Through this programme, our students work with a range of community partners, one of which is the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation (CNCF) who we have worked closely with for the past 5 years. CNCF have just celebrated their 30th anniversary so today we talk to CNCF representative Olivia Hearn and BIS Community Service Co-ordinator Nesta Lanyon-Jones to find out more about this special partnership.
What is the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation?
Olivia: The Christina Noble Children’s Foundation (CNCF) is dedicated to serving the physical, medical, educational and emotional needs of vulnerable children. CNCF believes that every child is an individual who deserves love, respect and freedom from all forms of abuse and exploitation and the Foundation establishes long-term relationships with the children it supports and empowers them to live happy, emotionally rich, and independent lives.
CNCF is a British Registered Charity and one of the longest-serving International NGOs in Vietnam and Mongolia working across Education, Healthcare and Community Development and serving many of Vietnam’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and communities. CNCF’s Founder, Christina Noble OBE, arrived in Vietnam in 1989 with just several hundred dollars in her pocket after years of having a reoccurring dream that called on her to help the lost and forgotten children of a post war-torn country, 30 years later her Foundation continues to impact the lives of those that need it most. Christina knows ﬁrst-hand what it is like to be denied her basic human rights, to be isolated and marginalised and to survive on the streets and it was this adversity in her young life that instilled in her a passion for children’s rights worldwide.
Can you summarise the positive humanitarian impact that the foundation has had here in Vietnam over the last 30 years?
Olivia: Since arriving in Vietnam (1989) and Mongolia (1997), Christina and her foundation have established over 160 projects providing Education, Healthcare and Community Development humanitarian services to vulnerable and destitute children and their families and poor rural communities. To date, these projects have assisted almost 900,000 children and collectively have impacted the lives of over 1,000,000 children and adults. Thanks to CNCF’s support and the resilience and bravery of these children to overcome their difficulties, lives have been profoundly transformed from tragedy, danger and fear to happiness, independence and hope.
Tell us more about the BIS-CNCF relationship?
Nesta: For the past 5 years BIS HCMC has worked closely with CNCF on an extensive number of community service projects. Some examples include Noble swimming club where students from BIS support CNCF students to improve their swimming skills, Week Without Walls where secondary students plan a sports day for CNCF students, donating unused furniture for use in CNCF classrooms, and in sponsoring students to attend school through CNCF’s education sponsorship programme.
Our relationship with CNCF also forms the basis of our Community Partner Advertising Competition that is integrated into the curriculum for our Year 8 students. First, they learn about advertising in their English lessons, and then they are visited by a representative from CNCF who explains all about the organisation and its work. Following the visit, BIS students are tasked with the real-world scenario of creating a suitable advertising campaign for CNCF and must present their campaigns through oral presentations. This project is a great example of how we integrate our service learning into the curriculum itself.
Our relationship with CNCF is really important to us and we hugely admire the work of the foundation. What always strikes me when we work with CNCF is how well cared for the children are, they are so well-loved, you can feel it in everything which they do.
How does the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation benefit from this relationship with BIS HCMC?
Olivia: CNCF is incredibly proud to be a British Registered Charity and grateful for the valued relationship with the highly respected British International School, Ho Chi Minh City. Through this partnership many of the children in CNCF’s care enjoy extra-curricular activities that they otherwise would not have access to, activities that not only help many of our children to heal from childhood traumas but enable them to develop and thrive through arts, music and sports by receiving a childhood that every child so rightly deserves, regardless of the circumstance they were born into. This cherished partnership also supports CNCF in promoting an understanding of the types of issues and difficulties that are faced by the children of Vietnam and Mongolia as well as the services offered by CNCF to help alleviate these difficulties.
And how do BIS students benefit from working with the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation?
Nesta: They benefit in so many ways: they gain a new perspective and see the world through different eyes, empathy for others in different situations from their own, they recognise that supporting good work isn’t just about giving money. Take for example Noble swimming, the contribution which our students make is really significant as BIS students help CNCF children to improve their swimming skills which ultimately could save their lives (drowning being one of the most significant causes of child death in Vietnam). Students from BIS have to organise themselves to teach new swimming skills, overcome barriers of communication and work as a team – they also learn the importance of creating a rapport and offering praise when you are supporting someone to learn something new.
Many of the above experiences link to the PERMA model of positive psychology which underpin our wellbeing curriculum. BIS students feel good about the relationships which they have made and feel a real sense of accomplishment when they have helped children in the club to improve.
What will the next 30 years look like for CNCF?
Olivia: CNCF remains on the ground continuing to deliver an international standard of grassroots, holistic and sustainable support to some of the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and communities. CNCF continues in its mission and vision of achieving a united world where children are free from suffering, poverty, exploitation, fear, and oppression - where children are aware of their fundamental human rights.
If people wanted to offer further support to CNCF, through time, energy, or money how should they get in touch?
None of CNCF’s work is possible without our amazing supporters who have partnered, donated, volunteered, sponsored and fundraised to make a difference to the life of a child. We are always looking for individuals to join our community, please find out more about getting involved with CNCF’s humanitarian efforts here or contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. As our Founder is living testament to, one person truly can make a difference to those who need it most, you can make a difference.