Wednesday, December 12, 2018

About being a mother of two and working full time ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Kim Chi

Photo of the CEF extended family with Kim Chi with her husband 
holding Miu, and Ngoc holding Nam 

CEF's Ms Kim Chi shares about being a mother of two young children and working full time:

Being a working mother of two young girls makes my life super busy and challenging, but also happy and a lot of fun. Sometimes due to so much happening I am under stress, for example when my girls were ill and I was off recently, as I had a lot of deadlines at work. But I am lucky that my husband helps at home, and my boss understands my situation.
Life challenges me, but also gives me opportunities, such as a great job which I like, and each day working with the staff, who are good people.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

A CEF student tells her sponsor how to make rice papers

Photo of rice papers drying in the sun
One of our grade 8 CEF students wrote to her sponsor sharing about how to make rice papers:
One of my favorite things is spending time with my mother making rice papers. It is hard work and hot because we have to work at high temperatures. Here is how we make Vietnamese rice papers.
Rice grinding: Soaked raw rice is ground with water into a slurry using this very simple machine. The trough at the bottom of the bucket is made of stone. The grinding mechanism, which we obtained just a few years ago, spins very quickly, so much so that the walls are splattered with the rice and water mixture.
Tangy addition: Nearby, there is a bit of thick old batter that is added to the slurry for a wonderful tang.
Making thin rice sheets: We sit on a low stool and spread the batter onto a cloth that's stretched over a wide pot of boiling water. After the batter has been thinly spread, a bamboo lid covers the rice sheet. The resulting rice sheet is steamed for about 30 to 45 seconds.
Removing cooked the rice sheet: We use a long narrow stick to lift and transfer the cooked rice sheet to a cooling rack, which spins around.
Transferring to a drying rack: My mother then picks up the cooled rice crepe and places it on a bamboo drying rack.
Drying the rice paper: To dry the cooked rice sheets, the racks are brought outside and placed under the hot sun for a day. Once dried, the finished rice papers are stacked up and then tied into smaller stacks and taken to market.
Thanks to helping my mother, I have come to see how hard she works, which drives me to study harder every day.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Short Video on CEF

Big thanks to John and Serena from we have a lovely short film on CEF and on two CEF girls and their mothers. 

Short video on CEF

And here are a few photos from the filming sessions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Six CEF staff now!

How quickly this seemed to have happened that we went from having one part time staff, to three part timers ........ to six full time staff!! In 2012 we took on our first part time staff member, now we have six full time staff!

I feel very blessed this has been possible. This gradual increase in staff has also meant we have been able to gradually grow.

Growth for us has meant growing the number of girls we have been able to help to receive an education in our sponsorship program, but it has also meant an increase in the care and support we can give them.

We have about 250 students in school at present, most in our sponsorship program and some in the scholarship program. We will probably take on 5 new students in term 2 in our sponsorship program and 20 in our scholarship program. That is gradual growth for us.

The support we could provide when there was only one part time staff member and myself, was minimal. As the staffing grew we could provide more support and more care. We started with a Water Safety Day when we had three part time staff. Now we have added a scholarship program to the Water Safety Day, plus Life Skills Workshops, Girls to Women Workshops, Tet Food Parcels, Clothing support, medical support, food support, bikes for the students to get to school, literacy encouragement,  mentoring and the occasional microloan.

Staffing is crucial to be able to carry out our education work and support our students and families. But the funding for staffing and for the programs is also crucial, otherwise there is no support, no care, and no education for the students.

Thank you so much to all who help us with our work in so many different ways - from sharing posts to get funding for programs, finding sponsors, raising money, and for donating for staffing and equipment, taking on sponsorships and scholarships, selling chocolates, putting out brochures at work, being on the board, being an adviser, or being a partner for CEF.

Thank you!!! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mentoring training

This week all of us at CEF had mentoring training with staff, Skye and Giang, from Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, an amazing organization based in Ha Noi that has both a sponsorship program and an Anti Human Trafficking Program. They have many years of experience of mentoring children and families with very difficult situations. They work with many street children, both children who have been sent to work in the cities, and end up working on the streets, or they have run away and are working on the streets. Many are abused and used. What they do for these children is amazing.

So when I wanted us all to learn more mentoring skills I thought of them and all of their experience.

The sessions with Skye and Giang, were filled with compassion, were so practical and down to earth, so useful, as well as thought-provoking. Now the CEF staff and I feel very inspired, and will be meeting and thinking about what to update on our interview and home visit questionnaires and how to rephrase some of our questions, so we can find out more about our families and their needs and can therefore support them more in the ways they need.

Monday, October 29, 2018

New staff member ~ Ngoc Huynh

Ngoc Huynh is from Ho Chi Minh City, but loves Hoi An and wanted to move here to live and work. She has wanted to do charity work for some time and when at university studying English she came to Hoi An to do her work experience here. 
We are thrilled to have her working with us at CEF. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thoughtful sponsors

We are blessed to have many thoughtful sponsors who show care for the students they sponsor in different ways.

Some write to their sponsor child in response to the students letters to them. The sponsor of this student who is a very good photographer, took this lovely photo of her, had it printed and framed it for her as a gift. Such a thoughtful gift that thrilled her.

The students all appreciate the extra care and thoughtfulness that their sponsors show. 

Friday, August 24, 2018

My apologies for the delay in communicating and getting information out to you

Hello dear supporters, donors, sponsors, partner organizations, friends and readers,

Due to unexpected travel due to my mother being unwell over the last year and now due to her death, I am behind with some work which includes getting updates to you, newsletters out and staying in touch with you as much as I would like.

I will do all this as soon as I can and ask for further patience.

Thank you so much,

(Founding Director and In-Country Manager - Vietnam)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

CEF has several ways for you to be able to follow us ~ a website, blog, Instagram and Facebook

People like different ways to follow NGO's with some just looking at the website, while others are on every form of social media.

We are trying to make it possible for everyone to follow us, our children and our activities. The following are CEF links:

and Instagram:

And if you have any unanswered questions please get in touch:

Monday, August 13, 2018

CEF sponsor Manus met up with some of the girls he sponsors

I am pleased that it worked for Manus, one of our wonderful CEF sponsors to meet up with six of the girls he sponsors. 

They had a wonderful time together. For our sponsored children to meet up with their sponsors is very special. It means they can put a face to the person who cares about them, who pays for their education and the person that they write to twice a year. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Free dental care for CEF students

Thanks to both East meets West Dental and Go Philanthropic some of the CEF students had dental care with no costs involved. East Meets West provides free dental care for CEF students each summer. Their teeth are examined and treated and they learn about dental hygiene and receive free toothpaste and a toothbrush. 

Go Philanthropic provides CEF with our Healthy Kids Fund which provides us with funds to take care of our students health and that enables us to provide transport for the students to get to the dentists and home to receive dental care. 

When Vietnamese are poor they do not go to the dentist for check ups and only go after they have suffered dental pain for some time, or if the child has missed more than a day or two of schooling.

We hope that over the years there will be less and less of our CEF students in need of dental care and that they will take more care of their teeth.   

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Annual June trip to Phuoc Son district ~ Guest blog By Graeme Burn, CEF's Manager in Australia

Every June we spend a couple of days in one of the westernmost districts of Quang Nam where the girls in CEF’s scholarship program live. For several years we have had a close relationship with a high school in that district about 20 kilometres from the border with Laos. About a quarter of the students in the school are from an ethic minority called the Gie Trieng and it is mostly these girls, in years 11 and 12, that CEF has been supporting for the past three years. They receive government help but this is never enough for all their education costs so many go without some essentials and some work to earn the extra they need.  The scholarship CEF gives to these girls aims to fill that gap and to provide some financial relief so that they can give more time to their studies and less to working after school. We recognise, too, the duty they feel to their families, so we give permission for some of the scholarship to be used in family emergencies. 

As a result of our last visit in early June we have made changes to this scholarship program. These changes were prompted by our improving understanding of what Gie Trieng people value most and more clarity around the assumptions we make about what would benefit the young women in the scholarship program. 

An example of this relates to extra tuition classes. These are commonplace in Vietnamese schools and in these classes students are able to learn more of the curriculum they will be tested on. Non- attendance at extra classes can disadvantage a student who may end up with lower marks. The Gie Trieng girls were not attending these extra classes because they felt uncomfortable going to them alongside Vietnamese girls. When we learnt this we decided to experiment by offering extra classes for Gie Trieng girls only in year 11 and consultation with the school headmaster and teachers, confirmed that this could be a good way to help them improve their results and do better in grade 12.  So for the 2018/19 school year all grade 11 Gie Trieng young women will be attend extra classes in maths, literature and English. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Letter to her sponsor ~ Translated by CEF's Ms Thuy Tran

...Last time Linda visited she brought me and my sister your letters and your photos. It was the first time I received a letter from you and I was very happy. I now know something about my sponsor and how much you care about us as well. Your sister and you look very beautiful. And I think your city, Dubai, looks like a wonderful city to live in.

Today, I would like to write about the person who I love the most in this world, my mother. Thanks to her, I am alive and have this life and have become the person I am now. Since I was born, my mother has been the person looking after and taking care of me. She gives me her great love, forgives my mistakes and teaches me the difference between right and wrong. She works very hard to support me and my sister. Because of her, I study harder to have a better future and to make life easier for her

And I am very lucky to receive help from CEF, Linda and you. I will do my best in my studies to make you all happy. I wish you, Linda and CEF always have good health, happiness and success....

Monday, May 21, 2018

Wishes to be a psychologist ~ Guest blog by CEF's Ms Vy

I was very impressed and touched when reading a letter written by a student to her sponsor in which she talked about why she harbors a dream of being a psychologist. N is not your typical 18-year-old young Vietnamese woman as her thinking is unusual. But she also is concerned that she might not easily be employed after her university graduation.
“I want to be a psychologist, which is very strange for a girl of my age according to the opinion of my friends. At my school, it has never been mentioned by my teachers in the career’s advice sessions, so it is totally new to my friends. I heard about this job through an article in a newspaper when I was in grade 10. There was a story about a family having a son with serious depression. His family had not noticed their son’s problem. Then he committed suicide.
His family were very sad and regretted having not cared enough for their son. Since then, I have started reading more about psychology and gradually realized that I want to do something to help people with psychological problems. This job is essential in the field of mental health care. In fact, it is popular in developing countries, but in Viet Nam it is not mentioned a lot in daily life. Here they tend to care about their finances and physical health more than their mental health.
One month ago, I found out an interesting online forum called SOS – share our stories. It mainly talks about sexual abuse, how it happens and how the abused are helped. In this forum, there are many real-life cases in which the abused have kept their stories for many years because no one knew how to help them until this forum appeared.
At school, our lessons are almost only theory such as geography, history or numbers. It lacks life skills like how to protect ourselves from dangerous situations. So, I am very worried about my future if I graduate from psychology because whatever degree we graduate with should meet the requirements of the labor market of the time. I think I should have more ideas for my future just in case. I hope you will support me no matter what my plan is.”