Exactly one year ago I was in Vietnam. About two weeks ago, I wrote an email to my students at Ba Chieu in Saigon and sent them a card to congratulate them with New Year of Rabbit! I received two emails back from Bi and Hanh. I was glad Hanh wrote in English or translated her letter into English with Google Translate, so I could understand the meaning very well.
I am happy to receive your mail you, thank you about the pictures, it was very beautiful. How is the knife? How are you? all is not favorable?
You know now there are more changes that, and Thao, Truc, Huong skin no longer with us anymore, and there is a lot of new kids on with us. I hope someday you can come visit us again as the days past are happy with us.
New Year, wishing the men that a lot of fun and always smiled. all good things will come to you most.
miss you very much.
I was really concerned about three girls who are no longer in the shelter, and I immediately wrote to Hanh asking where the other girls went, to Andy, who is a VPV local volunteer organization coordinator, asking him to investigate what happened. I also wrote to Kris, who was a volunteer just like me, who lives in Spokane, WA, and who is going to Vietnam again this year to teach children English in another shelter. I asked her to bring presents from me (which I mailed to her) to my students at Ba Chieu shelter and to find out about missing girls. She will be flying to Saigon next week on Thursday. I also did some research online to learn more about Mai Am Ba Chieu and that is what I found:
Bà Chiểu Home
Add: 149/1 Nguyen Van Dau, Ward 11, Binh Thanh Dist, HCMC
Tel: (+84). 85.150.556
The Ba Chieu Home for disadvantaged and homeless girls in Ho Chi Minh City was set up in May 1996 with initial funding from the New Zealand Embassy. It is administered by the Women’s Charity Association of Ho Chi Minh City, a voluntary, non-governmental organisation set up in 1989 under licence from the HCMC People’s Committee. After the first two years, the Embassy could no longer fund operating costs, so I have organised fundraising and private donations mainly from New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses with a Vietnamese connection ever since.
Mai Am Ba Chieu is an open house for street children and little girls without parents’ care. It was established in 1998 and twenty children, at the age from seven to sixteen are living in it. Before NVC‘s gathering money through PR at TV and constructing the current house, there was just one room. It should be mentioned that WOCA offers land and Ambassador of New Zealand sponsors for Mai Am Ba Chieu. It is a model open house in Ho Chi Minh City and many volunteers from overseas and the members of Embassies visit there. This is one of the successful projects which NVC sponsored as the facility constructions. Twenty girls live in MABC in 2001, seven high school students, five junior high school students and four trainee of national factory. They used to be street children, who had lived on collecting garbage, begging and selling them. They have to leave MABC to society at the age of seventeen or eighteen, so they are job-trained in MABC. Some of them will be able to go to college by the scholarship of NVC.