School on the Boat are a small charity that support 19 children and their families living in harsh conditions near to the Long Bien Bridge. Their school is no longer on a boat, as thanks to the generosity of supporters who sponsor the children, the charity are able to pay for them to attend a good local school. Last term BIS held an activity day for the children and this term, at our Tet Fair, we raised 20 million vnd which we donated to their medical budget. Before we gave this money, the families had no way to pay for doctor’s check-ups or emergency health care, so it was a really great gift for them to receive.
On the 11th April 15 students from years 8, 9 and 12 returned to Thinh Dai Pagoda to visit the children who we are now getting to know. The children who live there under the care of the Abbott, were excited to see us and recognised many of the students from previous visits. I was really proud to see how well our students mixed with the children, reading to them, playing games with them or just giving them some love and attention. The children all attend a local school and it was great to see them take an interest in reading the books we had bought with us. During our ‘Road Safety Week’ mufti day last month, we raised money which meant that we were able to donate a total of 10 million vnd to the Pagoda to help pay for the children’s school fees as well as their daily living costs.
One of the Secondary council’s tasks this term was to find a suitable charity to donate funds raised by the BIS community. Funds were raised from Mufti days, the council’s Tet fair stall and other generous donations from the BIS community. In a joint decision with the charity and community Society, the council chose to donate to SympaMeals, a local charity and one we have worked with before. In total, 38 million has been donated to SympaMeals.
The charity has purchased some essential equipment for the National Cancer Hospital (Bệnh Viện K), which include bubble humidifiers and wall suction units for cancer patients. Ms. Anh, the founder, can be seen handing over the equipment to Dr. Cong on behalf of the council. We plan to visit the hospital in term 3 and look forward to seeing the equipment in use.
Katrina Marsden & Martin Toner