Sunday, May 24, 2009

Blankets, pillows and Friendship…….

We have a policy at ACCV that we don’t hand out money, we prefer to make the necessary purchases ourselves. This isn’t always an easy task with us being based here in Australia, but we have a few great people on hand in Hanoi to help us out.
Recently, Ms Ha at Friendship home contacted us to say that the children were in need of new blankets and pillows. Our good friend Anh followed up on exactly what they needed and then she went in search of the right goods. She found an excellent little blanket shop and she even did some pre-negotiations on our behalf. Thanks Anh!

When Rose & I arrived in Hanoi the three of us had a lot of fun shopping up a storm for the kids. We also had fun finding a taxi for us girls and our 18 duvet blankets, pillows and pillow cases!

It is always a wonderful highlight of our trip to spend time with the children of Friendship home. This is where it all began for ACCV, we are very fond of the children of Friendship Home and they will continue to be a major focus of our support.

Rose has some strong friendships there now and the children have come to see our visits as a small constant in their lives. It’s always been a positive experience.

And this visit was no different, the children met us with hugs and joy, time slipped away and it was as though we had been there just last week. They were all delighted with their new bedding, each of them choosing their own blanket and pillow. Their gratitude for the simpler things in life still takes me by surprise.

We spent a few fun filled hours with the children, including a nice sing-a-long and even some time for a play outside.

Thank you for your continued support, 100% of your donations go directly to the children of Vietnam.

Kind Regards

Alison & Rose

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Monday, May 18, 2009

A long time coming ………. but worth the wait.

The ACCV English Language Course for Blind Students.
It was back in 2007 that we first discussed developing an English Language course for blind students. It has been a long, slow road since then, except for the last six months, which in total contrast have been quite busy, full of late nights and long weekends writing, producing & preparing course syllabus, materials and manuals.
Finally, it has all come together, and the teachers and students are now doing an amazing job of putting it all into practice.

And here they are, …………. the first class of 2009!

The plan was always for this course to be of a high standard. We wanted it to be an English language course complete with teachers, teachers aides and materials to equal those of any decent language school. And it most certainly does. This is no mean feat as many documents and worksheets must be translated into Braille before each and every class.

The course is now in it’s third week and things are going very well. Juliette is doing a wonderful job coordinating everything and the other teachers, Birgit and Hai are also making a fabulous contribution. The classroom is running very smoothly with the added assistance of four teachers aides; Van, Thuy, Hieu & Phuc. They are all working hard to make this course something special and we’re so thankful to have them all on board.

In with our manuals and worksheets we also have detailed student progress reports for the teachers to assess and monitor the ongoing development of the students language skills.

I’m pleased to say that Mr Quan is doing very nicely and his first report includes comments such as ‘a very motivated, promising student’ and while it come’s as no surprise, it’s still lovely to hear. :)

I must add that the other students have received very similar comments . Juliette, Birgit & Hai have all mentioned how motivated the students are and what a great classroom environment it is.

This is truly a dream come true for ACCV …. I hope there will be many more courses to come.

Kind Regards

Alison & Rose

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom. ……

Many of you know the story of Quan

It is a privilege to play a small part in the journey that is this young man’s life. He has come such a long way since we met him in 2007.

I sometimes pause in awe of Quans achievements and how well he has handled everything. And then I think of the expression;

……… The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree ………

When we first went up to rural Hoa Binh to meet Quan, we also met his mother Duyen. A delightful lady, we found her to be very gracious and calm as she dealt with the extreme challenges of daily life. Her husband suffered a massive stroke a number of years ago and he is totally incapacitated. Poverty stricken, with an invalid husband and a disabled child, you can imagine her day to day existence as she soldiered on and cared for both father and son.

During that first meeting we broached the subject of Quan leaving the tiny shack and coming to live in Hanoi to study. Duyen very graciously thanked us for helping them, and tears softly rolled down her cheeks as she spoke of the difficulties in their lives, and her fears as a mother about what the future would hold for her child.

Quan sat very quietly nearby and simply listened to everything that was said, he didn’t say a word.

Duyen and Quan are obviously close and it must have been so difficult for her to let him go off to a busy city hours away, knowing she wouldn't see him for months. But let him go she did, in the hope that his life would improve, and it certainly did!

Quan’s achievements have been quite remarkable and they have really transformed his life and those of his family. He has become an inspiration for so many people, and the amazing thing is that his story is still unfolding! He now works as a massage therapist, he attends IT lessons a few afternoons a week and he goes into Hanoi all day Saturday and Sunday to attend secondary school. This young man is going places!

He has that same gracious way about him, he calmly accepts & appreciates every opportunity that comes his way and he then puts his all into doing a good job. He is so much more confident now and he’s really enjoying his life. And his mum is not quite so worried about his future anymore.

Today is Mothers day, a day set aside to honour and appreciate our mothers. I can’t help but think about Quan’s Mum. As this beautiful photo from Jim clearly shows, Mother’s day is so much better for her this year.

And then of course, there are all the other mothers out there, poverty stricken, with very real fears and concerns for their child’s future……….


Alison & Rose

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Education is a human right with immense power to transform ..… (Kofi Annan)

Hi everyone,

Rose and I have just returned from another wonderful trip to Hanoi. We were extremely busy but we had a great time catching up with everyone.

It’s quite amazing how quickly ACCV is growing. When we decided that education was the tool that we would use to help these young people to break the cycle of poverty and empower them to build a better life for themselves we had no idea just how many people we would meet who really need our help. As the initial massage and Braille course we funded has been so successful (eight out of ten students are now working) we have been asked if we will support a couple of other blind Association centres in the poorest parts of Hanoi. We will be running a number of different courses for blind students including Massage, Information Technology (IT), English language and IT teacher training courses.

We have met so many delightful young people who are very eager for an opportunity to educate themselves, and we’re very eager to help them, there’s just a minor detail of raising the funds!

Here’s how you can help

$10.. Will buy a Braille board and paper for a blind student

$20.. Will buy Hien’s family rice and medicines for a month

$50.. Will pay for two blind siblings to attend school for a month

$100. Will pay for rice and oil for Friendship Home for two weeks

$200.. Will supply the children of FH with necessary household goods

$500.. Will pay for an English language course for eight blind students

$1000 Will pay for an IT course for ten blind students

$2000. Will pay for an IT course to train 5 blind IT teachers

$5000 Will pay for a massage course for ten blind students

We also really appreciate the efforts of those who run fund raising activities on our behalf.

Every dollar makes a difference, and all donations at all are gratefully received. Thank you!!

Kind Regards
Alison & Rose