This year was wonderful as we had accomplished a lot together, but it was also an emotional year as we saw the passing of two of our dearest friends and supporters, Van Tran and Hoa Duong.
Van Tran was a much loved dental hygienist, friend, wife and mother of two young children, who, in her last few days, asked her friends that in lieu of flowers, they should make donations to our Foundation. Because of Van’s amazing and selfless nature, CVBF received over $5000 in donations which is now dedicated to a dental mission that we are planning in honour of her. Hoa Duong was a lovely, generous and kind mother who raised four beautiful children to be incredible individuals who devote their time to the community. Hoa Duong volunteered a few months this year visiting orphanages and schools in Vietnam on behalf of CVBF, touching the lives of so many children along the way. Van and Hoa are truly angels to children in need.
As you know, our foundation was established in honour of the many wonderful Canadians who helped us when we first arrived to this country as refugees nearly forty years ago. Our foundation was also established to honour our parents who worked so hard to give us opportunities in this land of opportunity. And, of course, the foundation was founded to honour our homeland. We are after-all the children of Vietnam. It is so hard for us to see the ongoing poverty and struggles of so many of our little brothers and sisters.
Our mission is to help impoverished children through love, education and the provision of basic needs. And over the years, as needs arise, we have expanded our mandate to help children not only in Vietnam, but also here in Canada and around the world.
This past year, our foundation helped fourteen orphanages. We have, for example, helped Bao Tro Ca Mau install an awning to shelter the children’s play area from the rain and in Bac Lieu (Vinh Phuoc An Thu), we replaced a leaky roof to protect the infants sleep area. We’ve replaced old water filters, bought library books and new blankets for children in Ba Ria- Vung Tau (Thien Duong Lieu Quan). We have also bought bicycles, a new washer, towels, detergents, new water heater, new sets of clothes and other basic needs for children at the other orphanages.
This year we also helped renovate a run-down Lop Hoc Tinh Thuong school in Dong Nai, fixed up their playground, build a shade for the playground to protect the children form the hot sun, and drilled a new well for the school. In Nam Tra My, with the help of a grant from Alberta government, we built a brand new 3-classroom elementary school while in Khau Vai and Lai Chau, we built new lunch rooms so that the children have a clean place to eat. As well, we helped drill a well to bring fresh water to the students in a Lai Chau community and installed for them a large water tank. In Hau Giang, we bought tables, chairs and school supplies for the little students at Ho Dao Tra Ban and gave out bicycles to underprivileged students in Dong Thap and Ninh Thuan.
For scholarships, CVBF awarded over $10,000 in scholarships in Ca Mau, Ninh Thuan, Binh Chanh, Dong Thap, Binh Duong, and Kien Giang.
For the underprivileged children in rural Soc Trang and Gia Lai, we brought a day of joy and entertainment in celebration of the mid-autumn Lunar Festival. Our wonderful and dedicated volunteers brought music, dragon-dancing and lanterns to over a thousand children. We also brought basics supplies to a community of blind and disabled individuals in Soc Trang. For abandoned seniors in Tay Ninh, our volunteers spent a day cooking for and visiting with them.
With the medical aspect, CVBF helped children in the Da Nang region get their cleft lips/palate repaired. In Ca Mau, we distributed to the poor glasses donated by Stephanie and Richard Cowles. In honour of Van, we had also gathered several large boxes of donated toothbrushes/ pastes that were distributed to the children in the orphanages
Locally, we’ve contributed to the CASA foundation to help children struggling with mental health and we’re currently working to help children in Tanzania.
It also warms our heart to have students from various faculties be a part of our effort: The University of Alberta Vietnamese Student Association, Vietnamese Student Union of Edmonton, McEwan University Vietnamese Student Alliance, the University of Toronto Scarborough Vietnamese Associational, the students of Truong Lac Hong and Chua Phat Quang.
Our work is only possible because of kind and generous donors like you. It is so true what Mother Teresa said: We can do no great things, only small things with great love. We are grateful that you are on this journey with us.