Brown Bag Lunch Day for Kids in Vietnam

Jun 20, 2014

Meeting with Grantee & Packing Our Lunches Again!

Meeting with Nhan Ai Social Work Club
Meeting with Nhan Ai Social Work Club

On June 8th, 2014, LIN and three Narrow the Gap Community Fund supporters met with the Director of the Nhan Ai Social Work Club, which received a grant of 100 million Vietnam Dong (about USD $4,700) to offer tutoring, personality skills training, psychological consultations and life orientation for children from slum areas of HCMC from October 2013 through September 2014. The meeting was scheduled immediately following one of Nhan Ai Club’s big events.

The event was designed as a belated celebration of International Children’s Day (1st of June) and offered an opportunity for club members and volunteers to provide life-orientation for the disadvantaged children they support. The purpose of the meeting between Narrow the Gap supporters and Nhan Ai was to learn how the funded project is being implemented; to share successes, challenges and lessons learned; and to identify areas where further help may be needed.

According to their interrim report, Nhan Ai said they completed 50% of the project, including: purchase educational supplies and a bookshelf with books for students, awards for outstanding volunteers, organization of Mid-Autumn, Christmas and Tet events for the children, training for volunteers on the necessary skills to live and work with disadvantaged children, organization of two outdoor activities – one in Gia Dinh and another in Cau Muoi park; and the most recent field trip and event for children (which took place the same day as the meeting).

Through this project, Nhan Ai Social Club had a chance to engage and collaborate with the headmaster of the Ho Chi Minh Pedagogical University and professors in education, which helped them to solve two big challenges, including: (1) a sudden loss of venue when one partner changed their mind about hosting Nhan Ai's tutoring sessions; and (2) identifying trainers for volunteers that did not have much experience workign with disadvantaged youth.

According to the head of the Club, Mr. Trung: “The tutoring sessions are offered by students from the University of Pedagogy. They offer two kinds of classes: one for the children who must work; and the other for children who are able to attend school. The classes are designed to improve knowledge, check understanding and create opportunities for the children to learn better at school”.

Although the group has had problems in contacting with local government, largely due to the fact that they are volunteer led and did not have a clear understanding about how the justice system works, Nhan Ai Social Club already managed to: help two children enroll into the public education system.

In evaluating the club’s project proposal, Mr. Le Manh Tan, one of the Narrow the Gap donors who joined the meeting stated, “I think this project has a very interesting idea that is teaching everyday living skills and providing emotional support for children with special needs… this is a very good cause […] I congratulate Nhan Ai on their effort, what they are doing is very honorable and meaningful. I admire the effort that Nhan Ai is making.”

[On 9 April, LIN accompanied Charissa Murphy, a Global Giving Volunteer, to one of Nhan Ai's tutoring sessions. The tutoring sessions take place every night of the work week at a Pagoda in Binh Thanh District.  We met several university students who were helping 15 or so disadvantaged students, ranging from 10 to 14, with their school work.  While they were working with the students, we talked with some of the Nhan Ai team, including the Club Head and two members of the development team. When talking about their future goals, one member said, "Before we just thought of ourselves as a club, but now we would like to opportunity to grow and improve the organization. They are many clubs that are doing charity work or short-term activities. They do not stay dedicated to their work like we do.  However, we do not have a strategic plan or sustainable organization.  We hope to build that in this year and the year to come."] 



Remember when we asked you to pack your lunch for children?   Well, this time, we would like to ask you to pack your lunch to help us Narrow the Gap in Access to EDUCATION!

Details about our new campaign can be found on the following website:

We also set up a new project page on GlobalGiving and you can access it here:

Last month, VinhNhi and Linh shared their ideas for overcoming barriers to a quality education. Today, we are asking you - and other friends and supporters - to pack a lunch, at least once during the month of June, and donate your savings to LIN's Narrow the Gap Community Fund, so we can invest, together, in great ideas! And post a photo of you making/eating/posing by your homemade lunch right on our facebook or your facebook (use hashtag #linnarrowthegap) to let the world see its lunch heroes.

An anonymous donor is tripling every donation made towards this campaign, up to VND 1 billion. LIN's goal is to raise VND 300 million (about USD $15,000) by mid-August, which would give us over VND 1.2 billion to invest in projects that improve access to education in Ho Chi Minh City.

Whether you donate 50,000 dong (USD $3) or 10 million dong (USD $500 dollars), you automatically become an equal partner in this campaign - your name will be recognized on our website and you will help determine which projects get funded.

Will you pack your lunch with us today?   

GlobalGiving Volunteer Visits Nhan Ai Class
GlobalGiving Volunteer Visits Nhan Ai Class
Launch of Narrow the Gap Campaign for Education!
Launch of Narrow the Gap Campaign for Education!
LIN Team Packed Their Lunches to Narrow the Gap
LIN Team Packed Their Lunches to Narrow the Gap


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:

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


Dec 11, 2013

Narrow the Gap Fund for Children - Funded Projects

1st Place Project - Ceporer Hoc Mon Social Center
1st Place Project - Ceporer Hoc Mon Social Center

From June to September 2013, with the help of more than 80 individuals (including you!), 30 companies and 52 volunteers, over 300 million Viet Nam Dong (about USD $15,000) was contributed to the Narrow the Gap Community Fund to address children’s issues in and near Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile, a committee of ten HCMC residents volunteered to evaluate 14 proposals submitted by local, nonprofit organizations and select the five proposals that could best address the needs of children in and near Ho Chi Minh City. The five proposals were posted online in August and over 2,500 people voted for their favorite, which narrowed the finalists down to three. Finally, on 15 September 2013, nearly 340 members of the Ho Chi Minh City Community attended the Narrow the Gap Community Event where they learned about the top three projects and were asked to vote for the proposal they liked most. This last vote determined the size of the grant each project would receive from the Narrow the Gap Community Fund. 

The winners of the three grants were:

  •  First Place (Grant of VND 150,000,000): Ceporer Hoc Mon will use these funds to build a clean water tower that will help improve the quality of life for 161 children from 80 families living in Long Thuan (Long An), where the existing water source has been contaminated by alum. Click here to read the original project proposal.
  •  Second Place (Grant of VND 100,000,000): Nhan Ai Social Work Club will offer life skills training and psychological counseling to disadvantaged children in poverty stricken areas of HCMC. Click here to read the original project proposal.
  •  Third Place (Grant of VND 50,000,000): The Center for Multilanguage Database Kim Tu Dien will use these funds to produce a -Let‘s Learn E-book for visually impaired children at shelters, clubs and schools in HCMC.
    Click here to read the original project proposal.

Compared with 2012, the community doubled their contributions to the fund and increased their level and depth of participation in the Narrow the Gap program. Nevertheless, based on staff experience and feedback from stakeholders, we identified areas for improvement in 2014. For example, we plan to revise the online voting component to ensure that the focus is on quality and we would also like to find ways to further increase the number of Vietnamese companies participating in the fund and event.

Photos from the event, as well as the event program, are attached to give you a better idea about the event. Many more photos are on LIN's Narrow the Gap page on  

Next Step - Site Visits!

During the first week of October, three grant agreements were signed with each of the winners and fund transfers were made (Ceporer Hoc Mon and Kim Tu Dien both received 100% of their committed funds while Nhan Ai Social Work Club received the first of three fund transfers, due to the nature of each of their project). LIN is currently coordinating with the three grantees to schedule visits to the project sites. The first site visit will take place on this Sunday, 15 December.  Supporters to the Narrrow the Gap Fund or Event are invited to join a groundbreaking ceremony for the clean water tower in Hoc Mon (Ceporer Hoc Mon).  LIN is organizing transportation from HCMC's city center to Long An for anyone interested to join the event. Please contact us at: to express your interest.

Stay Up-To-Date

Narrow the Gap Fund supporters (that's you!) can stay up-to-date by joining LIN's Narrow the Gap Fund page on Facebook (

On behalf of the entire LIN team, I would like to thank you, once again, for your support and for believing that together we can change lives and bring hope to many people in Ho Chi Minh City and our surrounding provinces!

A detailed report (with budget, testimonials, list of donors, etc) is now available on LIN's website (click the link below to access that report).

2nd Place Project - Nhan Ai Club
2nd Place Project - Nhan Ai Club
3rd Place KTD Centre introduces its project
3rd Place KTD Centre introduces its project
Narrow the Gap Community Event
Narrow the Gap Community Event


Sep 3, 2013

Target reached, celebrate with us on September 15!

Narrow the Gap Event Poster
Narrow the Gap Event Poster

Dear friends,

Boy, do we have a lot of news to share!

First, the Narrow the Gap Fund, with the help of over 80 amazing individuals and over 20 generous companies reached its target of VND 300 million ($15,000)!

Second, over 2500 people took part in Narrow the Gap Online Vote, which is 10 times more than were were hoping for! The public vote determined that the three top projects that will receive grants from the Fund are:

And third, to celebrate and to meet the staff of local nonprofits behind the three projects, we invite those of you in town to join a fun and meaningful Narrow the Gap Community Event on September 15! The event is designed for adults and children alike. Participate in fun kids collaboration games, visit the book reading and arts & crafts corners, win great raffle prizes, enjoy complimentary food and drinks, take a silly photo, and, in addition, vote for your favorite project! The vote will determine which project receives the largest grant - VND 150 million! To learn more about the event and to buy tickets, click here
Thank you once again for helping us bring a new hope to the children in our city!
LIN Team


Jun 12, 2013

Let's surpass the initial target of $1K!

Less than a few hours into our Brown Bag Lunch Day for Kids campaign and, with cash donations made here in Vietnam, we are more than half-way to our target.  So, we've submitted a request to GlobalGiving to revise the target to USD $5,000 (up from the initial $1K target), we thought that would be too high for a one day campaign and just asking for lunch money but you've changed our minds...

The more we raise for this fund, the more grants we can make to support vulnerable children in HCMC!

By the way, we've had some great photos of friends packing their lunches before work today posted onto Facebook. Check them out here:

We are so grateful to our friends and supporters for raising our expectations!




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Project Leader

Dana Doan

Ho Chi Minh City, N/A Vietnam

Where is this project located?

Map of Brown Bag Lunch Day for Kids in Vietnam