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The past few months at Hue Children’s Shelter

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESFun Sunday activities have been a source of enjoyment for all of the children, two international, and two local volunteers recently. One Sunday included special Halloween activities and was a highlight for all. The chasing game ‘Who’s afraid of the monster’ was an enjoyable scare, with children then transforming each other into creepy mummies, cackling witches, lumbering frankensteins, and bewitching wizards. Other activities have included dancing, football, and the game ‘Duck, duck, goose’.

Winter has arrived suddenly in Hue so Hue Help Hue Help supported the children’s shelter to buy warm clothing for the children. We are dedicated to improving the living conditions and health of the children in the shelter, and ensuring they have appropriate warm clothing is one such way that we fulfill this commitment. Read about our other commitments to the shelter here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTwo children are working hard at high school as they hope to get into university in the next two years. Both of the children are interested in science and maths. Chemistry and physics are two main subjects for their university examination. We are supporting their dream by providing extra lessons in chemistry and we hope these extra classes will help them to achieve their goals of attending university.

One of the older girls worked in the Hue Help office last month assisting with data analysis for the Swim Towards Disaster Risk Reduction (STDRR) programme. Phuong graduated from her accounting course recently and this work experience with the Hue Help team was invaluable for her career prospects. She was a great help and we wish her all the best with her future endeavours. Another children’s shelter resident who is one of the two girls attending university, won a silver award for badminton with her team. Congratulations to her team!

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Sponsor a swimming lesson for only £5

Joyous child learning to swim

Joyous child learning to swim

Hue Help relies completely on donations by our generous supporters as we are non-governmental, non-religious organisation. We need your support this Christmas to ensure we can continue our important programmes next year, such as Swimming for Safety.

In Vietnam drowning is the leading cause of death for children, with up to 32 children drowning each day. Frequent floods, typhoons, and natural disasters, along with the many water bodies and the long coast that characterise Vietnam contribute to these tragic deaths.

Hue Help is determined to reduce this number and is committed to saving lives through providing swimming, water safety, and survival skills to children in the Thua Thien Hue province of central Vietnam. To date we have taught over 4,000 children to swim, and taught over 30 teachers to train children to swim.

You can help us to save lives through swimming. We need your support to reach our target of providing 1,200 children with swimming and water safety lessons in 2014. We need sponsorship of 300 more lessons.

1 swimming lesson costs just under £5. Please sponsor a child’s swimming lesson today and help us to save lives through swimming.

Visit our Christmas appeal page here and let’s make a difference together – http://www.justgiving.com/Hue-Help-Save-lives-through-swimming

Playing at the beach

Hue Children’s Shelter update

Playing at the beachHue Children’s Shelter was happy to welcome two new orphaned children, a brother and sister, to the shelter. They have been unable to attend school for the past year so are delighted to be back at school and are working hard.

Two of the shelter’s girls have started at university and Hue Help will support their tuition fees and living costs. Quynh studies at Hue  University of Economics and Nhi is attending the Hue University of Foreign Language. One boy has also moved to Hoi An to train in hospitality, thanks to Streets International.

The Hue Children’s Shelter residents have enjoyed some recreational activities over the summer sponsored by a very generous donor. They loved their trip to Hoi An and Danang where the children explored the cities and had fun on the beach. They went shopping at the markets for Childrens Day, and enjoyed festivities at the shelter to celebrate Mid Autumn Festival (read more on our Tumblr page).

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Night at the Races Fundraiser, February 1st 2013

On Friday February 1st 2013, a fundraising event was held at O’Shea’s Irish Bar in Manchester, UK for the benefit of disadvantaged children in Hue, Vietnam. In total, eight live races were shown on four screens which, along with a raffle and live band, provided plenty of entertainment throughout the night.  With over 100 people attending, the night was a great success with many horses and races sponsored and bet on, with one particularly popular horse named ‘The Rebel’ attracting many bets.

Hue Help would like to thank in particular Luke Keller (who will volunteer with us in April) for all his tireless effort in organising and coordinating a wonderful event that has raised somewhere in the region of £1,000. In addition, we would like to thank O’Shea’s Irish Bar in Manchester for holding the event and also all the sponsors of the races and horses. The biggest sponsors of the night were Windmill Golf Academy, O’Sheas Irish Bar, Whalley Range School, Manchester Tommy Burns CSC and VNAM Cafe. And finally, we would like to thank all those who attended the event and contributed towards improving the lives of underprivileged children living in Hue, Vietnam. We can only hope that you had an enjoyable evening, and we will ensure that donated funds will go towards improving our programmes and thus improving the lives of the children we support.

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Thao from HCS studying in Hoi An

IMG_6777Thao, one of the oldest girls in Hue Children’s Shelter surpassed the assessment criteria last summer to be trained at Streets International (streetsinternational.org) in hospitality in Hoi An. After 18 months of training at Streets International, she will have been provided internationally rewnowned teaching from a comprehensive culinary and hospitality programme, credentialed by the award-winning Institute of Culinary Education in New York, as well as extensive English language instruction.

Thao is very much missed by many of us in Hue. As a friendly and helpful girl, she always spent her free time helping the housemothers with cooking and taking care of the small children. Before she left the shelter, we all had a small party to say ‘goodbye’ to Thao and to wish her an enjoyable time in the new school.

Both we and the shelter know that Thao is being taken care of in an educational environment where each trainee is provided with housing, food, basic financial support, an active community and social support, and medical care. We are looking forward to seeing Thao graduate and work to be independent in the future.

Some information about Streets International adapted from www.streetsinternational.org

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Call for Funds to Improve Children’s Nutrition in HCS

Hue Help are now seeking funds to support the children in Hue Children’s Shelter by adding fruits to their daily diet. The current budget for an individual child’s monthly meals is 580,000 VND (18 GBP). This amount is based on the Hue People’s Committee’s regulations and is applied to all children living in social centres/shelters (2682/QĐ-UBND). This budget is divided into breakfast, lunch and dinner which normally consists of rice, vegetables, meat/fish and soup. This however is not enough to provide daily fruit for the children.

Fruits are known to provide essential vitamins and minerals, fibre, and other substances that are essential to good health. Most fruits are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. A recently published WHO/FAO (The World Health Organization/ The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) report recommends a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables per day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, as well as for the prevention and alleviation of several micro-nutrient deficiencies.

Our purpose for the activity is to increase the daily intake of fruits for a more balanced diet to achieve the goal improving the quality of health for the growth and development of disadvantaged children in Hue Children’s Shelter.

If you would like to donate, follow this link and you can choose from the donation options. If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@huehelp.org

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Hue Children’s Shelter Update

At the end of 2012, Hue Children’s Shelter had received six more children. They are: Quan (11 months old); Xu (5 years); Kim Anh (15 years); Pho (16 years); Tony (6 years) and Thinh (14 years). They are all from different districts of Thua Thien Hue province such as Quang Dien, Huong Thuy, and Hue city. These new children have all lost parents to traffic accidents, floods and illness. We are now happy to see them enrolling in local schools and making friends with the other kids in the shelter.

We are now in the process of working with DOLISA and Hue Children’s Shelter to finalise the MOU for our sponsorship for this year. In the renewed MOU we are still committed to supporting the children with food, education (including books, notebooks, uniforms, school fees, extra classes and tutorial classes), clothes, personal items (soap, shampoo, pillow, blanket), recreational activities such as summer trips, creative classes, birthday parties, as well as providing salary and social insurance for two housemothers.

Through our support, we believe that the children will achieve higher education which will give them the opportunity to be independent in the future.

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Making Waves: Hue Help’s Swimming for Safety Programme in Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, Vietnam

In Vietnam, drowning is a major public health problem.

To be specific, it is the leading cause of death for children after infancy, 32 children die from
drowning here every day, which equates to over 11,000 children dying per year1;. In the UK that number is around 50 per year, over two hundred times lower2.

In fact, drowning numbers may even be higher, potentially undetected due to counting
methods. Previous figures are the result of hospital and health facility reports, but most
children who drown are never taken to a health facility because their deaths are immediate,
or because facilities may be located far away from the community. As a consequence,
numbers may have been markedly underreported3

A recent report, conducted by The Alliance for Safe Children (TASC) in collaboration with
UNICEF, found that the vast majority of drowning deaths are preventable. These deaths
tend to occur within 20 metres of the home and are the result of unsupervised children
straying and falling into local water hazards4.

Currently, few children in Vietnam learn how to swim and community awareness of water
safety is low. This coupled with abundant drowning hazards (3,200 kilometres of coastline,
and thousands of rivers, lakes and ponds crisscrossing the country) leads to these
depressingly high drowning figures. These drowning hazards are especially prevalent in rural
areas where the majority of deaths occur.

Adequate supervision is one method to ensure that these death rates are reduced; drowning
rates were reduced by more than 80% in village crèches where this was trialled. However,
drowning death rates in children over the age of 4 who participated in swimming and water
safety training were reduced by more than 90%5.

So our brief was clear, to reduce the number of children who suffer injury or fatality through
water‐related incidents by building the capacity of local schools to provide water safety and
rescue skills and swimming tuition, and teach the children through a structured programme.

With this in mind, in 2011 Hue Help’s inaugural rural swimming programme focused on the
Phú Lộc district in the Thừa Thiên–Huế province, an area particularly prone to flooding (in
fact, in one flooding incident in 1999 over 400 people drowned6).

Unlike the city, the countryside lacks the basic infrastructure that makes teaching swimming
a relatively easy task, most importantly; there are no public swimming pools! This means
that we teach the children to swim in open water – rivers, lakes, lagoon and the sea. There
have been numerous successful programmes that have operated internationally in this way
that have been tremendously successful, and we are of course working with our partners to
ensure that the environments are made safe before they are used.

Hue Help believes that success in a child drowning prevention programme requires
collaboration from multiple sectors and it is critical to build the community and government
capacity to implement and monitor drowning prevention programmes in the future.

For this reason during our trial programme in Summer 2011 we partnered with the Thừa
Thiên–Huế Red Cross and with the Phú Lộc Education Affairs Department to assure the
implementation of the programme and to ensure the full support of the local participating
secondary schools. We also organised a swimming training course for Red Cross staff
and swimming teachers with the support and partnership of The Swimming Teacher’s
Association (STA) and the International Federation of Swimming Teachers’ Associations
(IFSTA). This course trained thirty local swimming teachers, who then worked with ten local
secondary schools at ten separate sites. In total, these ten sites taught 1,200 children to
swim over a 2 month period.

By implementing this programme through local schools, and employing community members
as teachers we are helping to build local capacity and community awareness for the
programme and deliver safety messages to parents and other community members.

This year, the Swimming for Safety programme buoyed by the successes of last Summer
aims again to tackle water safety and swimming in local schools. Using the same teachers
as last year and partnering with the Phú Lộc Education Affairs Department and IFSTA / STA,
we hope to teach another 1,200 children water safety and awareness, rescue techniques,
basic survival skills, and of course; swimming.

At the start of the course in 2011 only 2% of the children who took the initial swimming ability
test were able to swim 25 metres. By the end of the final lesson, 71% of the children could
swim 50 metres on their front and 88% of all test participants passed the IFSTA’s Competent
Open Water Swimmer test.

This year, using the feedback and evaluations from the students and teachers, we have
modified the swimming course to ensure maximum effectiveness of the time given with the
hope that even more children learn the basic skills that can help save their own lives and
even the lives of others.

With the programme about to begin any day now, we have just one thing to say: come on in;
the water is fine!

1 http://swimsafe.org/drowning/drowning-data/
2 http://www.rospa.com/news/releases/detail/default.aspx?id=1083
3 Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia
4 Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia
5 Child Drowning: Evidence for a newly recognized cause of child mortality in low and middle income countries in Asia
6 http://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/Books/BCIFOR0501V.pdf

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YEP (Youth Expedition Programme) Hue 2012 – Unforgettable moments

From 23rd March to 2nd April 2012, Hue Help received a group of students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, under their programme “YEP Hue 2012”. During this programme, they helped construct a courtyard for Tay Xuan Kindergarten over a period of nine days.

We were excited for their arrival, and when they did eventually arrive my first impression was that they were friendly and always smiling. They all greeted me with “Xin Chao”- the first Vietnamese word they had learnt. I thought it was going to be a challenging job for me to teach them Vietnamese, but they were very keen on learning Vietnamese, which also helped me feel less nervous. I was pleased to see that all of them remembered my name, although just some students pronounced it correctly. Some of them even managed to communicate in Vietnamese with some basic words.

For the duration of their stay, the thirty two students- divided into four groups of 8- rotated duties to do construction, organise activities at Tay Xuan Kindergarten, conduct English lessons for a primary school, and prepare daily meals for the whole group; I was impressed by their hard-working attitude and team spirit. Whether it was rainy or sunny, they were out working with the local workers. I had a lot of fun taking part in the kindergarten activities with the kids such as musical chairs, dancing and performing the play “The Little Red Riding Hood”. Thanks to them, I had a chance to eat Chinese, Malaysian and Singapore foods for lunch and dinner. Everyone took part in the cooking and from my eyes, they cooked the food with all their affection.

Apart from the busy life working at the kindergarten, they also enjoyed their time going to the beach, visiting the rice field and bean farm, and exploring Hue city. The activities included visiting Hue Children’s Shelter in An Hoa. We also had a cultural and musical exchange with members of Au Lac School. It was a meaningful event for students from both countries to get to know each other. The event was well planned and everyone enjoyed chatting, joking and spending time together. During the exploration of Hue city, we visited Linh Mu Pagoda and the Citadel. Before that, they had only heard of these places in their lessons at school, and they were happy to visit them in person. Personally, I appreciated their desire to learn more about the history of Vietnam.

We had a closing ceremony before they left Hue. After the dinner, we chatted, sang, and danced around the camp fire. I felt so amazed and touched by the students from Singapore, the Vietnamese volunteers and the local villagers.

Although it was only a short period of time working together, it was full of happiness, smiles and laughter for all the Vietnamese volunteers and myself. I felt that there was a strong bond between us and it was so sad for me to say ‘Goodbye’ to them at the end of their trip. So on behalf of Hue Help, I want to bid farewell to YEP Hue 2012, and I hope that the memories and the laughter we shared will stay with us forever. You will all be missed.

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Swimming for Safety 2012 Pre-evaluation Survey

On Friday 10th February 2012, Hue Help carried out a survey for the implementation of the 2012 Swimming for Safety programme in collaboration with Phu Loc Education Department. The programme is scheduled to start in August 2012 for 1,200 secondary school students in Phu Loc district. Eventually, we aim to strengthen the physical health of children and reduce the rate of children drowning in Thua Thien Hue province.

In order to ensure the safety and quality of the training course, we checked the swimming equipment, as well as the teaching plans and schedules of seven of the ten secondary schools, namely Bon Loc, Loc An, Loc Dien, Loc Tri, Phu Loc Town, Vinh Hien, and Lam Mong Quang. We will soon return to Phu Loc district to survey the remaining schools and to assess the swimming sites.

This will be the second year that Hue Help is implementing the programme in Phu Loc district, and we hope that this programme will be replicated beyond Phu Loc and integrated into the education system as a formal subject in schools.

If you are interested in sponsoring or donating for this programme, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@huehelp.org. Similarly, please feel free to contact us if you would like more information regarding the swimming programme or any other of our activities.