Rose Charities Vietnam: New homes for the blind

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A new home for a family with special needs

Rose Charities Vietnam: Update: July 2011 (from Ms Thuc – Rose Vietnam)

Rose Charities Vietnam: Update: July 2011 (from Ms Thuc – Rose Vietnam) Rose Vietnam is in the hands of a small team of extraordinarily dedicated volunteers, Mr. Nguyen Chi Phuoc and Ms. Hanh Thuc Thanh (Thuc). Currently Rose Vietnam is focusing efforts in Hue, where there is a great deal of poverty compounded by frequent typhoons and flooding. Projects in Hue include a school for blind adults, building ten houses for very poor blind people (4 completed to date, each house costs approximately $2000), education support and income-generating projects. Here is a summary of a case study recently completed in Vietnam “ Vietnam which has more than 3000 km of coastal line is received with many tropical storms from East Sea every year. Storms of destructive nature causing considerable damage, generally, strike the central part of Vietnam; namely three provinces, HaTinh, ThuaThienHue and QuangNam. Particularly, in Hue, since 1999, hundreds of people have lost their lives and the property damage comes amounts to thousands of billions Vietnam dong. Last month Thuc made a trip to Hue, with Mr. Phuc, and sent back the following report. We rely heavily on these reports from the field: this one is submitted (almost) verbatim to demonstrate the cultural challenges, difficult choices that have to be made when allocating scarce funds and the dedication of Mr. Phuc and Ms. Thuc. Day 1: Visited two finished houses. To date four houses have been built. Visited two families who may qualify for sponsorship from Rose Vietnam for a house for shelter. It was decided to accept one case and reject another one. Reason for rejection: The candidate is an old blind women who has 2 daughters. The younger daughter is mentally challenged and lives with the mother, the second daughter is married and lives in a house with her husband and in-laws. Her husband does not want the mother and younger daughter to live with them due to the daughter’s mental illness. The woman’s younger brother lives in the same neighbourhood in his own house. He doesn’t want his sister and his niece living with him because his house is a remembrance building for ancestors and women are not allow to sleep there. This nonsense tradition and the unequal treatment toward the old blind woman and her daughter with mental problem are the sources of the tragedy. We want to create pressure on the family and local society. Good traditions should be kept to inspire morality and ethics. Nonsense traditions should be eliminated. Thus, the family should make the arrangements for these two poor women and the local society should redefine the standard in evaluating children’s duties and compliance toward previous generations. We visited one on-going building site: this house is being built with 20 million VND, which was donated by the Canadian Community in Ho Chi Minh City.   The house will provide a decent shelter for a very poor elderly lady and her daughter, who has a mental problem. The daughter collects plastic from trash everyday for a living. Their house is on the bank of a river. Since it is not permitted to have house in this area which is considered as high risk during the flooding period the local authority granted land for her. But she needs some money to build a house. A representative of a local government organization will give her an additional 10 million VND (Vietnam dong; about Cdn $468). I have learnt that all the houses built by Rose Vietnam have received contributions not only from CanCham and PEB Steel but also from local authorities and neighbours. This is such a wonderful thing. Phong Dien Blind Associate have referred cases to us and we will select the most needy. Mr. Phuoc has done a great job in the effort of coordinating with Phong Dien Blind Associate. He has great understanding of the local mindset. My concern is that we normally give the money after the house is built; we do cash giving. I guess this is the best that we can do. Day 2: Thanh Tien village This is Mr. Phuoc’s hometown. Mr. Phuoc knows most everyone and has a deep connection with this place. This village is among the poorest villages in Hue. Thus, the villagers have a hard time maintaining a common place for ceremonies and public usage. Mr. Hoa (chief of the village) has sought help from Rose. So far, Rose Vietnam has supported repairs for the main house in the complex with a budget of 10 mil. VND. There are two rooms in the house. One is used to teach the villagers making paper flowers and another room is used as classroom. The key persons of the village would like Rose to consider 3 project proposals: 1) Investing in a sewing programme to create jobs for young women in Thanh Tien. Many young people are leaving the village to move to the booming metropolis. Mr. Phuc feels the urge to build a strong economy in the village. He buys trash from clothing manufactures, which is separated into two groups, paper and small pieces of cloth. The paper is then sold to a recycling depot and the pieces of cloth are used to make rugs/bath mats. 2) Supporting an encouraging education fund for the village. 3) Supporting the effort to maintain a traditional art and income opportunity which is paper flower creation. Please visit this website to understand it: Mr. Hoa (the artist) is also the chief of Thanh Tien village. Although this art does get public interest it hasn’t received sufficient financial support to survive. Each lotus flower is sold for 8,000 VND (37 cents). A tourist who wants to learn to make one is charged only 30,000 VND ($1.40). Recommendations: ~While the recycling idea is a good one the sewing industry in Vietnam is very competitive. I told Mr. Hoa that I appreciate the thought of job creation for female villagers but I wish he would change his mind and focus in Thanh Tien’s competitive advantage. Working together in the paper flower business is an idea. Thanh Tien can become a tourist destination and promote traditional art. ~Supporting an encouraging education fund: I think a sufficient fund for an excellent and strong minded student who comes from disadvantage family and tries hard to be the best at school is crucial. I recommend that four candidates submit papers including school record for a year and a certificate to prove that he/she belongs to a disadvantage family (Vietnamese government gives a certificate for disadvantage household so that they can collect social welfare; this amount is very little). A decision would be made based on these submissions. ~Paper flower creation: I recommend Rose Vietnam grants Mr. Hoa 1.5 mil VND for the copyright registration fees. There is a need to furnish the making paper flower teaching room. Mr. Phuoc can advise us the cost. Something basic and organic feeling is a way to go; tourists come from the city and they love the simplicity of the countryside. I would like to see it turned to a real classroom and an exhibition place so that tourist can visit there. I asked Mr. Hoa about growing more plants and removing weeds to make it more attractive.

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