There’s no better way to start off our fourth year than to treat our dear guests to a “Taste of Vietnam” at our 4th Annual Fundraising Gala. Thanks to the concerted effort of our incredible team members, we were able to pull off an amazing self-catered dinner and raise over $45,000 in the process.
This year was very meaningful, as we received a special request from one of our supporters from the United States. The Tran Family from San Diego asked if we could help honour their late father Mr. Sen Truong Tran by helping Vinh Phuoc An Tu, an orphanage with over 50 children in Bac Lieu. Through their generous donation, CVBF was able to purchase a slide and playground spinner for the children. Aside from the basic food supply, we brought the children new picture and colouring books, funds for new beds and new wall-mounted fans to keep the children cool in the heat. We look forward to continuing to work with the orphanage to improve the lives of these children.
A traveller by the name of Marian Chung encountered an orphanage in Go Vap district in Ho Chi Minh, and she was so moved by the lives of these orphaned children that she too reached out to us to help the orphanage. One of our directors, Shanni, was able to visit the site to assess their needs. As a first step, our Foundation purchased two washing machines and two instant hot water heaters to help ensure that the children can bathe in warm water and have all their linens and clothes laundered well.
In Cu Chi, we were able to help pay in full the school fees for the five orphans living at Mai Am Mai Anh. As well, the children received new bunk beds so that they no longer needed to sleep on the floor. While at Mai Am Thien Duyen, Mr. Quang continues to make regular deliveries of basic food and personal care items for the children.
Meanwhile in Vinh Long, this year we paid for the tutoring fees for five of the children in the upper grades. Ms Mai regularly visits the children to bring smiles to their faces with little treats. Further south in Ca Mau, the children at Niem Phat Duong Hung Phuc were given a slide set with ball house to play in. At the Truong Khuyet Tat, school for the deaf and mute, our Foundation, with the generous help of the Edmonton Southeast Rotary Club, was able to provide the students with a set of amplifiers and fiver receivers. This is in addition to the two dozen hearing aids we had donated to the students in the past couple of years.
In November, our project director Amanda, along with Mr Vuong, were able to make the long trip to Arey-Ksath Bai Cai, an impoverished community with many stateless children and families along the Mekong river on the borders of Vietnam and Cambodia. We were able to sponsor the education of twenty-five of the children there. In December, Amanda visited the children at Mai Am Tin Thac in Bao Loc, where we have helped over the past four years.
Our fourth year also saw two large construction projects. The first is the Thanh Phu Elementary school in Ca Mau. When Dr. Nhung visited in August 2016, it was dilapidated building with cracked floors, chipped walls and leaky ceiling. In June 2017, our representatives Yan and Ms Chau were able to join in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for their newly-renovated school. It is now a bright, clean and safe learning environment for over 100 elementary students. Our second large project was the Po Ngan C elementary school, located in the remote mountainous Khau Vai, Ha Giang region. We were so moved by the plight of the little children who had to walk up to 3 hrs each day to get to the nearest school, that we wanted to build this little school to help shorten their journey to get an education. Their previous school was practically made out of sticks with broken benches and dirt floor. In August 2017, our director Linh made the treacherous journey through the mountains to reach the school with the local teachers and builders for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She also brought additional gifts of basic food and school supplies.
From Khau Vai, Ha Giang, Linh travelled with our representatives Hoang and team to Lai Chau to visit Hoang Then Jr High School, where we had provided warm clothing and blankets and school supplies last year. This year, we were able to get the local electrician to repair the electrical outlets and attach new fans for the students. We also donated sports equipment such as basketball sets, high jump bar and mat and soccer balls. As well, we donated books to their school library, uniforms, more warm jacket and even First Aid kits with nail clippers, as Linh had noticed in one of the previous communications that the children had nothing to trim their nails with.
In Nam Tra My, our director Huynh Anh, with the help of our rep Nam Hong, organized for the delivery and set up of solar panels for the Tra Vinh elementary school. Tears were coming down the cheeks of the teachers as this was the first time the school had electricity for lighting, computer use, and electric fans.
The Wheels for Learning Program was able to grant bicycles to students in Ninh Thuan and at Mai An Thien An orphanage. We were also able to donate three computers to the students of Ninh Thuan.
A total of $9000 is in scholarships were granted this year to students in Ca Mau, Long My, Hue, Binh Chanh and Ninh Thuan. One recipient in Ca Mau was a medical student. We also gave three scholarships to the impoverished university students living at the orphanage Trung Tam Huong Duong so that they can complete their school year.
In addition, our Foundation helped pay for the transportation and accommodation of 45 children with cleft lip and palate to have surgical repair in Da Nang through the collaborative efforts of Project Outreach International Child Health, an Alberta medical team, and the Smile of Compassion charity group based out of Calgary.
Our fourth year was important because it marked the expansion of our mandate to include helping children in need here in Canada and around the world. Although the children of Vietnam remains our primary focus, it is hard for our members to not help elsewhere when the need arises. Therefore, we have decided that 5% of our annual fundraiser will go to local projects, and 5% internationally. This has enabled us to help provide $2000 in food to the food bank in Edmonton and Calgary, while we were able to reach out to help provide school supplies to an orphanage in Malawi, Africa.
And finally, we are especially touched by our amazing volunteers, lead by Hoang and his DDUM group, who wanted to do something special this year to honour the forgotten elders, who are as vulnerable as the abandoned and orphaned children. Our director Linh was able to organize the delivery of 80 gift sets for these seniors. And our volunteers stayed to prepare both lunch and dinner meals and dessert for these precious seniors. It was a happy day for everyone, young and old.
Thank you dear friends for making all this possible. We will continue to do our best to honour your kindness.