Friday, September 18, 2015

CEF received funds from chocolate sales which are helping two girls near the border to complete high school

CEF is lucky to have a team of chocolate sellers in Australia who have many chocolate-loving friends. Some of the profits are now helping two girls from near the Vietnam-Laos border to complete their education. Without this help their families could not afford to support them through this last year of their education.

Some of the funds are also being used for Anti-Trafficking education materials for the authorities in this area, the schools and the families and children. Girls living near the border are more vulnerable to being trafficked.

When the chocolate lovers are enjoying their chocolates I hope they realize that their purchase is giving a pleasure to others too, one that will last a life time.

 Typical countryside in the area where the girls in the scholarship program live
A typical home of the scholarship girls we are helping

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A kind and generous new sponsor for CEF

Our good news for the day is that this lovely grade 11 student has been sponsored! Her mother died when she was one year old and her grandparents helped bring her up, but now granddad has passed away and granny is very old and no longer able to look after herself.

Dad who is a garbage collector has been struggling to pay off mums medical bills since she passed away. Her new and very sweet and generous sponsor has offered to pay off the remainder of their loan! Sometimes our sponsor's kindness and generosity is overwhelming. We at CEF are very lucky to have such good caring people help girls to stay in school here in Vietnam.

 With her dad
 With her dad and sister
 Her granny who helped bring her up from when she was one year old. 
Unfortunately granny is frail now and can't even look after herself., 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Good hearts result in less suffering in the world

CEF is blessed to have many wonderful caring people involved; our board, donors, partner organizations, sponsors and staff all make our work possible.

Today the staff had been discussing one family they are very worried about as this family is already financially challenged and their situation has deteriorated. The father is semi-paralyzed, mum has poor health, one of their children has Down's Syndrome, and now one of the older girls in the family who worked and financially helped them scrape by, has now married and moved to live with her husband's family far away. The mum and dad of the sponsored child who were already very skinny, have become even more so.

The staff almost never ask for more help for a family, but the visit to this family distressed them. I don't like to ask sponsors for extra help either, as they are already sponsoring. But today they did ask me, and I did ask her sponsor who responded with such a big heart and care it was very touching.

I feel so blessed to have such caring staff and such caring sponsors. It makes it possible to provide the care our CEF families need and reduces their suffering.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

International Literacy Day 2015

It's International Literacy Day; a day to acknowledge the importance of literacy!

We at CEF love choosing, buying and then preparing books for the children. We then share the books with the CEF children and other children in their communities. Parents can borrow them too.

In Da Nang we take books to our students homes when we visit them. In Quang Nam students come to the office and borrow books, or they and the other children in their communities can borrow from the boxes of books we leave in the local pagodas in areas where we work, or in the homes of some of the CEF children. One child takes responsibility in the community to educate the other children about book care, sign the books out, and make sure they are returned.

How much this program grows depends on the donations we receive that are specifically for literacy. We are very pleased that more and more children have access to good quality, educational books on a large range of subjects.

We were given many comics which we  then gave to the children at  Hoi An Children's Home 
 One of our tertiary students with some books she borrowed from the CEF office library
 Another tertiary student with books she borrowed from the library at our office
 Books from a recent book shopping trip
 Some of our CEF students reading books they borrowed
 One of our secondary students with books she borrowed
Another of our secondary school students with books she borrowed

Monday, September 7, 2015

CEF students write about their summer holiday

The following diverse snippets of letters are from CEF children to their sponsors talking about their summer holidays which have just come to an end. All letters were translated from Vietnamese to English by CEF staff.                                                                                                                          

A CEF primary school child wrote:     ...This summer besides joining in on math extra tuition classes I also joined in on many of the activities of my 'Community Youth Union' each Sunday afternoon. We did singing and dancing and played many traditional games. And something which made me so happy was that I received the 'Encouragement Award' of the singing and dancing competition in our community. I enjoyed this summer very much......

One of our secondary school students wrote:     ....During this summer my mother took me to the beach early every morning. We did exercises and swam there. The most exciting event for me this summer was CEF’s 'Water Safety and Beach Outing Day'. I not only was able to swim and play games at the beach, but also was able to go to the cinema with other CEF students. It was a great day!.......

Another secondary school student who lives with her grandmother and cousin wrote:   .....My grandmother’s legs are usually painful when the weather changes so I and my cousin often try to act the buffoon to make her happy and we give her massages. In this last school year, both I and my cousin got good results at school. I am very happy about this and I know that it makes my grandmother happy and proud of us. 
I and my cousin also love reading books, especially Fairy Tale story books. In this summer holiday, when my aunt-in-law had free time, she often took me to the CEF office to borrow many Fairy Tales story books to take home for reading. We really enjoy them very much.......

One of our university students wrote:    .....I had a delightful summer holiday, so let me tell you about it. I started my summer holiday with a month long part time job at a coffee shop near my college in Hue. I worked as a waitress and I only had to work in the morning. I was very happy that I could earn a little bit of money this vacation.                                                                               Then, I visited my brother and his family on Cham Island. This is the first time I went there and I really liked it, not only for the beautiful sightseeing but also because of the kind local people.      We heard that our first stepmother who lives in Ho Chi Minh city was seriously ill, therefore I went to visit her for about a half month. She suffered from spinal problems and she can’t move. Every day I talked with her, and played with and taught her grandchildren. My stepsister took me to visit several places in Ho Chi Minh city too. I did enjoy the visit with her very much. However, I don’t like Ho Chi Minh city much as it is a noisy city. I prefer to live in our peaceful homeland, Hoi An. My step sibling took care and looked after me very well. They made me so happy. After all, my sister in law took me to visit her home in Gia Lai province, a mountainous area in the center of Vietnam. There the atmosphere was so fresh, and the people were so friendly. It was really the most special summer holiday that I have ever had. It is also the last summer vacation in my school life because I will graduate at the end of this academic year........                 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Thuy's thoughts about why she wants to help others ~ Guest blog by CEF staff Thuy

When I was a child I wanted to help people because I thought the fairy would come to see me and give me a wish. When I grew up a little bit I knew that the fairy just appeared in my grandmother’s stories and in fairy books and comics, but I was still very happy to help people in that time because I felt that I was strong, brave and intelligent.

Well, it doesn’t mean that I was a really good girl when I was a child. Sometimes my parents asked me to do a good thing, but I didn’t really want to do it. And because I scared that my mother would not be fine with me if I didn’t do it, I had to do it, but with an uncomfortable feeling. However, when the others said “Oh, you are a good girl!” or “You are so kind!”, I felt much better and happier. Now, I still feel ashamed when I think about it. But do you think that if you help people regularly it will become a habit, but you don’t realize it, because has become a habit? I think so.

Thuy with one of the CEF students who lives with her grandmother

Now, I feel helping others is not only helping those people, but also helping myself. It helps me to see, to know and to learn much more about life and people. Some of what I have learned is that life may not be fair to you, but you can change it, and that education is very important to people, and that everyone has different attitudes to difficulties.

I also love to see the smiles of the disadvantaged people, the children and their parents, when they receive support. And I feel extremely content and happy when I know that their lives are getting better. Especially I feel like I am a useful person when I can do something for these people, even it is just a little thing.

Thuy talking with one of the CEF family's

Thuy working with some of the CEF students at our 'Lifeskills Workshop'

“Why I was drawn to helping others”, well, it is simply because it is life and life is meant to be shared.

Thuy taking photos of a new family that was introduced to CEF

Thuy applying sunscreen to one of our  CEF students at our 'Water Safety Day'

Thuy playing with puppies at a CEF child's home

Ngoc reflects on why she was drawn to helping others ~ Guest blog by CEF staff Ngoc

It is really interesting that I am working for an NGO in order to help others at present. I had never thought that I would do this job. I dreamt of being a teacher when I was a child. Then I wanted to be a tour guide when I was in high school and university. Just before graduating from university I was still keen on working in hospitality. Then I changed my mind and decided to work for CEF. Before working full time for CEF I worked part time for a year, and that allowed me to have a chance to find the right work which I love a lot.

Ngoc with one of the babies on a home visit

 Ngoc taking down home visit notes in the courtyard of one of the family's

Ngoc cycling with a  local girl to find one of the homes we hadn't yet visited and didn't know

To be honest, it is really hard to say why I am drawn to helping others although I took part in charity work as a volunteer even before working for CEF. Perhaps it is because it is really a meaningful job that all people want to have an opportunity to do.

Ngoc interviewing a family that had been referred to CEF by the Vietnam Women's Union

Ngoc with one of the girls in the mountains. Small desks had been presented to them by CEF staff for them to use on their beds in their boarding school. 

Ngoc with one of our younger students. This little girl is quite a character although academically challenged as both parents are blind and therefore they can't help her with her homework. 

When visiting a poor family that CEF helps I am able to see their great opportunities when receiving CEF’s support. Without help from CEF a girl may not be able to have any further education. I think “What is going to happen to them next?” And contemplate “How is their future going to be without being educated?” I think helping them to have literacy is really significant allowing them to orient their future into a better one, and escape from poverty as well as have the knowledge and ability to be good people.

Moreover, what do we feel when helping a disadvantaged person and they manage to overcome their obstacles? Obviously, we feel delighted at their success both materially and spiritually. I already experienced this feeling so it is partly the motivation for me to contribute to help others.

Hopefully, more and more people will support CEF so we can continue our great job.