CHILDREN’S EDUCATION FOUNDATION - VIETNAM
One of the things that we love most about running a successful company like Calla Property is the opportunity to give back to those less fortunate in the world. No matter how bad things get, no matter how overwhelmed we may feel, we know that our lives are infinitely easier and more abundant than most in the world.
Last year my daughter and her Girl Guides group put on a sausage sizzle at Bunnings and with the money raised, donated to the Children’s Education Foundation. I learnt about this when the co-director Graeme was presented with the funds and he spoke a little about the organisation. He said that the girls had raised enough money to keep a girl at school for a year, in Vietnam.
I approached Graeme to find out more. He told me that the research indicates that the best way to break the cycle of poverty in these poor countries is by keeping children – especially girls, in school. And it only costs $250 per year to do so. Keeping a girl at school substantially reduces the risk of a girl being trafficked for prostitution or sweatshop labour.
After a bit more investigation into the foundation I was satisfied that it was indeed a worthy charity to donate to. Graeme’s wife, Linda, was in Vietnam researching for her new cookbook when she found herself in the kitchen of a nun who was reputed to be the best cook in the district. In the kitchen, where the nun was showing Linda how to cook her recipes, three children were running around. As you would expect, Nun’s aren’t meant to have kids, so Linda asked who they belonged to. They were her sister’s kids who had left them behind when she remarried, which is very common and she had quit the church to cook again, so she could afford to keep them in school. Linda asked what she could do to help, and the Children’s Education Foundation was born. Linda now lives in Vietnam to oversee the operation and ensure that the right kids are getting the support they need to continue their education.
WHAT DO CEF DO?
Children’s Education Foundation – Vietnam works to break the poverty cycle by helping girls from impoverished or marginalized communities complete school or receive further education or training. By helping females CEF believes this not only helps young women but gives to succeeding generations and their communities the possibility of a better life with more choice.
A better life for young women can mean many things. A girl who completes her schooling grows into a woman who is better able to look after her health and that of her children. By finishing schooling herself, she will care more that her children finish theirs and be better able to support them while they are in school. As a result of the skills and competencies she has gained during her schooling, she will be better equipped to earn a living and so have greater independence and dignity. An educated young woman is also at considerably less risk of becoming a victim of the sex trade or ending up an imprisoned worker in a sweatshop.
The sense of self-esteem and confidence that completing school gives, can contribute significantly to the positive development not only of the individual, but also to that of their families, their community and society as a whole.
While there are many ways you can make a difference through CEF, at Calla we chose to sponsor a young girl for her education fees. In fact we feel so strongly about the potential of this program to break the poverty cycle, we now sponsor three girls.
They each have their own unique story as to why they have come to the attention of the CEF and why their families cannot afford to pay for their schooling.
Vu Thi Hong Nhung was born in 2001 and has been an orphan child since she was 5 years old. Her father died in a motorbike accident, and her mother got married 3 years ago and has a son with her second husband. Therefore, Nhung has been living with her grandparents who are poor farmers. Although she lives in such difficult circumstances, Nhung is a very good student. She has been recognized as outstanding and top at her school. US$250 not only pays for her education fee and school insurances and extra tuition, but also provides her with school uniforms, school books, notebooks and a raincoat.
Nguyen Doan Ky is a little lovely girl who lives with her mother and 2 little sisters in a small shared room. Her father died from a cancerous thyroid around a year ago after 2 periods of treatment. The family borrowed over $5,000 from relatives and neighbours to pay for all the hospital costs.
Doan Ky is in grade 3 next term and she has been doing well at school. She is the second best student in her class and always gets good marks. Ky likes all subjects at school but math and music are her favourite subjects. This is the reason why she dreams of being a singer in the future. In her spare time, she likes reading comics and looking after her little sister. She is a sweet and helpful girl. According to her neighbour, she loves her mother a lot and helps her mother with many household chores.
Bui Thi Hong Vy was born into a poor family in Dai Loc. Although she is 9 years old she looks smaller than other children her age. She enjoys going to school. She is now in grade 4. When she comes home after school she often helps her father to do some household chores, such as cooking the rice, collecting some vegetables from the garden, going to the market and shopping for him, and playing with her two younger brothers at home.
Unfortunately, last December Vy’s mother passed away from a heart disease. To afford her funeral they had to sell all the ducks they had. Since Vy’s mother died, her father has had to be the mother of the family also.
This next academic year Vy will be in grade 5 and her sponsorship for the year is $275. $50 is for food and $225 is her education support, and this support will enable Vy to continue her education as well as provide supplies she needs for school for the forthcoming academic year.