Thursday, March 31, 2016

It’s harvest time in central Viet Nam and the heads of the rice plants are bent over in the paddy fields heavy with their grains. 

Once harvested the rice has to be thoroughly dried. What better place than a hot black road surface?

And it needs to be regularly turned over too. Feet are a good way of doing this.

And if the whole road is taken up with drying rice it’s fine to ride over it.

In Hoi An you’ll find rice paddies between houses, shops and hotels. 

And even the dead get a rice view.

Rice has an important place in the hearts of the Vietnamese. You can call the family to lunch by calling, ‘An com!’ ‘Eat rice.’ Many of the families CEF helps count on a good harvest to feed themselves.  If they have no land, they have to pay for land rental and fertilisers. If the harvest is poor then the debt is paid off the following year, with rice. Hopefully that year is a good one enabling them to make the repayment.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How two of our CEF students showed their love to their mother ~ Guest blog by CEF's Thuy

On the last International Women’s day, what did you do for your mother, grandmother or for women in your life? Here is a what a 9 year old girl in CEF's education sponsorship program did.

‘This year, my older sister and I had a plan and prepared it well in advance for our mother. Last year, we bought a gift for our mother, which she liked, but she told us that she didn’t want us to spend money on buying a gift due to our poverty. She only wants us to study well. She said our ‘Good’ school results are the most valuable gift for her. We always try our best at school, however, we still want to do something special to our mother. Therefore, this year we decided to do all the housework and home chores and also help with our small stall selling drinks and let our mother have a day off.

On a normal day we often help our family to do some chores, but not all. Our mother has paralyzed legs which makes it difficult for her to do housework. So on Women’s day we woke up earlier and shared the work together. I also had an important duty of buying the most beautiful rose for my mother. My sister washed clothes while I swept and cleaned the floor. We prepared and opened the store for selling. Of course, our father gave us a hand when needed. My mother still wanted to help but we didn’t agree as we wanted her to enjoy that day.

My sister went to the market to get food for preparing the lunch. I cooked rice as this job is very simple and easy. We already prepared all the ingredients and planned to cook food soon. We both knew that we can’t cook well yet. We were worried about that. Our mother appeared and said please let her cook and we can help her. We didn’t want to let our mother work, but more importantly we didn’t want all the family to have bad food. Therefore, this was the only work we let our mother do on that day. We had a beautiful lunch and our mother was very surprised when I gave her a flower. We than washed dishes and did other household chores. My sister and I felt very happy because we could see the happiness on our mother’s face.’

‘Children are the gift of God’, I believe that.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Honesty ~ Guest blog By CEF's Ms Ngoc

Honesty is one of the most significant factors for CEF when working with the sponsored child’s family. It is much easier for us, information is more reliable and it is altogether more relaxed than working with people who do not tell all the truth.

I was impressed with a poor family in Da Nang where I’ve just paid a visit. They have such a difficult situation as the mother looks after 3 children of school age all on her own.

Because of her situation people feel sorry for her and so she occasionally receives some help from other organizations and from government department in order to improve her life. When I visited her home, which actually is a shared room, she told me about the donation of the local military to her family. Due to her situation, they decided to give her some monthly funds for food. She asked me that if she could receive that donation or not, because her daughter already had a sponsorship from CEF. She also told me that she knew CEF might reduce the amount of sponsorship or not help her anymore, however; she read the CEF and family contract and saw an item in it that explained how the family could not receive support from many organizations at the same time. It is brave and honest of her to inform us, so we know clearly about her current situation.

I really appreciate her honesty. For me, it is amazing because not many families tell us about the extra help from others until we ask. Although her family is very poor and her income is never stable she was totally honest.

It is only a simple story but I think you will understand more and understand about the attitude of the poor people.  From my perspective she is an excellent example for her daughters and they are lucky to have such a lovely, honest mother.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Guest blog by Thanh Thuy about the first weeks of her internship with CEF


Hello everyone, my name is Thanh Thuy. I am a final year student at Quang Nam University.
Like my other classmates, I also must do an internship period which lasts 2 months. The contents of the internship program are to train us students to be capable and independent in thought and work. The goal of this internship program is to help us creatively apply the knowledge we have learned into a real life work situation.


We can select the training place ourselves. Most of my friends chose hotels, restaurants or schools to do their internship course at. I decided to give my internship application to Children’s Education Foundation, simply because I am already a part time CEF staff member, and this is a wonderful opportunity for me to enhance my working skills, and especially improve my English skills. This is a marvelous opportunity for me as constantly I am in contact with reality.

Thuy with Stephen Jackel, our US manager

After several weeks working as a trainee, I received a lot of enthusiastic support from CEF’s director and staff. I have joined in on many CEF’s activities such as meeting and communicating with members of Go Philanthropic (CEF’s US partner), and CEF’s USA manager who was visiting, participated in some home visit trips with Linda and some sponsors, helped on the most recent payment day, and had two days of important Nutritional Training with USA trainer, Keryn. We need to be able to talk with families about using their small incomes on nutritious foods. Therefore I have had many chances to listen to and speak with foreigners.

Thuy (on the left) next to Keryn, and the other staff. Keryn taught us about nutrition.

Through having these experiences I feel more mature, as I got many benefits and more knowledge for both my work and my personal life. I saw happy and bright smiles on lovely faces of the children when they received their CEF educational sponsorships, and when some small but significant gifts were given to them from their sponsors. Moreover despite the obstacle of distance of the sponsors, who live halfway around the world, they express warmth, support, pride in the students, and encouragement through their letters which they send over for translation. These poor females they sponsor are helped to overcome their disadvantaged circumstances in order for them to study better and achieve their dream of a good future through being educated.

CEF’s students also consider the presents as their treasures because they are a great spiritual motivation to poor countryside girls.

Although I have just done my first internship weeks, it leaves me with deep impressions and valuable working and life lessons which encourage me to try more in the remaining time. The most important thing is I have to spend much more time to practise my English so I can deal with my working requirements better.

Thank for your reading,
Thanh Thuy

Sunday, March 6, 2016

About our trip to Hue to learn about the prevention of trafficking ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Kim Chi

We had a fantastic trip to Hue in order to have Anti-Trafficking Training. We started in the morning from Hoi An, so we had enough time to enjoy morning tea when we arrived in Hue. For me, it was amazing to have morning tea at the Peaceful Bamboo Family Cafe. After our tea and biscuits a kind man there took us around and talked to us all about the Peaceful Bamboo Family. There are many disadvantaged children and adolescents there and many are passionate about drawing or painting or doing lacquer painting. Some do training in cooking and make cookies and drinks for guests. All the drink and food were made by them with love. They also have a school and kindergarten as well as productive garden where they grow their own vegetables.

CEF at Peaceful Bamboo Family
  A vegetable bed at Peaceful Bamboo Family
Pagoda in Hue we visited

After having lunch at a vegetarian restaurant, and visiting a pagoda, we had the excellent training and presentation about the prevention of trafficking and child labor at Blue Dragon Children's Foundation. They were very informative and we learned a lot more than we knew. They are doing wonderful work to both prevent trafficking of children and to help those who have been trafficked to adjust and reintegrate.

CEF at Blue Dragon Children's Foundation in Hue
Part of the presentation we viewed

The prevention of trafficking of children is very important to us at CEF as we work with children who live in the mountains, in remote areas and near the Laos border. There it is quite easy for traffickers to come and seduce children and their families with money because the parents are frequently uneducated as well as very poor. We now know much more information to help identify the ways traffickers work, what we should do when we suspect or know of trafficking, and how to help the children in those circumstances by referring them to Blue Dragon for help and support.

Money is very important to poor families. Parents therefore often ask their children to quit school to go to work, or to help their relatives in big cities like Ha Noi or Ho Chi Minh. Although they are frequently very young and under 16 years old the parents don’t realize that this is very dangerous for them to do; the parents are just thinking about money. In poor communities they often don’t know that it’s illegal to let children work when they are under 16 years old. They also don’t know it is called ‘child labor’. Therefore, by understanding about child trafficking and child labor, we can explain to both parents and children, and therefore help to prevent our CEF children from quitting school and going to work.

In the future, we hope that we can organize workshops about Anti-Trafficking of children for parents and children to understand more about it.

Thanks Blue Dragon and thanks CEF’s Founding Director for supported us to have this useful training.