Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Keeping Children In School


Lately we have been working with the Children's Education Foundation's  founder Linda Hutchinson-Burn in Hoi An and her colleague in New York City to find good matches for our contributors to sponsor amongst the many on their waiting list who are hoping to stay in school.  

CEF ( see website link on the sidebar) has been doing good work in Vietnam for about ten years. Recently, as inflation escalates and the gulf between rich and poor becomes greater, Linda has been beset with requests for support. The children at risk are from single parent families; are being cared for by grandparents other relatives or nuns; or have one or both parents ill with life threatening illness...any number of tragic circumstances that threaten their continuing  education in a country where school fees are prohibitive for the poor. 

The focus for CEF in the past has been on education for young girls but as more families become destitute, some boys are now included on the CEF list. More and more the needs grow for supplements to cover food for kids suffering from malnutrition and for school supplies and uniforms, as well as tuition.

The challenges are becoming greater and greater for Linda and CEF to meet all of the requests for support.  

We are committed to creating awareness through Journeys of the Heart about this fine organization and its dedicated founder, her small staff and a corps of volunteers, in Hoi An, Vietnam, in Australia, in the US and in Canada.

The pictures above illustrate some of the conditions in which these children live, in thatched or tin roofed cottages with rudimentary kitchens. but they are loved by their caregivers who are only too aware that education will help break the cycle of poverty.

The bicycle , being ridden by one of the CEF kids was donated by a departing expat and now getting to school for this young Miss is a 15 minute bike ride rather than a one hour walk each way.

This beautiful young face tells the story of her yearning not only to stay  in school, but to stay with her father, a widower, whose own health concerns have caused him to contemplate giving up his children. The picture was taken while he talked with Linda about his plight. Blessedly this young girl's fervent wish for the family to stay together and for her to be able to go to school has now been answered through CEF.

Many thanks to all of our donors who have chosen CEF as an avenue to share their good fortune. And many thanks to Linda, for her inspiration and devotion.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Just look at this smile! This gentleman is Kim Anh's Dad. his leprosy has been arrested but he was so happy to receive the bandages that were delivered to his village from Salt Spring Island where a group of us have been knitting for the D.O.V.E. Fund Bandage Brigade. A group from Salt Spring who went on tour to Vietnam earlier this year volunteered to deliver these precious hand made bandages. The group stuffed the bandages in the nooks and crannies of their suitcases and then left them with friends in the town of Hoi An for eventual delivery to the leprosy village of Hoa Van. 

I will try to briefly recount the events in this lovely serendipitous chain of events.
  • Bruce and I visited Hoa Van leprosy village with Le Ly Hayslip and the Global village foundation in  2008 bearing gifts of blankets, food and bandages
  • We returned to the village in 2009 again with Global Village Foundation along with our neighbours Stan and Marie, again taking food and bandages
  • In the meantime, with the support and encouragement from Linda Stoker and her D.O.V.E. Fund Bandage Brigade in the USA, Canadian women began to knit up a storm
  • We met Linda Hutchinson-Burn, founder of Children's Education Fund, headquartered in Hoi An where we work each year
  • CEF began to sponsor promising young scholars from Hoa Van leprosy village so that they could complete high school
  • Journeys of the Heart loved the idea that children from Hoa Van and began to channel some funds to CEF in 2010.
  • Kim Anh was one of the first children from the village to be sponsored by Journeys of the Heart
So many people and so many organizations connecting to ensure that these sweet people gain some relief from their poverty and discomfort.