February 2014 Newsletter




I’ve come to the end of my yearly January visit to Vietnam. Over a 4 week period I used $6,000 of funds provided by our donors. The funds provided assistance to a number of orphanages in the Mekong Delta, Saigon and Nghe An regions, as well as to a community kitchen, two households of nuns in tertiary study and an indigenous village. The manner in which these funds were spent is summarised below.


$800 on student scholarships

An Binh Orphanage is a private facility run by nuns of the Holy Cross order in Saigon. During the day, the orphans and disabled residents work or study. Our sponsors in Australia provide support to individual students in their study courses. Course fee receipts were emailed by Sister Lich (seated on the left) to receive payment.



$900 on computers

At An Binh Orphanage, our interpreter and IT expert Phap kindly donated his time to upgrade the old computer with extra RAM, printer and monitor donated in Australia. He also assembled and installed two new computers for the residents (one on each floor).


$300 on Hieu’s 1st surgery recovery

Many of our donors will remember the story of Hieu, who suffered acid burns as a baby. The first of Hieu’s series of facial reconstruction surgeries for the next few years was carried out in December 2013. It’s a complicated story but Hieu’s surgery was carried out by medical students under supervision and was therefore free. But there were costs for post-operative care and this payment, given to the Orphanage Director, was towards those.


$200 on a study library

The study library at An Binh orphanage was a purchase of English language posters, DVD’s, inspirational books, textbooks and illustrated children’s books. The disabled Australian Nick Vujicic was well known in Vietnam so his translated book was of immediate interest.


$200 medical equipment

Acupuncture and reflexology (a form of therapeutic massage) is very popular in Vietnam. The equipment set was purchased by interpreter Nhung (who had also completed the course and knew the equipment range very well) so that Sister Kiem could treat residents at An Binh Orphanage.


$300 on Hieu’s medical and personal costs

Personal bank account arranged by Nhung (interp) with keycard access by Hieu, so that she might be able to cover some of her personal and medical costs.


$250 on school materials and infant supplies

The Buu Tri Temple Orphanage in Can Tho City is a private orphanage partly funded by Buddhists and overseas sponsors. With Long as interpreter, we obtained a list of the Years 1 to 5 school materials needed for next semester. We also bought 3 months supply of formula, nappies etc for the two new infants at the Temple. They were born during the Christmas period and were left at the Temple by their unmarried mothers.


$470 on tables and chairs

The Nga Nam soup kitchen in the Mekong Delta, is a volunteer group that provides food for local patients, students on a tight budget and the town’s poor. Through Long as interpreter, we provided stainless steel tables and plastic chairs for sit down meals at the soup kitchen.


$500 on student library

Huong Duong (sunflower) orphanage, near Can Tho, is a private orphanage partly funded by an overseas French-Vietnamese organisation. It has about 25 boys and 5 girls. Construction of study room bookshelves and purchase of library materials was managed by Hien (interpreter).


$250 on student sponsorship

This was the final semester payment of the sponsorship by Dennis for Thuy, completing the Blood Test Diploma at HCM. At course completion Thuy will go into seclusion in the convent to be trained as a nun. Blood testing is an important form of medical screening which Thuy will be able to provide at Huong Phuong’s village clinic, if she is able to get the right equipment.


$260 on nursing study equipment

A household of 11 sisters attached to the Holy Cross order are studying nursing in Danang. Through Chau (interpreter) we purchased stethoscopes, blood pressure testing kits (three of each), a Vietnamese-English electronic dictionary and two Vietnamese texts for young men and women on how to life a healthy life.


$450 on study computer and desk

A group household of 13 sisters attached to Holy Cross order are studying university courses in Hue. One or two laptops are privately owned. Our purchased research and assignment tool is the desk top computer, set up with the right software packages and a computer desk. Purchased with the aid of Huyen (interpreter).


$500 on student sponsorship

This was the semester payment of sponsorship by Leigh for Hiep and by Clive for Huyen. Both students are studying the foreign languages degree at Hue university.


$400 on local communications: interpreter, local internet, printing

My travelling interpreter was a volunteer but was given some payment to cover costs. Each annual trip I buy a local sim card and internet USB to communicate with donors, orphanages and interpreters. The sim card and internet are given to students. Orphanage fund visiting cards, greeting cards and envelope stationary were printed in HCM with our orphanage fund logo and contact details. They were used by students to send greetings to donors. We had enough printed so we don’t run out of our stationary in the future.


$400 on bicycles and blankets

Trang Nua (Vinh) shelter for 14 homeless children is funded by the convent. We purchased 3 bicycles and 10 winter blankets for the children.


$80 on baby milk formula

Last year we provided enough funds to an adopted baby at Cau Giat (Nghe An) to pay for a life saving heart operation. At this visit we purchased 2 months supply of milk formula.


$140 on children’s clothing

At Hung Son indigenous village (about 150km inland from Cau Giat) we distributed clothing to the poorest children. The clothing was Vietnamese made and purchased locally at a Hung Son market stall.


$400 on chickens & piglets to raise, blankets and rice

We provided assistance to the poorest families in Hung Son indigenous village (about 150 km inland from Cau Giat). The project was carried out by Chau (interpreter) with guidance from Cha Thuc. This assistance package was 2 blankets, 6 pigs, 10 chickens and bags of rice.


The January 2014 trip is at an end, but during the trip many people made suggestions for ways in which our small fund might help village communities. Many people asked about assistance with school fees and school materials. We were also asked about a water filtration plant for a fishing village. I always asked for a detailed and realistically costed plan to be prepared for us to consider. We still have funds available and will use them to assist these communities. I will be reporting back to our donors on how much money is spent.

I want to especially thank donors who have provided long-term support: John Q, Clive, Bernadette & John, Geoff & Rachelle, Michael & Adrienne, Leigh, Jan & Julie, Loan & Tiep, Hung & Merridee, Karna, Sonja & Damian, Sam.

I also wish to thank the many people who contributed one-off donations.

On behalf of our committee, as well as from me, our heartfelt thanks for your generosity. This is allowing us to achieve so much more here in Vietnam than would otherwise have been possible.


Peter Kabaila, 4th February 2014