Sunday, February 28, 2010

Salt Spring Sends Kids to School

It is still shocking and heartbreaking for us when we are faced again with the harsh reality that many children do not go to school in Vietnam. If the family is too poor to pay the school fees for the children, they do not go to school. Even though the fees are only $50 a term, if the family income is a mere $600 a year and there ar two or three children; school fees, books and uniforms are more than they can handle.If the family lives too far from the nearest school for the little ones to walk to school, they do not go. If the child has a disability they may not go to school.They have no way to get to school as there is no access for mobility impaired kids and very little Special Education because there are few trained teachers and no equipment.

For the children from Hoa Van leprosy village, the problems are three fold. There is no school in the village beyond grade six, their parents are very poor and they suffer from discrimination.

Our friend Linda has found a creative way to help these childen. Through careful screening she has found the most promising scholars, located "foster" homes or the homes of relatives on the outskirts of the city of Da Nang, sought permission for the children to attend school in the district and set up sponsorship for the fees and living expences. The annual fees range from $300-$600, depending on whether the child is living with relatives or a "foster" family.

Today we went with Linda to meet the children and deliver the next term's fees to the parents. We were so pleased to be able to support three more of these beautiful kids for a year.  Thanks to the Salt Spring team of Journey of the Heart supporters, Stan and Marie, Stan and Anne, Peggy, Richard, John and Margaret and Janice. Off islanders Ellen and Avril also pitched in and Andrea and Marty contributed last fall to support a child. SO...a total of four in the picture above are "ours"!!!

When we asked the students what they liked best about school in Da Nang, they said they liked being able to go to school everyday!!!! When we asked them about their ambitions we heard from aspiring doctors, engineers, teachers, a designer, a journalist and a tour guide. Oh we hope so....we hope so!!!

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