LIN Center for Community Development

LIN connects, consults and inspires grassroots, not-for-profit organizations, volunteers and donors so they can provide sustainable solutions to community challenges. A vibrant and effective third sector is vitally important for Vietnam's continuing progress. LIN provides crucial guidance, networking opportunities and support services to local nonprofit organizations. In just three years, since our launch, LIN is becoming the "go-to organization" for local and foreign donors and volunteers looking to engage in philanthropy in Ho Chi Minh City. At the same time, LIN is the only organization that matches skilled volunteers to support staff at nonprofits that address the needs of ...
Mar 17, 2014

E-Book for Visually Impaired Children Almost Done!

Narrow the Gap Visits Kim Tu Dien Centre
Narrow the Gap Visits Kim Tu Dien Centre

On 28 February 2014, LIN organized a site visit to The Center for Multilanguage Database Kim Tu Dien, which won 3rd Place (and a grant of VND 50 million) during the Narrow the Gap Community Event 2013: Focus on Children.  Kim Tu Dien agreed to use those funds to produce a “Let’s Learn” English language E-book for visually impaired children at shelters, clubs and schools in Ho Chi Minh City.  Click here to watch the short video introduction to their project.

Four Narrow the Gap representatives joined the morning site visit, where we met and talked with Mr. Tri, the software developer , who gave an introduction to the Center and how they came up with the idea to produce a “Let’s Learn” English language E-book for visually impaired children at shelters, clubs and schools in Ho Chi Minh City.

“In the past, we created several E-books for children,” said Mr. Tri.  “We also created E-books for visually impaired children, with a shelter as our client.  We just thought, ‘why not turn this popular English language learning book into an E-book for visually impaired children as well?’”

After running through a demo of the “Let’s Learn” E-book, which Mr. Tri said is ninety percent completed, he talked about next steps.  First the team needs to check, once more, for errors and complete the design (referring to functionality as opposed to graphics). Before the end of March, they expect to install the E-book on some computers at Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind in order to test usability with the Director and some of the students.

Attention NPOs working with visually impaired children! Mr. Tri said that Kim Tu Dien would welcome a chance to test the software at one or two other shelters. If any of your organizations would be interested and willing to help test the software, please contact Mr. Tri (at Kim Tu Dien) and/or Mr. Son (at LIN).

“In our experience working with visually impaired children, we know that they cannot use a mouse and they prefer to only use the ‘up’ and ‘down’ buttons,” explained Mr. Tri. “That is why we designed this software to rely heavily on those two keys.”

Once the tests are completed, Kim Tu Dien will make the required fixes before disseminating the completed “Let’s Learn” E-book to schools and shelters in the existing network first.  Afterwards, Kim Tu Dien said it would like to make the software available to anyone else that would be interested.  For this purpose, they plan to upload the software to the Center’s website for free download.  (A password may be required but Mr. Tri said the Center plans to provide a password to anyone interested to download the program.)

“In the past, we made software for visually impaired children as a service provider, with the shelter as our client,” said Mr. Tri.  “We did what they wanted.”  But the decision to produce the “Let’s Learn” B-book, was different, “This program is something [Kim Tu Dien] wanted to do so we gave it our all, we contributed our staff time and we are working hard to make it perfect.”

Because Kim Tu Dien won third place, they were only able to create one out of the three “Let’s Learn” E-books they originally proposed to translate.  Mr. Tri said the center plans to look for additional funds so they can make these books as well, “We still have a desire to produce the other two E-books.”

Mr. Tri demonstrates how the e-book works
Mr. Tri demonstrates how the e-book works

Links:

Mar 17, 2014

Inauguration of the Clean Water Tower Project!

Participants on the ferry, visiting the project
Participants on the ferry, visiting the project

LIN staff and volunteers, ILA Vietnam (Donor), Ceporer Hóc Môn (Grantee), Hoi Huynh e (INGO partner to Ceporer Hoc Mon), representatives of HSBC (Donor) and filmmakers from Unilever (Donor) departed from Ho Chi Minh City for Long An at 6:00am on Sunday, 23 February 2014. After two hours of travel, we arrived at the People’s Committee of Long Thuan Commune in Long An Province. There, we all boarded a ferry in order to reach the location of the water tower, where the clean water tower would be inaugurated that same day, for the benefit of the local people, including 86 families with 160 children.

Our first destination was to visit some fo the houses that would benefit from the clean water. From the ferry, we could see the plastic pipeline, carrying clean water to the three most remotely located families in the area. The flow of the water was still strong and the water looked just as clean as the water we are use in Ho Chí Minh City. One of the concerns; however, was that the pipeline is underground in some parts and above ground in other parts.  We worried that this would present a risk of damage to the pipeline and raised the question with the project team. The project team said they had thought about this as well but they needed to discuss with the local government to find a long-term solution.

During the trip, the delegation met with Mr. Phô who, together with his mother, are already benefiting from the project. He shared his opinion: “I work far from my home and usually arrive home late. I am so glad to have fresh water for use instead of having to use the alum water or having to wait for rainwater. The pipeline also helps us to save time since we no longer need to travel to a water source.”

We tried to visit another two households but, they happened to be workign on their farms at the time of our visit, so we could not interview them. Nevertheless, we had an opportunity to investigate the pipeline and test the water.

After the visits, we took the ferry to the location of the water tower to participate in the inauguration ceremony with the local government representatives, community members, project team members and children from the area. It was an exciting and happy time. After the ceremony, we spoke with Mr. Nam, who allowed the project members to build the tower on his land.  He said: “We, the local households, were so worried about the water here.  We raised our concerns to the People’s Committee in our Commune and even in the Province but we never received any satisfactory response. When I heard that this project would be possible, I was happy to lend my land as I know it will benefit everyone. I would like to thank the Narrow the Gap Fund and other donors, who take care of the people in Long Thuan, our poor commune in Long An Province.”

The project team invited Mr. Pham Truong Son, Deputy Director of LIN, to cut the ribbon to officially inaugurate the clean water tower at Long Thuan Commune in Long An Province. Now, 86 households which care for 160 children, have acess to clean water. In his remarks, Ms. Son shared, “On behalf of all of the donors and supporters of the Narrow the Gap Fund 2013 for Children, I am so pleased to be able to attend the inauguration ceremony today. Now that the water tower is complete and water is flowing, we know that the next step is to maintain the water tower and reinfoce the pipeline. It is great to know that the management staff are assigned and focused on these tasks. We wish you all continued success with this project and we want you to know that we are by your side.”

***

Check out LIN's Narrow the Gap page on Facebook for regular updates: https://www.facebook.com/NarrowTheGapFund?ref=hl

Water flowing to people
Water flowing to people's houses
The pipeline, along a bridge
The pipeline, along a bridge
Mr. Son (rt) talks with Mr. Nam outside his home
Mr. Son (rt) talks with Mr. Nam outside his home

Links:

Feb 10, 2014

Happy Lunar New Year and LIN's Annual Report 2013

Lunar New Year Greeting
Lunar New Year Greeting

Thank you for helping to build a stronger community in and around Ho Chi Minh City!

With your support and encouragement, the LIN Center for Community Development was able to exceed our targets for 2013. Here are some of the highlights from 2013:

  • www.VietnamCauses.org - Launched in Q4, this website details 70+ nonprofits, searchable by name, cause & location (and we are working to get all of the nonprofit pages translated into English by the end of this month)
  • Over 225 local nonprofit staff received pro bono support services from LIN and those services indirectly benefited over 96,000 people in Vietnam.
  • 17 Nonprofits joined LIN, for a new total of 121 NPO Partners.
  • 293 volunteers were engaged by LIN (94 Skilled Volunteers served 50 NPOs directly, 31 Skilled Volunteers were Trainers/Speakers and 168 Volunteers supported LIN programs) contributing over 10,577 volunteer hours, valued at over USD $240,000.
  • LIN Community Center hosted 4 developing nonprofit organizations in our Incubator.
  • 16 workshops helped to build the capacity of local nonprofit staff.
  • Narrow the Gap Community Fund received USD $26,666 and disbursed 11 grants valued at USD $24,380.
  • 7 "Do-It-Yourself" toolkits to guide start-up and developing nonprofits in operational best practices. (Click here to download a toolkit in Vietnamese)
  • 700 customers came to at least one of 12 SecondChanceStore events generating over USD 3,600 in donations to LIN activities.
  • 423 donors to LIN (including cash and in-kind).
  • 98% of NPO partners reported that LIN's services resulted in positive organizational impact!

Read more about our achievements by downloading LIN's 2013 Annual Report (click here to download).

Our success in 2013 was only possible because of your support during the New Year Lights Campaign, which took place at this same time last year. I hope that you will be proud of what we accomplished with your help.  If you have any suggestions for improvement, we would love to hear from you!

May the year of the horse give us all the humility to see the world as it is, and the audacity to imagine the world as it should be.  The LIN team wishes you all peace, love and kindess in 2014.

 

Note: We are thrilled to announce that Ernst & Young Vietnam agreed to provide a pro bono audit of LIN's 2013 financial statements. E&Y's audit of our 2012 financial statements is already posted on the LIN website (click here). E&Y will begin working on our 2013 audit this April and hope to have the report back to us by late May.  

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