I usually write the Parent group update on behalf of the group. Today it will be a bit different as I’m also publishing a very personal text regarding the visit at the Thien Phuoc Orphanage. You’ll find it in the middle of the post, and under my name. For the rest, it will be the usual. Don’t forget, Parent Corner is your page, so if you want to share something that is happening in the city, Vietnam or your home country, please send your text to firstname.lastname@example.org. If received before Wednesday noon time, it will feature in the following Friday's newsletter.
Have a lovely break, enjoy it and come back ready for the last term of the year!
Anne on behalf of the parent group.
Community Partner Visits
Our community tour started last Friday April 1st with a morning walk, not just a walk but a dog walk as we were kindly invited by Regine, the dog trainer and Koto, one of ARC leaders, to join them on their daily tour. At 8.30am, we met at Dr Nghia’s clinic in District 2, where the dogs are fostered while waiting for a new home. We joined 3 volunteers from ARC, who usually walk 3 to 5 times a week to help. After Regine told us the dos and don’ts, we were ready to meet Willard, Percy, Henry and Bi.
The purpose of the walk is to train dogs who have never received any training before, were neglected, badly treated or abandoned. The walk allows them to socialize so it will be easier to find them a new home. Most of the time the volunteers come along with their own dog. With water bottle in hand, plastic bags to collect any droppings and a stick to help guide the dogs (don’t worry, the stick is just used in front of the dog’s eyes to teach him its limits, it’s not meant to hit or scare the animal), we were ready to start. Along the walk, Regine gave us more details on how she trained the dogs and their behaviour in general. We learnt for example, to always keep our head up, to show who is the boss. That works too when crossing the path of a stray dog. The dog walk is also a nice moment to socialize. We had a break at Regine’s place and, while the dogs had their playdate, we could enjoy a moment getting to know each other. At 10am, it was time for us to say goodbye, but we’ll certainly do it again.
If you don’t have a dog, but you like them very much, if you would like to see what it is like to have a dog or if you just want to help and get to know new people, join one of their daily walks. ARC fosters more than 10 dogs and they need volunteers. You can contact Regine Meyer sending her a text message or whatsapp on 09 321 173 85. She’ll tell you which day she needs more dog walkers. She is not asking for a year commitment, you can go any time as long as ,
- 1) You book at least 3 days before so she can manage the planning
- 2) You respect and follow the rules during the walk (remember it’s not just a walk, it’s also a training moment)
If you want to take your child with you, please talk to Regine first.
ARC morning dog walk by Slidely Photo Gallery
On Thursday 7th April, Eva, Duyen and Alex went back to Saigon Pet Clinic to surprise Regine with 8 million VND donation. The donation will be dedicated to financially foster Jojo and Willard, the 2 dogs which can’t be adopted as they are too old and sick. So stay tuned because we’ll update you on JoJo and Willard’s; our TX dogs!
Poussière de Vie by Eva
Following up the recent fundraising event BIS TX FETE, the parents'group (PG) visited the community partner Poussieres de Vie (PDV) on Monday 4th April 2016. It was about 25 minutes drive from our school to the center, which is located at 102/15 Phan Huy Ich, phường 15. Q Tan Binh.
This centre supports about 100 children in their education, and also offers additional skills such as, tailoring and computing.
We were glad to be able to accommodate all of their wishlist; sports equipment, a bookshelf, equipment for studying, large screen and projector.
Thank you to the BIS TX PG, we hope our help will improve their learning environment and show our continued commitment to support PDV.
BIS TX visits Poussière de Vie by Slidely Photo Gallery
Finally on Tuesday 5th April, our last visit was to Thien Phuoc Orphange. On this trip, we were joined by Melly, Yulia and Tina who were sponsors during the school fête.
Sister Kim and her staff greeted us and we started our visit with a tour of the facilities. We saw the kitchen and the rice cooker given by BIS, the physiotherapy room, and one of the children's room. It was then the time to get to know the children and spend time with them.
We met Anh, one of the children at the orphanage, who just amazed us as he was able to guess which country each of us were from. His favourite country is South Korea. He told Suji, he liked kimchi and Korean dramas. His dream is to visit South Korea. He also knows many French words and was able to ask Anne her name and how she was doing in French. With Latifa, he said a few words in Arabic. Communication with the other children was not so easy. Sister Kim and our Vietnamese mothers helped the non Vietnamese speakers to interact with the children. Non verbal communication was also important: hugs and cuddles were part of the process. We learned their stories, which we felt were just heart breaking.
Thanks to Bibi Clown Birthday party service, we had another surprise for the children; a balloon artist and a magician joined us. We truly thank them for their support and gift. We are grateful for their gesture and highly recommend their service. You can contact them by email at email@example.com or by phone on 093 3131012. They brought a lot of smiles on the children, staff and parents’ faces.
At 9.45am the first lunch sitting was served. We helped to set up tables, and each of the parents fed or helped a child.
At 10.40am it was time to say good bye and leave for TX. It was an emotional visit. If you missed the visit, you can visit Thien Phuoc by making an appointment with Sister Kim. All the details are on their webpage, http://english.thienphuoccharity.com/visit-the-kids.html They do need money as support, however giving a bit of your time is just as important. Love, they need love as well. Thien Phuoc currently hosts 66 children .
A link to a Google album to download the originals photos is here: https://goo.gl/photos/jhEUrMEg16zNwLc26
This concludes our tour of community partners. A huge thank you again for making it happen.
Thien Phuoc Visit through Anne’s Eyes
When I signed up for the Thien Phuoc visit, I knew that it would be a huge challenge for me. Let's say I had never really felt comfortable around people with disabilities, I was never really exposed to disabilities. I just don’t know how to behave. For the last 3 months and a half, since I had to face the loss of my father, I’m also an emotional mess, anything can make me cry, whether it’s something happy or sad. So the night before the visit, I wondered if I could make it or not. On that morning I had a talk with Mathilde and Pierre-Olivier as they used to meet with Thien Phuoc children when they were in Year 3. Mathilde told me she was scared at first, that some of the children had "a strange face", but after a few minutes she enjoyed being with them and felt she could help. She also felt sad realizing they can’t do even basic things such as, eating by themselves. PO spoke less of his feelings and more on the description of the orphanage. He told me Yegor and him built a house for the children in the soft playroom when they came to visit TX. Hearing this from my children made me glad BIS had such a community program.
Before we arrived at the orphanage, Clover, BIS community project manager, explained that some of the children are lying in beds all day long and that can be difficult to see at first. I’m glad she took time to prepare us.
Unlike Eva and other parents, who were just natural around the children, I did not know what to do, what to say. Making the first step towards the children was just difficult. I am also not a very tactile person, nevertheless they need that physical contact. So I started to shoot photos, hidden behind my phone was somehow a way to delay the moment I would interact with them. Once in the big room where children lie down, I witnessed TX Mums getting confident, sitting next to the children, starting to massage them, smile at them and talk to them. I was just stuck until I met one little boy. We asked the staff what his name was and how old he was, but staff did not know. We were told that he was blind, which explained why he was touching his eyes repeatedly. He is the one who made all my fears disappear. Why him? Why did he touch me more? I don’t know. I just wanted to hug him but he had to stay strapped in his chair. Even though I knew he could not understand my language, even though it was clear that his brain was not functioning well, I described to him everything which was going on around him. His small hand grabbed my finger. His skin was so dry. He broke my mother heart even more. I don’t want to judge anyone. It’s so easy when you come from a developed country, where you have prenatal care and early diagnosis, where you get support no matter what your decision is, to give a lecture to someone who has left her child behind. However thinking they are growing without the love of their parents, makes me burst into tears.
I know I will return to Thien Phuoc. I will take my kids with me. Giving love is what I can do. They are beautiful and innocent children. Sister Kim and her team are just doing an amazing job. We came for the children, but I hope next time we can give something special to Sister Kim and her staff. It might be their job, but it’s a very difficult one and they care for the children day after day. They deserve a lot of credit too.
I decided to take my pictures in black and white as it reflects the mixed feelings I had during our visit.
TX visits Thien Phuoc orphange by Slidely Photo Gallery
and a link to go to the album https://goo.gl/photos/CCQ6L7j35GUY3cWj8
Year 6 Graduation Party Update
We are pleased to give you more information on the party. A letter was sent home with your child on Thursday including all details. Please do read it and return the reply slips to school. If you have any questions, feel free to contact your class rep through your whatsapp class feed.
What’s going on in the city?
If you are still looking for activities for your children during the holiday, here is a list of options;
If you have visitors;
And, if you like adrenaline;
In May it’s "children dental health month" and to celebrate, Westcoast Dental is organizing an art contest. The children can win a PS4, an Ipad and digital camera. For more info please visit, http://westcoastinternational.com/in-the-community
The big street exhibition, from Thai artist Pariwat A-Natatchina is on at L’usine, 1st Floor, 151/1 Dong Khoi, D1 until April 30th.
Wishing you a restful holiday and we look forward to seeing you all on Monday 25th April!