Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday - November 1, 2009: Hai Phong

Hoa Phuong Orphanage in Hai Phong:

This Sunday is a community wide clean-up day in Hai Phong. Students in school uniforms filled the streets sweeping and picking up trash. At the Hoa Phuong orphanage, every Sunday is designated for cleaning. Kids are out sweeping the ground, gathering leaves and branches, or tending the garden. Inside each of the eight homes, everyone is busy with laundry, sweeping and mopping the floors, or cooking.

There are eight homes on the ground of the Hoa Phuong Orphanage, six 'families', one 'home for boys' (over 14 years old), one 'home for disabled kids', and one for 'street children'. A 'mother' and up to ten orphans make up a family. The house for street children is used as a temporary shelter until the kids are reunited with their parents or relatives. Orphans have to leave when they turn eighteen to make room for younger orphans. Four are scheduled to leave the orphanage in July 2010. Through the Teach Me To Fish (TM2F) Program, Kids Without Borders will walk with them until they can run on their own. It takes a little help to make it on your own.

I joined one of the families for lunch. The kids spent all morning preparing a delicious meal. We all sat in a circle on the floor on straw mats enjoying lunch. After cleaning up and doing the dishes, the kids skipped the usual 'siesta' and instead they gathered around me in the courtyard under the shades for conversation and small games. It was a beautiful day in Hai Phong with temperature in the low 80s, sunny blue skies, and a constant breeze.

Later in the afternoon, from the courtyeard we could hear the sound of violins playing. Recently some expatriates living in Hai Phong formed a charity group to support underserved children in the area, working as partners of KWB. It was an idea by Dr. Joyce McHenry from Norway who is currently living and working in Hai Phong and it was launched after I had a brief meeting with Joyce and Mr. Jack Reilly, General Manager of the Harbour View Hotel back in April, and followed by many emails. The luxurious Harbour View Hotel in Hai Phong has conducted several fundraising events to purchase musical instruments and launch music classes (teaching violin and guitar) at the orphanage.
You can make online donations to KWB to support our work with the children in this orphanage.

Meet Sarah (left) and Virag, two of the volunteers supporting the Hoa Phuong Orphanage program.

Sarah, from Norway:
I live in Hai Phong because I'm working at the Harbor View Hotel as a trainee.I am originally from Norway where I got my Hotel Management degree. I got involved in this charity project through the hotel and I think it is a nice way to do something for the children in the orphanage. What I especially like about the Music Project is that it involves music and its aim to give the children more than their "basic needs" like food and shelter. This Music Project wants to give the children self confidence and skils that can provide a positive effect on their self image. I like it :)

Virag, from Hungary:
I garduated as a biologist when I came to Viet Nam - beacuse of my fiancee's job - I could not continue my work that I had in Hungary. I had been in a few developing countries and I always had to face the fact of how big the difference is between the living standards of the West and the developing countries. I believe it is good opportunity to help children who live in poor conditions. In Hungary I could work with needy children when I participated in a dog-therapy volunteer program with my dog. The smiles of those children made me really happy during that period and I hope those smiles meant a little change in their life. the orphans's needs might be different but I hope we can make a change in their life and make them smile even more.

Smiling children, always love to pose for photos

Look who wants to join us at lunch

Duong, talented in many things, and a quick learner in violin
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