Saturday, November 29, 2008

Support from the kids ….. for the kids…..

Most of you know the story of Quan, he’s a fine example of how easily a young life can be turned around. There are many blind kids in Vietnam, just like Quan, who really need our help. We are looking at funding Braille courses for young children, not only to teach them Braille, but to also equip them with the necessary skills to go to mainstream school. We will help them on the pathway to an education and a shot at a life. Most of these children will never get to school without our help.

To implement our projects we need to raise funds. I must confess that I find fundraising to be a bit of a chore, I don't enjoy it. I would much rather be working on our next project for the kids. But without funding, the projects will never happen. So, it was with great appreciation that I received a phone call telling me that the Vietnamese Catholic Youth group had hosted a couple of evening ‘Dinner Dances’ to raise funds - and they were very kindly donating to ACCV.

We are very grateful for their support, the money they have raised will be well spent giving a lifetime opportunity to some very deserving young blind children.

The VCY are a delightful bunch of dynamic young people. We had the added bonus of their company for a sunny afternoon Australian BBQ – Vietnamese style – delicious!

Thank you!!

ps: If anyone would like to host a fund raising even on behalf of ACCV we would really love to hear from you!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Every sweet has it's sour.........

On our travels back and forth to Hanoi, Rose has a little side line that she takes great pleasure from. Before each trip she likes to stock up on supplies of an unusual Australian lolly – Sour Warheads – an innocent looking candy that is coated with a very sour and bitter outer layer!

She likes to give them to unsuspecting people and then she quickly takes their photograph.

She really likes to catch their expression as the expectation of a sweet taste sensation is replaced by the shock of the very sour experience!

The kids have now become somewhat used to them and they have become a measure of strength and stamina, Jim reported them taking a handful, proudly showing them to the other kids and loudly yelling ‘mot, hai, ba’ and throwing them all into their mouths at once - to the cheers and delight of the other kids – and then there is the inner battle to keep a straight face!



Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thao .............. chasing the dream

I would like to introduce you to a delightful young lady by the name of Thao, she has an interesting story….

Thao was raised by a very poor, and very devoted, single mother. To survive over the years they have collected rubbish and foraged through it to find anything that could possibly be recycled, sold or bartered for food. It’s been a tough road and Thao’s mother is now very ill with kidney failure.

Thao is a very bright young lady, even with the challenges of extreme poverty she has always enjoyed and focused on her study. During her difficult childhood years teachers would sometimes give her food, school supplies and encouragement to help her along the way. Recently Thao finished High School and she produced excellent grades.

Even though she has very limited options Thao has been chasing a dream, she wants to be a doctor. With her mother at her side she travelled to Hai Phuong to sit the admission examinations for Medical University. The exams were very difficult and Thao had the added distraction of fatigue and hunger because she hadn’t eaten for a few days, they had spent all of their money paying for travel expenses and a room to stay.

But still, she completed all the examinations ……. and she passed with flying colours!

She now faced the problem of financing six years of Medical University. After trying many avenues, all to no avail, a local reporter, also named Thao, picked up her story and widened the search for support. Eventually she came into contact with Dat and ACCV became a part of the picture.

So, along with Dat and Thao (reporter) we travelled to visit Thao (students) hometown, a small province outside of Hanoi. We met with her and her mother and let them know that ACCV would sponsor all of her education and living expenses for the next six years. When we spoke to her she discussed her reaction to receiving an offer to attend the university

“at first I cried because I had been successful, and then I cried because I realised I would never be able to afford to go …… and today I cry because I am so happy that I will be going”.

It was a lovely afternoon for us and certainly for Thao and her mother, it was all a bit surreal. As we made the lengthy journey back to our car we would occasionally look back. Each time we turned around, there was Thao, standing in the rain just smiling and waving at us. Not wanting to go back, just waving.

Imagine the doctor that Thao will become, and the many lives she will enhance in turn.

We’ll keep you updated on her progress, you can clearly see the huge changes your donations make to peoples lives. The story of Thao and ACCV also appeared in the Local Newspaper



Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not a great day for ACCV .........

Today I have very sad news to pass along to you all.

I recently wrote about Hien, the delightful young girl whose education we are supporting. I also mentioned that her two younger brothers were very ill. A number of you have made regular enquiries to see how the boys were doing.

Sadly, yesterday Hiens youngest brother Tien, aged only 11 years old, passed away. Poor little guy has suffered terribly and while his death was not really unexpected it is a terrible loss for their family.

ACCV will be offering support where we can, including funeral expenses etc.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Ripple Effect ............. Quan's story

As so often happens when we begin something, we think we know precisely what we are doing. Our goals and objectives seem so clear.

And so it was with Quan, our goal was very simple, we wanted to improve his life, to give him the opportunity to leave his hillside home, at least for a little while. To learn to read - and best case scenario, to hopefully give him some sort of employment prospects for the future.

We weren’t too sure how the massage would go, Quans hands were a problem as his illness had also led to extreme arthritis and pain in both his hands. But, even if the massage didn’t work, there were so many other positives to be had, it was definitely worth a shot.

For as long as I've known Quan he has required pain killers to give him relief from the constant pain in his hands, we would buy them for him in bulk. As you all know, the massage course was very successful and Quan is now working and he really enjoys his job.

On our last visit Quan invited us to a lunch he and the others at the centre had prepared, (very good too I might add!) I asked him if he needed me to pick up a supply of pain killers for him…

I was so surprised when he responded;

“Oh, no thank you, the pain has gone from my hands now, I haven’t needed the pain medicine for a long time!”

It turns out that the constant use of his hands as he gives massage, has brought great relief to his arthritic condition.

After lunch Quan very proudly announced that he had something to show me. He took off into a back room with his friend and colleague Thuy, and returned pushing a wheelchair! …. He very proudly explained that with help from those at the Association he had bought a second hand wheelchair for his father who has been incapacitated since suffering a stroke a number of years ago. He also announced that he sends money to his mother each month.

We had a great laugh as Rose and I gave Quan a quick spin in the wheelchair, great fun!!

For just a minute, I couldn’t help but look at him and think back to the withdrawn, lonely boy I met last year, and the fears his mother had for his future. This same boy has now enhanced the standard of living of his entire family.

Not part of the plan ………but a really nice ripple effect.