Several weeks ago I receved comments to my blog by Celia, who is the founder of the shelter I volunteered at last year. We exchanged emails and I learned more about Mai Am Ba Chieu, the girls there and how Celia keeps this organization alive:
I helped to start the home 13 years ago, and also to build the current house, and since 1998 have been responsible for finding the funds to keep it going. (We lived in VN for 7 years.) For the first 2 years I arranged for the NZ embassy in Hanoi to fund it, then when they couldn’t fund operating costs, I took it over to keep it as a kiwi project. We get some profits from the NZ Wine & Food Festival which I set up in 1999 when I was NZ Trade Commissioner and Consul General, some from sponsorships (approx US$100 for one girl’s education for a year, $365 for food and around $600 for all costs).
I also am a guest speaker and give my fees and gold coin donation to the home. I have also written a book called Taste Vietnam, introducing Vietnamese cuisine, with a photo of each girl on each page, and all profits going to the home. I’ve also done another book There’s Lots of Love… of poems for children, illustrated by the girls, and a boardgame Venture Vietnam, again with profits going to the home. So somehow each year we manage to find the US$12-15,000 needed to keep the home going. I am in close contact with Yen and the girls, and have organized for the NZ Embassy to fund the sewing room and computer room.
I am always happy to hear of volunteers like yourself and hope you have found the contact with the home as rewarding as I do.
Celia M Caughey
Ba Chieu Home, Ho Chi Minh City