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Girl’s stories May 30, 2011

This is the first time I learned their stories, and some of them are shocking, you wouldn’t tell if you saw them that they had hardship in their lives, because they are full of life and positive energy. The following is from Celia’s file about 6 girls I taught last year:

Ho Thi Hoang Anh (1995) is 15.  She is an orphan who was begging at the Saigon train station before coming to Ba Chieu Home.   Her father was from Hong Kong, and went back there.  Her mother died of breast cancer in 2000.  Hoang Anh came to the home in 2002.  She finished Class 6 with above average in 2009 and wants to be a kindergarten teacher. (She also wanted to be a teacher 2 years ago.) In 2010 she finished Class 7 also with above average grade. She likes sewing.

Nguyen Thi Huong (1993) is now 17.  She was abandoned by her father, her mother works but is too poor to look after her.

She finished Class 7 with above average grade in 2009 and Class 8 also above average in 2010.  Huong likes cooking.  She wanted to work in finance and banking when she grows up but is now favouring cooking (chicken with ginger is her favourite dish).

Ho Thi May Hanh (1990) is 20.  She was abandoned by her mother, so her father looked after her and they earned their living by collecting rubbish.  She has been in the home for 8 years since 2002.

She has always liked to cook, and gave me the recipe for Bun bo Hue.

She finished Class 9 (end of Junior High School) in 2009 with above average grade and Class 10 with excellent. She is now going on to study at a City School for 4 years from which she should graduate with 2 certificates, one in accounting and the other a high school certificate.

The following three girls are not longer at the shelter, and as Celia mentioned it is a good thing because it means that they reunited with their families:

Nguyen Cat Tien (1995) was abandoned by her parents and came to the Home 4 years ago.  She finished Class 5 with average grade in 2009 and Class 6 also with average in 2010.  She likes to cook

 and wants to be a hairdresser when she grows up.

Pham Thi Mai Thao (February 1997) is 13.  She came from Ben Tre.  Her family migrated to Ho ChiMinh City to find work as servants and were transient with no home.  Thao has just finished Class 7 with excellent.  She enjoys literature.

Phan Thi Huong (1994) is 16. She’s finished Class 8 with average in 2009 and Class 9 also with average in 2010.  She will now leave school and start a 2 year course in hospitality learning the restaurant trade. She wants to work in a restaurant.  She left the Home to go back to her family.

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Ba Chieu Shelter Founder May 28, 2011

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:

Hi Marina

I have attached my list of all the girls in the home, updated on my recent trip (next post).  You can see their photos, something about them, and some of the movements. 

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.

Kind regards

Celia M Caughey

Fundraising Coordinator,

Ba Chieu Home, Ho Chi Minh City

 

 
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