We are all very exited, and hope that many will join.
All are welcome.
All the staff and the children, are this afternoon making the last preparations for the "Information day" tomorrow.
We are all very exited, and hope that many will join.
All are welcome.
Just got in contact with the Dane behind this web page yesterday. It is an extremely interesting initiative, and they inform, that they are in the process of translating the program into Vietnamese. We will meet when I come back to Denmark. Maybe I can help with some contacts or something. This is a "must have" in Vietnam.
The principles for the program are:
We are really happy to announce, that the well known Danish restaurant and bar in HCMC, Storm P. is now cooperating with The Shelter Collection.
One of our charity boxes is now located at the restaurant and the customers have the possibility to support us through directly there. We hope that many tourists and others will use the possibility to combine Danish "hygge" and good Danish food with charity to our children at the shelter.
Remember also to give the staff some tip. Donation and tip are two different things.
Dear friends in HCMC,
The Little Rose Warm Shelter and The Shelter Collection (DK) would like to invite you to an interesting afternoon were we tell about our rehabilitation program for disadvantaged girl children.
The two organizations have cooperated through 9 years and established a center with high pedagogic standards and knowledge within state of the art Child Sexual Abuse Prevention and Social & Emotional Learning (non violent behavior).
There will be demonstrations of the Social & Emotional Learning, creative activities, educational Child Sexual Abuse Prevention films etc., and you will be able to talk to the staff and the volunteers.
Fruit and refreshments will be available.
Date & time: Tuesday the 19th of November 2013, from 1pm to 8pm
Place: Mai am Hoa Hong Nho (Little Rose Warm Shelter)
30/31 (alley 30) Lam Van Ben
Ward Tan Kieng, District 7, HCMC
Doors open 1pm
Dance performance 1.30pm
Round trip 2pm
Education film about trafficking 2.30pm
Round trip 3pm
Social & Emotional Learning demonstration 3.30pm
Round trip 4pm
Vovinam training 4.30pm
Round trip 5pm
Education film about pedophilia 5.30pm
Round trip 6pm
Social & Emotional Learning training 6.30pm
Round trip 7pm
Dance performance 7.30pm
Doors close 8pm
The event is sponsored by Danida
Terres des Hommes, Netherlands has setup a new weapon in the fight against the new phenomenon "Webcam child sex tourism". Children being forced to perform sexual activities on the Internet.
The weapon is a virtual 10 year old girl on chat groups for paedophilia's. She is computer animated and she has within 10 weeks identified 1000 men. The list and documentation about these men has been handed over to Interpol.
According to TdH, Netherlands over 750.000 men are at every given moment searching on the Internet to engage in sexual activity with children. There are according to FBI 40.000 open chat rooms. TdH has monitored only 50 of them.
In and interview with Danish Radio Broadcasting (Danmarks Radio) the chief of European Cyber Crime Mr. Troels Oerting confirms that the problem is increasing. He also mentions that Interpol until now has had more focus on the more serious part of this, namely where children are not only lured or forced to take of their clothes, but where children are raped online, and men in the other end paying money for watching.
Here is a link to Danmarks Radio with an interview of Hans Guijt, TdH, Netherlands (02:30) and Troels Oerting, Interpols European Cyber Crime department (Danish language only).
The Shelter Collection deals with this issue
Together with Stairway Foundation, Philippines, we, The Shelter Collection has produced Child Sexual Abuse Prevention material that includes training in safe behavior on the Internet. What we need now, is to get ressources so, that we and our Vietnamese partner can train more children in Vietnam.
It has been long time since last I wrote a blog. We have had some busy weeks. A lot has happened, and I will write about these issues in separate blogs later. This week my main concern is to finalize the application for the new PACCOM Certificate. But when coming to the shelter 8.30am, I could only get by taking of my shoes. There was 10-15 cm of water in the yard of the shelter. At 4am the water stood even 10cm higher so it had flooded most of the interior of the shelter.
When I entered the house, the staff and the girls all were about to clean everything and bear out the water in buckets. I immediately were afraid of the electricity in combination with the water, but the had already shot down the electricity as long as they clean up. Fortunately the girls didn't have to go to school today. Because of the typhoon warning yesterday they were send home for the next days. Until now we haven't had that much wind, but tonight: a lot of water.
It was some of the girls who discovered the flooding. They sleep upstairs, but woke up due to the heavy rain and were afraid. They went downstairs and saw the flooding. Then they called the caretaker Ms. Van and they all started to rescue what could be rescued. Fortunately no computer have been damaged, - as far as we know yet. But folders and material that was placed on the floor in the office has been damaged.
I am thinking of what we can do to avoid such a situation next time. We already have the problem with cracks that need repair, but i would be really nice if we also could build some water protection facilities into the center.
The weaterhforecast says "a lot of rain the next two days". We must hope the best. Any ideas and support are welcome.
I feel sorry for the girls, because weather conditions like this make them feel nervous, and uncomfortable.
The film gives you an impression of the damages
This week Mr. Hans Julius Hansen and Mrs. Dang Van-Khanh are in HCMC to brush up on the previous Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for our Trainers.
SEL consists of materials that teaches children about emotions and social skills (e.g. sharing and patience). Most importantly, it teaches a non-violent approach to conflict resolution and are particularly beneficial for children from vulnerable backgrounds and their care-takers.
Our group of SEL teachers are social workers and teachers who hold work-shops for their network and thereby spread the awareness of children's rights to self-expression to adults and caretakers across South Vietnam.
Our SEL workshops are state-of-the-art and produced in cooperation with the Danish Institute of Social Pedagogy.
To book a workshop for your network - or even better to sponsor one for teachers in rural communities - contact us here.
I have been thinking a lot of how much I know about the single girl at the shelter. My idea is that if I know and feel the personal story of the children I would be a better fundraiser and be more motivated. On the other hand, the risk is that one might feel a too strong commitment that goes beyond the professional project manager work, that I need to do. I have limited resources in terms of time and money. I experienced last week, that Mr. Michael from the Northern-Vietnam NGO Blue Dragon personally knew about all the children they were helping.
I have read all the cases of the children at Little Rose Warm Shelter. Mrs. Thien writes it in the report every 3rd month. But one thing is to read their stories, another is to hear the stories from the girls themselves.
I experienced this yesterday.
A new girl arrived a month ago, and I asked Mrs Thien about her. What circumstances brought her here? Her background is not as dramatic as some of the other children - nevertheless it made me feel very sad because I could relate to her story.
H.'s father had died few years ago, and she was left alone with the mother. Unfortunately her mother was an alcoholic and brought home many new men, and much of the time H. was not taken care of.
Being from a family myself where one of the adults was an alcoholic made it easy for me to relate. Our family didn't suffer from any material shortcomings, and every day food was served. Nevertheless a child experiences the missing care and attention from an adult that is an abuser.
So this short incident made me think more thoroughly about whether to involve myself more personally or keep a professional distance. I would like to relate more on a personally level, but I am afraid that it puts me in a difficult situation where I want to help more than I actually can, and I haven't found the answer of the balance between personal relation and professional distance to the children yet.
Of course I cannot show a picture of this particular girl so I attach one a photo were we trained people from the Youth Union in April 2011.
- Ole Riis
The staff at LWRS always look for a reason to train the girls in soft skills. Some of the older girls have received so much training that they are now involved in planning the training for the younger girls - under supervision.
The 3 girls responsible for this week's training had prepared all week, and they looked very confident - confidence and composure are important when teaching such a difficult subject as child rights.
On many training occasions LRWS invite children from the neighbourhood to participate in the training. 3 teenage boys were present today and they seemed to enjoy it.
At the recent networking event at the Danish Consulate, I used the opportunity to present The Shelter Collection. I had prepared a little speech because I feel more comfortable using a manuscript:
I am from the Danish Vietnamese Association. We help supporting disadvantaged children in Vietnam. And I could talk long time about how miserable life is for some children in Vietnam despite high economic growth. But many of you have lived here for years, and you already know.
So let me instead talk a little about who we are, what we do, and what our ambitions are.
It is our ambition that the Shelter Collection should be the first-choice of development project for Danes and Danish companies in Vietnam. We want to be your transparent and efficient CSR partner. We have a long-standing experience in working with multinational companies and multi-lateral government partners.
Since 2004 we have supported Little Warm Rose Shelter with help from the Danish Aid Development agency but the funds will run out this year.
We know that transparency is a big issue when you want to fundraise in Vietnam. Therefore we are at the moment setting up procedures for monthly narrative and financial reporting that meet the requirements of private sponsors. We have already receive advice from some companies here in Vietnam on this issue, but it is an ongoing process and we are open for suggestion, because we want to be THE Collection that a Dane think of when donating to social issues in Vietnam.
We are a group of volunteers operating mostly from Denmark, but we also have a country coordinator based in Vietnam. I am a teacher on a daily basis and previously working in insurance, so I am not a typical NGO person, and I think that time has come for more innovative thinking between NGOs and the private sector.
That was the speech. Let me add, that Denmark is now phasing out the development support. But it is still possible to get NGO project money for disadvantaged areas or target groups. I think, that both the privater sector and the NGO sector has an obligation to try to benefit from all what has been build up thanks to the Danish support over the years. We have an obligation to leave no stone unturned in order to identify new and relevant mutual projects.
There is a new CSR fund, but their is also possibilities in designing development projects with income generating activities. These kind of development projects can form the foundation for new innovative poverty reducing projects, and Vietnam could be a role model for Private Sector - NGO cooperation.
Please contact me if you have any ideas for a mutual project.
A conversattion last week with another NGO forced me to think more thoroughly over the way we are supporting our beneficiaries. Some other NGO's are against handing over of money. Instead these NGO's agree with the beneficiary institution on what should be repaired, bought or conducted, and then the NGO's buys and pays directly the repair work, the equipment and the training etc..
And even though I realized that this way of donating minimized the risk of fraud it still is not the way I want to do our support. Well occasionally we can do it that way. But not because we mistrust the partner, but because of practical issues, and because we make only a partly funding of an institution.
What The Shelter Collection aims to do is to fully fund as many and as much of the basic need for shelters and institutions. At the moment we are focusing on Little Rose Warm Shelter primarily and also on the SPI project. We hope to be able to make a partly support also to Green Bamboo Warm Shelter.
When you aim to do a full support, maybe in cooperation with one or two other NGO's you should not be afraid of doing budget support. We trust the partners we select and we establish monitoring and auditing procedures in order to make a transparent use of the budget. We are in line with the DANIDA guidelines for development projects, that seek not only to do humanitarian work (that in my opinion maintains the receiver in the victim and beggar roll) but also to to development work TOGETHER with the partner in order to capacity build them to strong and independent NGO's. We have used this approach for 9 years now, and we will continue this approach.
The advantage of budget support is also, that the beneficiaries get money for the salaries. How can we expect shelters and institutions to survive if we only donate things and recreative activities for the children. We are not "hat ladies" doing occasional beneficiary work by selling cakes. Even though we all are volunteers, we are in this game to capacity build in a mutual respectful, non patronizing way that enable our partners to be more and more self sustainable. We expect from our self to do as professional a work as the professionals, but because we are volunteers we do it from the heart. - Yes, I know: The most professionals are also deeply devoted to their jobs and their tasks.
We are in the proces of building new report procedure (narrative and financial) that should target more the needs of private donors instead of the DANIDA reproting we have done until now. We have all over the years had the agreement with our partners, that if fraud or misuse is discovered we will interrupt the cooperation immediately.
The picture is from one of our training workshops on Child Sexual
Tonight we will meet with the biological sister of Daniel and Katrine. She is a hairdresser. Actually, I already met her in November 2012. At that time she was also a hairdresser, but with an employer who didn’t treat her well and with really bad working conditions. She were not allowed to go out and didn’t have any free time at all. So she was very sad, and I promised to help her.
Thanks to my friends in NGO Fontana we managed to get Ha into the REACH center who supply vocational training for disadvantaged adolescent and especially minority people. Ha and her family are Muong minority. But still Ms. Nga from NGO Fontana had a lot of work to provide legal papers and help with accommodation. Although the vocational training is free, the students need to secure accommodation and other living costs themselves. The Shelter Collection provided that for her in for half a year. All the costs were covered by me and my family, so The Shelter Collection didn’t have any extra expenses due to this kind of "personal interest" help.
Now she has a new employer thanks to job placement from REACH center and she is earning VND 2.500.000 per month. But people in Denmark, don’t think that this is heaven on earth. The working hours are still non comparable to the Danish ones. The free time is also not what we know, so the life here is tough although the help and the better condition.
We met her shortly Wednesday evening. Her salon is in walking distance from hour hotel (2 km) towards the center of Hanoi. It was an emotional meeting because I think she was suprised to see us. Although she new that we were in Hanoi and that we were about to contact her. She reminds really much of Katrine. We could not ger a translator on the fly, so I had to use the one on my smart phone. We agreed to meet Friday evening and thanks to a person from Blue Dragon we also have a translator. It is good to have friends. Ha has become a little more skinnier than on the picture. I hope she is all right.
And in addition to that: Tomorrow we are going to visit Daniels family in Hoa Binh province. The staff at LRWS helped me organize a translator and the hotel for us and we are very much looking forward to meet the family.
The picture of me and Ms. Ha was taken last year in November.
One gets filled with happiness and humility to people who are devoted and enthusiastic about helping others. And there are many of these people here in Vietnam. Wednesday I met with people from three organisations. People who deserves the greatest respect and who contradicts Ayn Rands theory, that mans only purpose in life is to secure his own survival.
If it wasnt for our own need of financial support I would gladly recommend to support these organisations.
B.T.W. Daniel and I are now in Hanoi. From Wednesday to Friday we are going to have meetings with different local NGOs and we are going to participate in the Child Rights Working Group meeting on Thursday at the NGO Resource Centre in Hanoi.The overall purpose of my trip to Hanoi is to inform Hanoi based NGOs about the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention program that we have developed and also about the Social & Emotional Learning material.
I managed to get a meeting with the Vietnamese Institute of Educational Science. They already received a copy of our Social & Emotional Learning material. So lets see what this meeting brings.
Back to the devoted and enthusiastic people:
From the morning I met with Mr. Dung and Ms. Dung from REACH Center in Hanoi. They are a Vietnamese NGO. Originally part of Plan International but now an independent NGO. They are doing high quality vocational training for disadvantged adolescent and they make job placement for them. They do a very good job. www.reach.org.vn
After that I met with THE grand old lady of INGO work in Vietnam. Mrs. Margrit Schlosser. She is a Swiss lady who is now retired, but has been the country manager for TdH Switzerland for many years in Vietnam. She also was the Co-director of NGO Resource Centre. She is now retired, but much of all the good NGO work that is going on in Vietnam today, we can thank her for.
Last but certainly not least we met with Michael Brosowski from Blue Dragon. An Australian teacher who has commited his life to help the disadvantaged children of Vietnam and who has build up one of the most impacting and respectable NGOs in Vietnam. They help for street children and other disadvantaged children. They actively help to rescue children who have been trafficked. They provide shelter, life skill training, education and vocational training. I learned a lot at that meeting and got inspiration for our work in HCMC. They started out to foreigners teaching English to street children, and now there is an effective organisation with 64 highly skilled employees. I hope the Vietnamese authorities gives this organisation the gratitude it deserves. Michaels caring attitude and commitment is highly inspiring. He must be a model for all NGO people all over the world. At least he is for me now. www.bluedragon.org.
Unfortunately, I didnt bring my camera but search the web for more information.
This video shows very well what the background is for many of the children at Little Rose Warm Shelter, and it shows what they are offered at the shelter. The video was made only a few weeks ago by some American students volunteering at LRWS.
At the risk of being accused of being too emotional, I want to thank the one person who made all this possible. Who has allowed me to cut down on domestic obligations, who every year has made vacation on her own together with our children because I was in Vietnam in the small vacations like Easter and Fall vacation, and in some periods during the summer vacations also. Her understanding and support for this engagement is priceless, and that is why I always say, that the work I have contributed with is actually a mutual contribution from both my lovely wife, Else and I.
We started out in 2003 when the children were only 5 and 4 years old, with a one week trip, the week before Christmas. Coming home most of the Christmas time was used for writing an application to Danida for the 1st of January deadline. I am not complaining, because this work has given especially me so many good experiences and new friends, but that was how everything started. Well and the application was rejected. But with positive comments and a recommendation to talk to our partner in order to redesign the project and send in a new application. 3 persons from the project group did that during the summer vacation in 2014 on a 3 week trip, having talks with our partner and formulating the new application.
Thank you so much "darling" for your support and understanding, that this is what I need to do. For those who dont know us that well: I am not being mushy when using the word "darling". Actually I often refer to her as "darling". So my dear spouse for life, I linked to this this song that might cover a little for some of my bad consciousness through the years: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7f189Z0v0Y .
I came here almost 4 weeks ago, and some of you may ask: What are you doing? - what kind of work are you involved in, and what are your plans for your stay in Vietnam and for the future cooperation.
I want to share some of this with you here. Let me start to say: I am not alone. I have good Vietnamese colleagues and good project group members and supporters who help.
Website, promotion, sustainability and fund raising
Because the DANIDA funding is phasing these months we have focus on strengthening the fund raising activities. Before we can approach more directly new potential donors we need to set up our website, make folders and prepare the first second monthly newsletter. I promised the newsletter to interested companies already back in November 2011, but we never got the human resources for it, between our daily professional work. Now is the time, and we will finish these three elements within a week or so. This should secure the finansial sustainability for the Little Rose Warm Shelter on the present level of children and staff.
Besides that it is our aim also to fund raise for other projects if we get enough money. We will describe the projects we have in mind more detailed on our website when it is finished. But I have already mentioned two of them in my blog earlier: The SPI project and the Green Bamboo Warm Shelter.
Make the capacity building sustainable
The other major task of mine is to secure the LRWS and the core group of trainer that we have educated through the years to be able to continue the work and keep the capacity in house. The have obtained capacity of trainer of trainers (ToT) in 1. Child Sexual Abuse Prevention (CSAP)and 2. Social & Emotional Learning (SEL - program for non violent behaviour). In both fields we have developed state of art training materials that are amongst the best (if not the best in Vietnam). The period we face now is a period were we need to identify partners and sponsors who can help spreading these materials to other shelters with less capacity as LRWS.
On Wednesday I go to Hanoi to have meeting with all the NGO's in the Child Rights Working Group under NGO Resource Centre. I will also have meetings with other stakeholders and potential partners and sponsors.
The other things
We will have some extra training for the ToT group in October and November and we are planing that at the moment. I am in the proces of applying for the new PACCOM certificate. This is not an easy procedure.....
Else please see this from my to do list (random order):
- making advocacy for small VN- and DKNGOs
- helping the partner applying for the JIFF fund at the Danish Embassy
- receiving one more Danish volunteer at GBWS
- finalizing donor oriented reporting frame (short but clear, - narative and financial)
- new agreements with all the partners
- applying for funding at Danish public funds
- help LRWS writing application for support from a private company (an invitation - so positive)
- finalize fund raising strategy
- conduct 1 or 2 fund raising activities before leaving
- write application for refraiming the message
- finalize design for CSR pool idea together with two or mor compannies
- finalize approach for the 3rd International NGO Conference in Hanoi in November.
- participating in local NGO activities in HCMC in order to network
- written report to to DVA and project group
I hope this gives you a better understanding of what I am doing. And as mentioned in an earlier blog, The first two weeks my to do list only got longer, - not shorter. But I think, that is normal.
Daniel - go to Hoa BInh
So as you can see, I am not bored. In fact I am a little concerned for Daniel being so much on his own, and only observing, because I have to use many hours per day on my work. However, next weekend we will go to Hoa Binh to visit his biological family. He is looking very much forward to that. And on next Monday he is starting a one week internship at Lin Center (thank you Dana and Son). If we have time we will visit Da Lat from the 4th to th 6th of October. Luckily Daniel is not the I-want-to-see-a-lot-of tourist-things type. He feels comfortable just to be, - to be amongst Vietnamese and in the Vietnamese culture and just feel it. Besides that he has got interested in my work and have a good relationship with the people at LRWS and GBWS.
The pictures shows all the LRWS staff and Mr. Long and Ms. Dung from Child Welfare Foundation having a meeting on the new reporting methode.
Not only has Mdm. Nhung and Mr. Oyvind donated computers and computer training at Green Bamboo Warm Shelter (GBWS) for the children there, they and their staff also organised a Tet Trung Thu Festival on Thursday the 19th of September in the company locations near the airport.
Orient is a Vietnamese/Norwegian company make evaluation tools for schools.
Around 25 children from LRWS, GBWS and the SPI project participated, who were picked up by a bus. We started the evening with a roundtrip in the company where we were told about the different kind of works the employees do. Mdm. Nhung encouraged the children to do their best at school so that they also can get good jobs in the future.
After that we played some games together with the children and made fools of our selves, followed by a very nice dinner buffet which Orient of course had ordered at GBWS. I must say the chef at GBWS is very skilled and everybody complimented the food.
The house of the Little Rose Warm Shelter is from 2003. It was donated by a Japanese company at that time and was in build in two steps.
As the picture show the two arts of the house is falling apart, because the one part is sinking.
It can be repaired. We are in the process of finding out how much a sufficient repair would costs. We also need an engineer er to estimate the extent of the damage. But big cracks have been formed many places.
I will keep you informed about this issue. At the moment the house is still considered safe.
Every day when the children come from school around lunch time, Ms. Oanh, one of the caretakers, is going through the school hefts in order to check if they did their homework and if they have some difficulties.
I was allowed to look in some of the math hefts of the children. And I was impressed. Their was a 7th grade student, she was fully confident with doing equations. And not simple equations: equations with fractions.
That made me think: What a waste of good resources. At the moment we mostly do job placement within traditional women jobs like hairdresser, manicure and sewing jobs. But also waitress job and education as cooks are some of possibilities.
Some Danish companies have shown interest in talking job placement agreement with us, and we will try to follow up on this issue while I am still in Vietnam.
Thanks to all the Vietnamese volunteers that are helping out. A student group came to organise a moon festival for the children. This is after Tet the most important Festival in the year. The students worked all day to setup everything: banners, lamps, food etc. Actually they played loud music while working so my lunch nap was shortened :-). But the result of their work was very good. I am trying to tell you all, that we have many good doers and many local volunteers but we need to have some money for the basic needs at the shelter.
Daniel and I drove to the shelter at 8 o'clock in the morning. I had some good conversation on planing the next fund raising activities and about the new report method that should apply more to the needs of private donors than that of DANIDA.
Contact to Daniels family
Ms. Mai the deputy manager helped us making contact to Daniels biological family in North Vietnam, and we are now planing a visit. They were very happy to hear from us, and we certainly also look forward to meet them again.
Meeting with Saigon Children Charity
2pm Ms. Mai, Daniel and I drove to a very interesting meeting with Saigon Children Charity. They are in the process of setting up new support project for 3 shelters for physically disabled children. They wanted to use our social skill material, which is a state of the art material in Vietnam. In addition to that they also wanted to have some training in appreciative inquiry. Many teachers and caretakers in remote area schools and shelters dont have any pedagogical education so they often need the basic skills. Sometimes the caretakers use violence because of the lacking skills.
Unfortunately we dont have a training course for that, but I most try to get something translated so we can help them.
Spreading the word and making fundraising
When Ms. Mai and her colleagues can do some training for other NGOs or social units like shelters or orphanages, they can use the profit to support their own shelter. And at the same time they spread the good social skill method to a lot of other institutions in Vietnam.
The picture is from this meeting. From the right: Sister Bich, Ms. Hien from SCC, Ms. Mai and the ugliest man in Vietnam at the moment: Me.
A group of teachers from RMIT University donated VND 4.000.000. The money was handed over by Ms. Caroline Nguyen on Friday.
In fact donations from local people and other private supporters in Vietnam has been very good the last week. A total of around VND 17 million (DKK 5.000). Actually we need that amount EVERY week. Please help us with that. See our "Donate" site for more.
Thanks to all the other donors this week.
The picture showing Mrs. Thien the manager at Little Rose Warm Shelter, Ms. Caroline Nguyen from RMIT and Mr. Ole, the blog writer.
Sometimes not everything turns out the way you want. I wanted to be very effective and work everyday from the morning til the evening, but today I had to cancel a meeting. Reason: My son still had stomach after 4 days, and tonight he woke up with a lot of pain. So we needed to have it examined, and of course I had to cancel my scheduled meeting with the people from Little Rose Warm Shelter and HCMC Child Welfare Association.
It turned out he had some infection in the abdomen, some fever also. We got some medicine that he has to take the next days. And he should mostly eat fluid food the nxt days.
Now he is sleeping on the floor in our guesthouse room. Hopefully he will recover quickly, and I can turn to the computer.
Mrs. Phat, the manager of Green Bamboo Warm Shelter (GBWS) has had 8 good years. The GBWS is a shelter for male street children from about 8 year and up to 18 years, and from 2005 to 2012 the Danish embassy supported the GBWS. The shelter has been a showcase for the embassy when VIP's have visited HCMC over the years.
Not that everything was all good. The support from the Danish embassys fund did not cover salaries for the staff. The shelter and the umbrella organisation Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Association (HCWA) has fund raised the missing money over the years. The Shelter Collection has with the help of especially Scancom helped some of the years, and all in all Mrs. Phat were able to house 20 - 25 residents all the time.
But the Danish government changed the policy on the embassy fund for the local NGO's. Now you can only obtain money for higher and more important purposes then helping disadvantaged street children. Now local organisations can apply for money when they involve in policy and legal issues on national level from the one fund, and they can apply to the other embassy fund, if they want to "promote public participation and accountability in law-making and policy development processes by strengthening engagement of non-governmental organizations in these processes at national and sub-national levels as well as in monitoring the implementation of these."
As the reader can imagine, both funds does not suite a shelter like GBWS that has enough work to do, just surviving and taking care of the basic needs for street children. Why is it that all support has to be big intellectual exercises for the big NGOs and high ranking authority persons. Danish development aid, and UVM Christian Friis Bach: YOU CAN DO BETTER! The small NGO's are doing a fantastic basic grass root work that all the others work are depended on. So dont let us and down.
Even though boys daily come to the shelter, it can only house 10 children at the moment due to the tense economy. The number of street children is increasing and the abuse rate for children living on the street is on the wrong site of 50%.
Apropos "surviving": This year, having almost no money, Mrs. Phat and a former resident who have become a chef came up with an idea. They started a street lunch restaurant at the shelter. Volunteers (a special thanks to Brad from Canada and Quinn from the US) are helping and the boys are also helping, but in a way that it does not conflict with their school and rehabilitation. Mrs. Phat was allowed by the Danish embassy to use the surplus from the project period to buy kitchen equipment and tables etc..
Daniel and I have visited the GBWS shelter twice to have lunch. It is fantastic food, for almost no money, VND 25.000 (too little to my liking - must talk with Mrs.Phat about that) because the profit should be higher.
Imagine if we could extend this restaurant model to more of HCWA's projects in order to help with fund raising to a certain extend, and if I could get more Danish companies to participate and by lunch for their staff. At the moment the sell between 100 and 150 meals per day. They have bigger capacity and we have more volunteers who wants to help preparing, serving and bring out the meals in nice plastic bags. All fully professional.
So reader, tourist, Danish expat and anyone if you are near Ben Thanh Market please go the extra about 300 meters to (10 meter inside a little alley. Mrs. Phat deserves our support in the same way as girls at LRWS. See our donation procedures here and mark you transfer LRWS or GBWS or SPI. Address 40/34 Calmette Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, HCMC.
The SPI project will be described separately later.
Friday the 6th of September I joined the bi-annual meeting for INGO's in South Vietnam. Present were the former Director General of PACCOM, now Vice President of VUFO and Vice Chairman of COMINGO Mr. Don Tuan Phong and the newly appointed Director General Mr. Phan Anh Son. Mr. Son replaced Mr. Phong in April this year.
We were informed about the results in general of the the INGO activities in Vietnam, and that is is continuously increasing. Now with almost 500 INGOs having projects in Vietnam, and 900 registered. Most support is coming from North America (about 45%), then Europe (about 36%) and the rest from Asian countries.
Much of the meeting was also about the new registration procedure. Now we need to have a certificate instead of a permit. It is still PACCOM who is taking care of the procedure, but it will be Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) who will issue the certificate.
Many INGO's is having problems with the procedure, since all our documents is going to be certified by the domestic authorities of each country. DVA should have all their papers approved by the Danish diplomatic corps in Vietnam before sending in.
PACCOM is about to make a toolkit that should make the new procedure easier to follow. A draft will be send out soon to the INGO community for comments. When the toolkit is ready for launching is not known yet.
I informed Mr. Dzung, head of the European desk, that DVA was in the process of finalizing the application for a new certificate. I used the opportunity to inform Mr. Phong and Mr. Son about the resent activities in DVA, and that we now have a seat in at the CISU board also. Even though Mr. Son was new at PACCOM, he was very familiar with CISU and its role in the Danish development landscape.
Daniel is sick
The meeting ended at 12 o'clock and I rushed home, because Daniel has become more ill the last days. He coughs, has headache and has a running nose. Apparantly no fever. We went to the nearby SOS clinic for diagnose and treatment. It was only a cold he has caught, so he was prescribed some Ameflue (like Panodil just including some medicine against coughing and running nose). This kind of illness is very common in the rainy season in Vietnam, so actually already the staff at NGO Fontana that we met with the day before "prescribed" the same medicine as the doctor. So I could have saved USD 110,00. Already this morning he is better.