Our Children

Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang

Trang is one of three children abandoned by their parents after their marriage broke down. Trangís aunt, a Buddhist nun, took responsibility for the education of the three children in 2003. In 2004 Linda took on the cost of the childrenís education and subsequently CEF - VN continued to support them. Trang is the only one of the three still in education.

Trang graduated from high school in 2006. She failed to gain entrance to university that year and, instead, started at the College of Foreign and Economic Relations in Ho Chi Minh City on a three year diploma course majoring in marketing. She graduated with a diploma in Marketing in October 2009.

As part of her Diploma course she completed two monthís work experience in a packaging company in Le Minh Xuan industrial zone outside Ho Chi Minh City. To help pay her expenses Trang has been working in a restaurant and she also tutors high school children in English. She has been studying on her own to take the TOEIC exam as well as improving her computer skills and learning computer graphics so that she can design websites.

In April 2010 Trang passed the entrance exam for the Economics University in Ho Chi Minh City. In September this year she starts her course.

We met Trang over six years ago now and she is like one of the family. As she and her brother and sister were the first three children CEF took on we have met up many times socially as well as for assessments. Trang only corresponded with her sponsors and CEF - VN over the years. Click here to read some snippets of what she has written to share how it has changed her life and how it makes all the work for CEF - VN so worthwhile.

Vo Thi Truc Ly

Ly was born in 2001 and is a healthy and energetic girl. She lives with her elderly grandparents who are about 76 years old. Her father died in a motorbike accident when her mother was two months pregnant. After giving birth she left Ly with her grandparents to be raised; Ly doesnít know either her father or mother. Her mother remarried after leaving.

A man or a woman with a baby has little chance of remarrying in Vietnam and if they care for the child, but want to remarry they give their child to others to care for them; to other family members, to an orphanage or to a pagoda. When people are very poor itís a burden too large to bear to have to be financially responsible for someone elseís children and therefore it is a rare person who will take on anotherís child.

Lyís grandparents are poor and even though they have seven of their own children they are all poor and canít help their parents. Her grandparents have some rice fields, but are too frail to work them and therefore they have to employ someone to do it for them, resulting in them only making a little money out of them, which is not enough to support the three of them.

Elderly people arenít employed in Vietnam so the grandfather spends most of his time in Danang, the closest major city, trying to earn money from selling lottery tickets. It takes the sale of 2000 tickets for him to earn $10. Once he was robbed of the little money he had earned over the month.

Ly needed a sponsor to go to school as her grandparents couldnít afford to send her. A lovely lady took on Lyís sponsorship. She has been very happy in school as she really enjoys it and is doing very well. She is conscientious about doing her homework as well as helping her grandmother in the home with domestic chores.

Her sponsor pays all her school fees, as well as paying for all school uniforms, notebooks, textbooks, school supplies, school insurance, a raincoat and extra tuition.

In Vietnam, due to the structure of the education system, children need extra tuition during the school year after class and in the summer holidays. These classes are officially Ďoptionalí, however in the majority of cases this is the only way they will learn all the information required to pass their examinations. This again puts children from poor families at a big disadvantage and increases financial pressure on the family to try to help their child receive a full education.

As her grandparents are elderly we broached the subject about Ly and what will happen to her when they pass away. They said they had already organized for her to go live at the local pagoda where they would continue to care for her and asked that we continue to help her with her education. Ly was happy with this arrangement, which is quite normal for children without parents to care for them.

Unfortunately most of the children that Childrenís Education Foundation - Vietnam has arranged educational sponsorships for have challenging lives on a daily basis. Below are a few stories that give a picture of what the lives of the impoverished are like here in Vietnam.

V is a lovely girl; sweet natured and helpful. She works in the home, cares for the animals and works in the fields. She is also a conscientious and excellent student and loves school. Her father died many years ago and her mother, elderly grandmother and several aunts all live together and struggle to make ends meet by farming the fields and breeding chickens and pigs. An education wasnít possible for her without help.

Yen Linh is a very sweet girl and loves school. Although she tries hard she is still an average student. Her mother is dying of brain cancer and isnít able to look after herself any more. The grandmother has had a stroke and is very weak, the aunt has some mental instability and the youngest child in the family has permanent health problems.

The father left some years ago. The grandfather and uncle are the only two adults who have good health. Both have to care for the ill in the family as well as earn a living. The grandfather is a truck driver and the uncle a motorbike taxi driver; they try to support the seven people in the household. Their income is not sufficient for educating the children though.

Chang and Dung's parents left some years ago to search for work in HCM City due to the ongoing challenges in supporting their two children on the meager income they had from farming. They have left them with elderly grandparents and an uncle; he works their fields. The parents havenít returned for some years now and occasionally send some money home, which isnít enough to educate the girls.

Three sisters were left by their parents as they couldnít make ends meet from the income they made from their fields. In the area they live there is little work as it is agricultural. The parents have been sending money each month for the girls, but it has never been enough to feed them and send them to school. The eldest daughter left school to get work in the nearest town to help supplement the money their parents send home to ensure that they had enough to eat and to make it possible for one child to go to school. CEF - VN is helping the other girl, Nga, so she can complete her education.

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