Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reaching Out's Annual Adventure

Every year, our friends at Reaching Out are treated to an outing. This year 65 people, employees and their families ventured to the Ba Na Hill Station.

An early start aboard buses got them to the gondola at the bottom of the hill and after a thrilling ride over the forest tree tops they disembarked at this fabulous Vietnamese "Disney Land".

I am always so moved when I see how the team helps one another to get to and enjoy the attractions.

Binh and Quyen and groups of advocates throughout Vietnam are working hard to create awareness and implementation of new legislation requiring access for the disabled in public places. They have a long way to go, but seem tireless in their efforts.

In the meantime there were rides that thrilled, delighted and frightened the group!

Reports were that the buffet lunch was only mediocre.....but these cheeky monkeys thought that the scraps were just fine thank you very much.

 Journeys of the Heart continues to contribute volunteer services to both the Reaching Out Craft and Gift Shop and the Tea House and has provided training scholarships, thanks to generous annual donations from our supporters.

We are so happy to see this hard working team having some fun!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

One Hundred and Seven Children

There is a pagoda outside Da Nang on the Central Coast of Vietnam where no unwanted child is turned away. On January 17th, 2014 the 107th baby was taken in.

The head nun, Thich Nu Minh Tinh has for more than 20 years been housing, clothing, feeding, educating and nurturing these children, both boys and girls. Their quarters are increasingly cramped and the orphanage is chronically under funded. A small foundation has been established and our friends Le Ly Hayslip of Global Village Foundation and Manus Campbell who lives in Hoi An have been working to support the orphanage.

The rate of unwanted teenage pregnancy, now at 20%, is on the rise in Vietnam. Abject poverty still plagues many farmers and village people who can not afford to feed nor educate their children and so they leave them on the pagoda steps. Sometimes the children are disabled or disfigured and thus discarded. Children who are left on the streets are vulnerable to trafficking into labour in factories or the sex trade.

Co Minh Tinh knows the threats to these abandoned little ones and has stretched her mission beyond its capacity and yet the children keep coming. She refuses none. She ensures that each child gets the medical help he/she needs and very importantly she also does all the necessary paper work to have these children officially named and registered so that they will have an identity card and eventually be able to obtain work.

The staff include nuns and lay persons from the village. I think that there are nine babies in this enclosure with one very young attendant.

Village women prepare food, some of which is donated, to feed the children nutritious if simple meals.

The hair cuts and robes on the older children reflect their Buddhist teaching. Some chose to follow the monastic life after their schooling.

Despite the obvious simplicity of life at the Chua Quang Chau, there are lots of clean, bright, happy faces.

At Journeys of the Heart we are hoping to add Chau Quang Chau to our list of projects and to help Thich Nu Minh Tinh to shelter and love these precious young lives.

Please let us know by e-mail if you want to contribute to this fund.