Projects & News

Vietnam Foundation successfully organised a joint fund raising dinner with Blue Dragon Children’ Foundation on the 25th of August 2017.

Blue Dragon was founded by Michael Brosowski, an Australian teacher at the time, to help Vietnamese street kids. Michael has spent the last 15 years sending thousands of street kids to school and in the last few years, has saved hundreds of trafficked children and helped to rebuild their lives.

The fund raising dinner attracted about 450 guests from a wide community. As well as hearing from Michael, the patrons enjoyed good food and entertainment from various performers, from traditional dances to ball room dancing.

In total, $32,885 was raised of which $16,926 was allocated to Blue Dragon and $15,959 to VNF. In addition to the financial benefit, this event has been a wonderful vehicle to raise awareness of Blue Dragon and Vietnam Foundation in the community.

All this was made possible by a number of generous donors and many hard working volunteers to whom we are truly grateful.

The money raised for VNF will be used in the next project which is currently being evaluated. Watch this space for our next exciting news.

Followings are some of the photos of the event:

Michael giving his talk at the fund raising dinner

Blue Dragon young supporters

Dancing, a popular entertainment

An enthusiastic supporter of Michael Brosowsky

$45 will help to recycle one bicycle and bring smiles to one bright child.

You can help one, two bikes, or as many bikes as you like.

Our target this year is to raise $18,000 to deliver 400 recycled bicycles in central and southern Vietnam where the refurbishment will start in early June 2017 for distribution around the beginning of the school year in September 2017.

Please click the link below to read the appeal letter.

To make a donation:

  • Mail cheque to:                    Vietnam Foundation,
    137 Lancelot St, Blacktown, NSW 2148, Australia.
  • Bank transfer in Australia:    Vietnam Foundation Account No. 900626631
    ANZ Bank: BSB 012-226
    (Please note the new BSB number and quote your name for identification)
  • Overseas transfer:                Use the SWIFT/BIC code ANZBAU3M

2017 Recycled Bicycles Appeal

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In 2016-2017, Vietnam Foundation funded and supervised the construction of Hương Sen Kindergarten in Hòa An village, Phụng Hiệp District of Hậu Giang Province. The new kindergarten is a three-classroom building with modern toilet facilities. It was built on the site of an old two-classroom disused school. The site area was enlarged with additional lands donated and acquired by the local people. Construction was started in 2016 and the kindergarten was in full operation in January 2017, providing education facilities to 60 infant children from poor local families.

Site of the new Hương Sen kindergarten: an old, disused school

The new Hương Sen kindergarten under construction

Hòa An village is in a remote part of Hậu Giang, poor and riddled with problems such as effects of Orange Agent, lack of basic infrastructures etc. Most of the villagers derive income from agriculture: rice cultivation, sugarcane growing and fire-based farming.

As at 2015, Hòa An village’s education facilities consisted of one high school, four primary schools and two kindergartens. The total number of kindergarten classrooms in the village was 13, of which 7 was located at the main campus and 6 temporarily used primary school classrooms in satellite campuses in faraway locations.

The total number of 3 to 5 years old children is currently about 715. Due to lack of classrooms 33% of them do not attend kindergarten. As a result, some parents have to give up employment to look after young children at home, leading to losses of family income.

The new Hương Sen kindergarten at completion

Children’s toilets

The kindergarten is to be managed by Vietnam Foundation’s local partner, Vietnam Red Cross – Phụng Hiệp branch. Its funding application was introduced to the Foundation by a Vietnamese Charity Group, Hành Trình Yêu Thương (HTYT).  Vietnam Foundation’s funding to the project amounted to AUD 40,000, which was possible thanks to the generous bequeath of our late Judith Iltis. The local Red Cross contributed approximately AUD 20,000 for the purchase of additional land and site preparation work. The construction was supervised by Red Cross Phụng Hiệp and the Foundation’s local representative, Dr Lưu Thái Danh.

Unveiling the commemorative plaque during the opening ceremony in March 2017

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Recycled Bicycles has been an ongoing aid project of Vietnam Foundation, commencing in 2012 (see this page). The aim of the project is threefold:

  • to provide high-quality, used bicycles to some poor and bright school children in Vietnam,
  • to provide employment to local businesses, and
  • to promote environmental sustainability in Vietnam.

From 2012 to 2015, the project was confined to poor areas in central Vietnam.  In 2016, for the first time, the project was extended to the southern Vietnam.  In conjunction with its partners, Scout Chief Trần Văn Hồng (in Huế) and the Hành Trình Yêu Thương (Journey of Love, or HTYT for short) Group (in Saigon), Vietnam Foundation distributed 200 and 100 recycled bicycles to school children in central and southern Vietnam, respectively.

To promote awareness of the project and writing skills of recipients, the Board of Vietnam Foundation decided to hold an essay competition amongst the 2016 recipients (grades 6 to 12).  The competition was announced in early December 2016 and the closing date was 10 January 2017.  The topic of the competition is “Xe Đạp Yêu Thương – Cùng em đến trường” (Beloved Bicycle – Cycling with me to school) and the participants were encouraged to write about their experiences subsequent to receiving their bikes.  The selection panel consisted of Dr Lý Gia Nhẫn (President of Vietnam Foundation), Mr Trương Quang Minh (Vice President of Vietnam Foundation) and Ms Nguyễn Mỹ Loan (Coordinator, Hành Trình Yêu Thương Group).

First prize entry by Nguyễn Văn Hồng

Second prize entry by Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên

A total of 100 school children participated in the competition.  The five essay winners were:

  • First prize (US$ 60): Nguyễn Văn Hồng, Class 11A4, Long Xuyên High School
  • Second prize (US$ 50): Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên, Class 7A4, Châu Lăng Middle School
  • Third prize (US$ 40): Nguyễn Thị Vàng, Class 6/2, Dân Thành Middle School (Trà Vinh)
  • Equal fourth prize (US$ 25): Lê Minh Nhựt, Class 4/4, Mỹ Lợi A Primary School (Tiền Giang)
  • Equal fourth prize (US$ 25): Hồ Hoài Bảo, Class 8/4, Mỹ Lợi A Middle School (Tiền Giang)

First prize winner Nguyễn Văn Hồng with his mother and his award – photo by HTYT

Second prize winner Phạm Thị Mỹ Nhiên with her teacher and her award – photo by HTYT

Third prize winner Nguyễn Thị Vàng with her teacher and her award – photo by HTYT

Fourth prize winners Lê Minh Nhựt and Hồ Hoài Bảo with their teacher and their awards – photo by HTYT

The winning entries together with other essays for the competition are stored here.

Essays entries and more photos taken at the Prize Presentation can also be seen on Hành Trình Yêu Thương facebook <https://www.facebook.co/hanhtrinhyt/>

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Our email appeal for the Recycled Bicycle project in 2016 received enthusiastic responses from many members and supporters, some of whom took the initiative to organise activities to raise funds for it.

The SA Asian Golf Association (SAAGA) in Adelaide hold dinner at a local restaurant early this year and raised $1,306. The Canberra Gentlemen, friends and associates of our member Mr. Trần Tấn Tài in Canberra, contributed $1,190.  Dr. & Mrs. Trương Hổ Tuấn, in Sydney, through their sales the Entertainment Book, raised $238.

On top of these amounts were the repeat donations from many donors of previous years. Thanks to these efforts, and the generosities of many silent frequent benefactors, a total of $10,696 was raised.

Letter from one of the students

With some additional fund from our general pool, the amount raised enabled the recondition of 300 bicycles for distribution. In addition to distributing 200 recycled bicycles in Central Vietnam (Thừa Thiên, Quảng Trị and Quảng Ngãi provinces with the help of former scout leader Mr Trần Văn Hồng), this year Vietnam Foundation also worked with a volunteering group in Saigon named Hành Trình Yêu Thương (Journey of Love, or HTYT for short). HTYT reconditioned and distributed 100 bicycles to poor students in the delta region of southern Vietnam (Tiền Giang, An Giang, Đồng Tháp and Trà Vinh provinces). HTYT also contributed to the transport cost of shipping these bicycles to local schools for distribution.

The happy faces of school children who received these bicycles and their sincere thank you notes are our rewards. We would like to thank all donors who have brought smiles to many unfortunate children in rural Vietnam, at the same time giving them the opportunity to attend school from remote villages.

To encourage writing skill of local students and with the financial support of Professor Trần Nam Bình, Vietnam Foundation set up awards for best essays from recipients of these recycled bicycles. The rewards were announced in early February 2017. Please see our article on Essay Competition 2016.

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