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Ben Tre - August 2008/ Bến Tre - Tháng 8 năm 2008

It has been a great day yesterday for us to visit Ben Tre. The weather was perfect and the people (both the team who visited and the people we visited) are great, nice and happy.

 - We have received VND35 million in total from 55 friends who sent money from: Vietnam (Hanoi, Saigon), Singapore, Australia, Japan, UK and US.
- We sponsor 40 kids from Vinh Hoa Commune, Ba Tri District, Ben Tre - they are outstanding students from poor families in this commune.
- Our sponsorship includes VND250,000 per student (paying their School fees, development fees and student health insurance for the whole year), and we bought books and pens for each students (additional reading books), and we also boughts books and dictionaries for the Vinh Hoa School's library. Total fund spent is VND18 million. Hence, we still have VND17 million left which will be used to sponsor students/ kids from other Schools (plan will be followed shortly).
- 40 kids include: 5 at Year 10, 9 at Year 9, 12 at Year 8, 5 at Year 7, 1 at year 5 and 8 at Year 4, chosen by the Vinh Hoa's People's Committee from the nomination of the 3 Schools in the commune (primary, secondary and high schools).

Activities during the day:

- The team who visited Ben Tre has 15 people from Saigon + 2 from Ben Tre, all from different companies and different sectors - all have a very big smiles as you can see in the photos.
- The team started at 7 am and arrived Vinh Hoa at 12 am (late due to busy ferry) with "unofficial" tourguide is Van Anh Thai and "unofficial" group speaker Hai Au.
- At 12 am we have a chance to play some games with the kids at Vinh Hoa's People's Committee and met the Deputy Principals of the primary and secondary schools, and many communcial officials.
- 40 kids are at the People's Committee to receive their books (packed with the name of the sponsor). They are bright and lovely kids to work with.
- After a nice lunch (cooked by a teacher's family), the team visited 4 randomly selected families of (1) Tran Thi Ngoc Tram - Tran Minh Nhat (Brother and sister - Years 4 and 8 (sponsored by Bui Quang Thien My and Phan Ngoc Quang), (2) Tran Thi Thu Ha (year 8 - sponsored by Nguyen Quynh Anh), (3) Nguyen Thanh Phuong (Year 7 - sponsored by Cuong Ho), and (4) Cao Huu Nghi (year 10 - sponsored by Nguyen Tran Thuy Thu Hang). The team has given VND500,000 to each family to support their kids. Some of us probably cried inside when we visited these poor families as they are so poor. They probably have tried very hard to support their kids to continue their study.
- The charity event completed by 3:20pm and the team came back to Saigon at ... 10pm (after one stop at the Ben Tre garden and took some photos at the Ferry, stopped for dinner at Mekong Rest Stop).

It was a wonderful day for all of us and the kids, and we really think the money is worth spent to these kids, who I think will probably have a brighter future with our supports. I'd like to thank you all for your support, and I hope we can keep support other kids in other areas of Vietnam, those who really need our help.

Special thanks to:
- Mr Sy - an official of Vinh Hoa's People's Committee who has helped us to do this function and all the officials of the Committee.
- Cao Son Trinh Company Limited for renting us a nice and colourful bus at discounted price.
- Nguyet - who has helped me to buy all the books at discounted price (20-50% discount).
- All other friends who supported us money, comic books, toys, ... Everything counts.

Again, thank you all for your help, and those who have not allocated a kid this time, we still have money to continue and we wish to continue to have as many trips as possible.