Sunday, December 31, 2017

A little about 2017

Sharing 2017
Some pictures and information 

 Part of a food parcel for a family with three children at home still. Dad does whatever work he can do and mum helps look after the children when she is well enough with is about 3-4 half days a week. 

These two are extroverts. Mum is shy ad dad very shy as she can't hear as his hearing mysteriously stopped and no medical professionals know why. 

One of wonderfully bright and hard working students with photos from her sponsor. Dad is a farmer and mum does some domestic chores but cant do much due to poor health. She has had several heart surgeries.

Sanitary kits ready to make up. These were a gift from Days for Girls. The staff made them up and we gave them to many ethnic girls up near the Vietnam-Laos border who were thrilled to receive them as this will save them money that they can't afford to spend on sanitary products.

Most of the students at the last Water Safety Day. We run these important days every summer. Important as they save lives and this day has saved the life of one CEF child already.

Workshops are to provide our students with useful information to help them with their lives. This was a workshop on Communication Skills which we feel are important skills to have in relationship, in work and in life. Here they are tangled and need to disentangle without any words.

Above in the workshop they were asked as small groups to have only 3 legs on the floor in total or only 2 and had to cooperate with each other without words.

A little about 2017:
It has been a wonderful, rich, interesting, fulfilling and very full year.

Our staff:
We have had our four wonderful staff working really hard and conscientiously through the year. One of the staff was off on maternity leave for some of the year and the other three carried on with their work and shard hers. They were amazing.
It also is lovely to have the CEF family growing.
Two staff married in the last year.
One staff gave birth to a lovely little girl.
One staff is pregnant.

Our children and families:
We have many children in school in Quang Nam and some students in Da Nang.
Officially in Thai Binh there no longer are poor students, so officially we no longer work in Thai Binh or with Thai Binh students.
Many of our students are amazing in sad situations and we can't even imagine how they manage to do so well.
Some are not doing wonderful academically but they are in school, learning and less vulnerable than being at a loose end.

Our needs:
At the close of the year we see there are a few things we need:
Two new staff
And a new office as the present one will be too small with two new staff
Funds to pay new staff and for a office rental
Some cameras for our Creative Photography project

We are blessed for sure:
We have been very blessed with amazing support from sponsors and donors, volunteers, other supporters, partner organizations and board members.

We are most grateful for all the amazing support we receive that makes it possible to help all the children and families that we work with here in Vietnam.

Thank you to all of you and may 2018 be a wonderful year for you all,

Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday Greetings!

Holiday greetings to all our CEF friends, volunteers, supporters, donors, sponsors, advisors and board members.

We appreciate the support you have given and continue to give, as it all makes a difference in the lives of the girls and families we work with in Vietnam. When poor even a little help can make a difference and an education makes a big difference and changes their lives and opens many doors.

Thank you and may you all have a wonderful holiday season.

Linda Burn
Founding Director and In-Country Manager

Children's Education Foundation

(Photo by photographer John Cushion)

Friday, December 8, 2017

A letter from one of our CEF students to her sponsor ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

CEF's Ms Thuy shares some of the letter of one of our students:
‘Dang’, a grade 9 student in our sponsorship program lives with her parents and younger brother in a small mountainous village. Her mother is a labourer, her father almost always stays on his bed because he had a stroke and now has many health issues, and her brother is a grade four student.

This term, ‘Dang’ shared in her letter ‘Now, I am on summer holiday. I really appreciate that I have this vacation each year as I have more time to spend with my parents, and share their happiness and sorrows. During the school year I was so busy with my studies at school, compulsory classes and extra tuition classes that I didn’t have much time to help my mother with housework, or talk with or look after my father. I know he is very sad. This summer, I spent less time with my peers in my village but more time with my family. Besides helping my mother around the house, every day I spend more time to talk to and help my father’.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Wonderful to have CEF's Ms Kim Chi back at work!

CEF's Ms Kim chi has been on maternity leave and is now back at work. We are all thrilled to have her back with us as we missed not having her lovely energy around us. We now also have a new healthy and beautiful CEF family member!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

One of the provinces we have been working no longer has any poor

One of the provinces we have been working in for the last 12 years has recently been classified as having no poor. All NGO's no longer are working there due to this classification, including CEF. I already miss this warm and honest farming community.

The reality is the communities here are very vulnerable each year due to the storms, flooding and animal diseases, which means it is just for short periods of time that some of them climb out of debt and poverty before dumped back in it again.

Due to the flooding and storms they many have wanted to build strong homes to protect themselves, so also have accumulated debt in turning their simple one room homes into solid two to three bedroom homes.

Many here still have dilapidated farm houses badly in need of repairs. There are broken homes due to not be able to make a living farming, so the fathers have gone permanently to live and work far away where there is work, with some not returning or sending money home. Children are being brought up by grandparents who are poor and elderly and can't easily deal with this big responsibility either financially or practically. It's a predominantly poor community.

Graeme CEF's Manager in Australia is helping with updates of our CEF students

Graeme, CEF's manager in Australia has met the CEF children as he has spent a lot of time in Vietnam over the last few years. He has been helping this term with some of the CEF student updates for sponsors. You may hear from him instead of me. Emails will come from the same email address. This help is wonderful and will reduce the period of time it takes to get updates out to all our sponsons which is normally about 8-9 months to get them all out.

We are grateful that we have so many caring sponsors and that you patiently wait for the updates on the children you care about and help to keep in school.

Friday, October 6, 2017

She wants to be an athletics coach ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy

While most of her classmates want to be teachers, doctors or engineers in the future, Ly wants to be an athletics coach. It’s a passion of hers. ‘I find that running helps me to be healthy and brings me alive. My body feels different as if it has more energy.’ Since grade ten, she has won medals for running at school and in district athletic competitions.
With her love of this sport she wants to inspire the younger generation to run and recommends running to her relatives and friends. ‘Anyone can do it anytime, anywhere’, she told us. She is in her last year of high school and is working hard to make her dream come true.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Making up natural sanitary kits ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Ngoc

This morning CEF staff and a volunteer, Mrs Minh, put natural sanitary kits together to bring to our CEF students and other students in Phuoc Son district this weekend. The kits are a wonderful donation from Mrs Sarah (Days For Girls) to these very poor girls who can only occasionally afford to buy sanitary towels. Using these natural kits is good for their health but also very economical. They can reuse them many times as long as they wash them carefully and dry them under the sun. I think for sure the girls will appreciate them.
Thank you so much to Mrs Sarah for donating all the parts for these practical and useful kits and for caring about the CEF girls.

About CEF students letters ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

At this time of year at CEF we receive many letters from our students that they have written for their sponsors. In these letters most of them wrote about their summer holiday. Although many students helped their families with the housework, farming or with the family business, they enjoyed their summer with their families, friends and neighbours.
Translating these letters is part of our work and we always enjoy reading their letters because it not only helps us to know about their lives more, but also brings back our own childhood memories.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Period Poverty ~ Guest blog by CEF's Australian manager Graeme

 I read this recently, "Struggling to afford sanitary products is just another burden for low-income women - who are normally the ones taking care of everyone else too."

The article reported on girls missing school during menstruation because they didn't have anything but rags or newspaper to use. Poor rural girls and women struggling to feed their families and unable to afford what we take for granted to bring some freedom and dignity to their lives? No. This was is Scotland.

It brought to mind the high school girls in central Viet Nam CEF supports. Girls from ethnic minorities who are supported by the government to attend school but whose allowances aren't even enough for education supplies or extra tuition sessions. As they come from poor families their parents can't provide enough funds for these education extras or for breakfast or personal items such as sanitary pads.  A US$200 annual scholarship make a big difference to each girl, apart from reducing the risk of them being taken out of school, it provides them with funds for extra tuition sessions and school supplies.

This Sunday, October 8th we'll be taking sanitary kits, including washable pads, to the girls in the Phuoc Son Scholarship Program.  These colourful and practical kits were donated by 'Days for Girls' and will ensure they don't miss any days of school.

*Guardian 9/8/17 

Monday, September 11, 2017

The new school year has started! ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Ngoc

It’s an exciting time of year with the new school year having started a week ago throughout Vietnam.  
Vietnamese students are eager to welcome in the new academic year with their dear teachers and friends and so are the CEF children. Our sponsored children are very happy to have the chance to continue their education. Thanks to CEF’s sponsorship program, they have money to pay for their school fees, other necessary fees, stationery, uniforms and some of their extra tuition classes which contribute towards them being able to improve their results. They are keen to continue their schooling because they strongly believe that education is the only way for them to escape from poverty and lead them to a bright future.
We, at CEF, always encourage them and try to help provide support for our girls to make progress with their education.
(Photo - unknown source)

Monday, September 4, 2017

The story about a wonderful man - the father of many children in Vietnam

Manus is an amazing person supporting many children, disabled and not disabled, so that they can receive an education. He sponsors nine CEF children. Please when you have time listen and see this interesting and touching youtube interview on him to learn about this war veterans life and work. (copy and paste into search bar to see it)

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A CEF students' introductory letter to her new sponsor

The following is the introductory letter a CEF student wrote to her new sponsor.

I was very happy when hearing from CEF’s staff that I will be sponsored by you from this coming school year. Today I am writing this letter to send a big thank you for caring and giving me the possibility to complete high school and go onto higher education. I also want to let you know more about my family in this letter.

My parents have two children: my older sister who is about to finish high school and
go onto university and me. My father used to be the sole provider in my family and works as a hired labourer on construction sites. Since last July, his working ability has been reduced because of having many diseases at the same time like serious spinal degeneration, haemorrhoids and peripheral neuropathy. He has to take medications regularly and has been advised to avoid working hard for a long time. My mother certainly has to become the main breadwinner, which forces her to provide for my family, our education and my father’s treatment. The higher grades we go into, the larger the burden sitting on my mother’s shoulders. My family mainly lives on two small plots of rice-growing land with several beds of vegetables in our yard, so the monthly income is very low and unstable. 

Although my parents have a very difficult situation, they always encourage me and my older sister to stay in school and study hard. I have received prizes for English in the Excellent Students Contest in my district for two years now, which makes my parents very happy and proud of me.

Having heard that you will help me with my schooling, I have much more motivation in my studies. Your help not only keeps me in school but also reduces my mother’s difficulties. I promise to try my best to study hard to show my gratitude for what you have done for me.

Before saying goodbye, I wish you and your family every happiness and good health.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

CEF students in need of education sponsorships

CEF regularly has students referred to us due to the relatives not being able to afford the education costs.  

It often is a death in the family that makes it impossible to afford the education costs as now there is just one income. Sometimes it is due to a serious illness in the family as they have large debts and loans to repay. It can be due to failed crops, death of all their livestock or just rising education costs that they simply can't meet that brings them to us asking for help.

After all the official paperwork has been done we do home interviews to make sure they really do need help, then we add them to the list of students in need of help.

Below are girls in need of help with their secondary school, high school and university education. There are also two boys in need of help because their families can't keep them in school. One boy is an orphan and one has a mother with mental illness and dad collects garbage. Without help they can't continue their education. These students sponsorships vary from US$320 to US$385 a year for school and from US$400 to US$700 for university. If you would love to take on a sponsorship please get in touch:


A CEF university graduate writes about finding a job

I would like to share my experience of finding a good job after I graduated from university. Before coming to Saigon, I was worried about having to start my life from scratch. I wondered how I might find a good career having graduated from a provincial university and with little work experience. Fortunately, I got a job working for Ho Chi Minh City Football Federation and although my salary isn’t high I enjoy my work.

I feel that being independent is a very important quality for each of us to develop, especially for girls who come from poor families. What we need is to do well and the results we achieve will be the best affirmation we can have.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A sponsor is needed to help her stay in school

V's mother has died, and dad has poor health and can't work much. He does work when well enough, but his income is only enough to feed them and pay the bills related to their living costs. The costs of education for his daughter are just too much for him, although he wants her to complete school and have a university education. Naturally he is very upset about their situation as he is dependant on others making it possible for her to receive an education.

If you can sponsor her for the last 4 years of her education please get in touch:

Part of a letter of one of CEF's university students

This is part of a letter from one of our CEF students at university about the challenges of adjusting to this new and different life and about the challenges of budgeting. All our students receive budgeting training either in the last year of high school or in the first year of university. Some get the knack of it and some don't unfortunately.  

....I am now a university student and I find my life has changed a lot. From being a girl living under the protection and care of my parents, I am now living alone in another city and I always have to manage on my own and adapt to my new environment alone. When I miss my parents, I usually call and talk to them on the phone. It helps me a lot because at least I feel their care despite not being able to talk with them face to face.
However, money is the most significant thing I have been worried about. Sometimes I run out of food money and only have instant noodles to eat for a while but I do not want to ask my parents to send me money too often.
I know that my education will be a long and challenging road but I will do my best to get to the end as I have chosen this journey and it will bring me a brighter future.......

Monday, August 14, 2017

A sponsor is needed for her to have a high school education

N needs a committed sponsor to help her go onto high school and complete her education.

School starts soon. She is deserving of a committed sponsor as she is a hard-working and clever young lady. Besides being conscientious about her home work she also is a big help at home as she takes a lot of responsibility for caring for her brother who has cerebral palsy.

Dad died leaving mum to care for four children including her son with cerebral palsy and life has been very hard for her since. She can't afford to keep N in school and CEF would love to see N have a high school education, as this will enable her to get a job after high school graduation.

Please get in touch with us at CEF if you can sponsor her through high school:

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dental Care for CEF children ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Thuy

In poor families, both the adults and children won't go to see the dentist until they have had a very serious problem for a long time because they aren't able to afford the fess. That is why a free dental service is very meaningful to them.

Every summer CEF organizes some of our children to see the dentist. On Tuesday we arranged for 11 students from a mountainous area in Quang Nam and 9 students from the countryside around Hoi An city to come to Hoi An to receive dental care.

There they were taught how important it is to keep their teeth clean and how to do that. Then they were checked and had dental treatment if needed, such as adding a sealant, doing a filling or removing a seriously decayed tooth.

Students went home with their gifts of toothbrush, toothpaste, and a small cup.

Thank you very much to East meets West Dental Centre for treating the children.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Nearly new and in very good condition

When it's time to move on from Hoi An, we do appreciate anything that is high quality and in very good condition still, such as footwear and clothing for our students whose age range is from 5-22.

Benjamin handed on his shoes recently. He had been growing too quickly to be able to wear them for long and they really were hardly worn. Two lads in our education sponsorship program were able to receive a pair of shoes each. It's such a simple gift, yet it made them both so happy.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Another challenging experience ~ Guest blog by Graeme CEF's Australian manager

We do all we can at CEF to keep girls living with their parents or relatives and in their communities, but sometimes this is a poor outcome for the girl. 7 year old M is a case in point. Last week her aunt was caught by police using her to beg and M is in fear of violence from this aunt, her alcoholic uncle and her granny, who is her carer. We visited her yesterday and granny agreed to let her go to live in the SOS village in Da Nang. We were very relieved knowing that this will bring to an end M’s fear of family violence and give her good care and education.

(Photo of M, granny and CEF's Ms Vy by Graeme)