I received an update from Celia Caughey about the Ba Chieu shelter in Ho Chi Minh:
I am happy to report to you following my visit to Vietnam last month. I met with the girls several times and they were in good spirits and enjoying their summer holidays.
I attach a copy of this newsletter with photos if you would like to print it out, but have set the text out below.
I also have available an updated list of all the girls, with a photo of each and a brief background about them, so please let me know if you would like me to email that to you also.
Once again all the girls finished the academic year well and graduated up to the next class (in Vietnam they need to reach a certain level to be able to proceed to the next grade). That is quite an achievement, and reflects well on the way Ms Yen is managing the Home and coaching the girls. Hau (10) is continuing her interest in art and won 2nd prize in the district in the “Green Paint” competition.
The girls also spend time in the computer room, and many are now on facebook with a group set up for their friends and supporters.
The girls get up at 5.30 each morning, do exercises, chores to clean the house, wash their own clothes (the older ones helping the younger), have breakfast and are out to school before 7am. I recently heard of a survey of retired people as to what factor determined who had the most satisfaction in their lives: the key thing was having been used to working in their homes as children. So perhaps the girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Home will get more life satisfaction than our pampered western (and wealthy Vietnamese) children!
There has been quite a bit of movement in the past year, with 8 girls moving out and 9 new girls. Of the girls leaving, Tien, Nga and Thao have returned to live with their grandmothers; Tien, Nguyen, Nga and Hong have left to go home and Loan has left to go to Nursing College. Loan has always dreamt of becoming a nurse, with strong Christian principles and a commitment to wanting to help sick people get better.
She will make a wonderful nurse, and I was pleased we were able to provide some funding for her college fees to help her realize her dream. I have always told the girls to dream their dreams and we would help them make it happen. So it is very satisfying to see one of the girls who has been in the Home since soon after it began when she was 7 now coming through at 21 and able to train in the vocation to which she has aspired.
Two of the other older girls, Thuy and Tien, both aged 20, have now finished 2 years of study at a technical college in Go Vap specializing in economics and accounting, and both now have jobs, Thuy in a bank and Tien as an accountant, so they are able to support themselves and have left the Home”.
It’s been two years since I met the girls in Ho Chi Minh. 5 out of 6 girls I was teaching Sugar left the shelter. One day I’ll visit them again.