was stable. 

I am writing this letter to thank you for your help. I would like to tell you about my summer vacation.As you know, I live in pagoda so I didn’t go out with friends in the summer vacation. I just stayed at pagoda and studied Buddhism. When I stayed here I really enjoyed the summer rain. Before the rain came, the sky was dark and cloudy, plus windy. Rain came quickly; everyone didn’t think it would come so quickly as it did. It started with a little rain, and then it was pouring. The street was full of water and the chickens found shelter. Hour after hour the rain came and went, then the rain stopped, then the sky was getting brighter. There was a rainbow, birds came and sang, trees seemed to smile as they were watered. I really love rain because it becomes cooler on hot summer days. It also made me happy.