We hope your summer is going well and this update finds you in good health. We are getting close to the last week of our trip in Vietnam and we couldn’t be more happy with the work that you have helped us accomplish and only wish we had more time to stay and do more.
So far we have had two bike giving ceremonies in Cam Duc and Cam An villages, with one more to go in the coming week. By the end of our trip we will have given 60 bikes to girls in the Cam Lam district and by the end of this year we hope to donate 150 more bikes to girls in need in Viet Nam.
It is hard to describe life in Cam Lam to anyone who has never been here. It is hard to explain to someone what a family living on only $1 a day looks like, or what it’s like to visit a young girl’s home who has lost both her parents and lives with relatives in a tiny, one-room cement house with no furniture, and yet still maintains a constant smile and a thankfulness for a gift that we so often take for granted. We also can’t describe fully what it feels like to watch as a group of girls jump on their new bikes and ride away, as we look on and hope that they may be able to continue their education because now they have a way to make the trek that the day before seemed too far for a pair of feet alone to conquer. We also can’t explain, or reconcile even with ourselves what it’s like knowing that for whatever small measure of good we are trying to produce here, it is never enough, and the importance of supporting girls’ education worldwide is paramount for the success of future generations.
But one thing we can try to do as best we can is to say thank you. We can say that with your thoughtfulness and generosity that you are making a difference in these girl’s lives and we are seeing it first hand. We can tell you that we are forever grateful that you have chosen to support these beautiful girls. We have made sure that every $55 has gone directly to buying a bike.
We hope you will continue to have good health, good luck, and good success in the months and years to come.
Thank you again,
The Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Team
Thanks to all of you who have supported our 100 Bikes for 100 Girls program on Global Giving. We have just reached another funding milestone by raising enough money to buy bikes for 100 more girls! Thank you so much for the continued support, the girls are so happy to receive the bikes from you all. The girls and their families send their hellos and thanks to you all.
In March, one of our Board Members, Ms. Luu Phan was in Vietnam and she went for the first time to visit our art, music and bike program in the province of Khanh Hoa. She was very happy to be able to take part in a bike giving ceremony while she was visiting, and was so happy to see the reaction and gratefulness of the girls receiving the bikes that you have given them. The photographs linked to this report are of Luu with some of the girls.
More good news is that a staff member of Global Giving also went to visit our program in Vietnam. She sent back rave reviews to their office here in the states, so we are very excited to have this independent critique of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Please let us know if any of you have plans to travel to Vietnam, a group of us will be there from the U.S. this summer for one month working with the kids.
Please know that all of your donations have gone directly to purchasing a bike or bikes. We look forward to continuing this program on Global Giving. Thank you again for supporting the girls and giving them an opportunity to own a new bike, the opportunity to travel to school easily and most of all safely. Your gifts have already made such an enormous, direct difference in each of these girl’s lives.
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Thanks to all of you who supported us in 2013! We raised enough money to provide bikes to 150 girls! Thank you so much for the continued support, it means a great deal to all of the girls we support.
We wanted to let you all know, that we have returned to the communities to visit the girls we have given bikes to, to provide them with bike pumps, tires if needed, and additional tire tubes. We hope to follow up with the girls 4 or 5 months after they receive a bike to assure that the bikes are in good working condition. This helps us make sure that the type of bikes we’ve been purchasing hold up, and an idea of the kinds of repairs they may need. So far, so good, and of course the bikes are being used by the girls and their families all the time. The photos attached are of one of our trips to see some of the girls. We brought along the bike shop owner to help us with repairs, and to provide new tires if needed. All of the girls were very happy, and have told us how they love the bikes, and how it’s easier for them to get to school, and many other great bike stories.
We wanted to share one of the girl’s stories with you. This is Men, she lives with her parents, younger brother, and grandmother in a small house built by the government. Her father is a fisherman, a hard job in Vietnam and her mom doesn’t work because she has severe epilepsy. Men is one of the top students at her high school. She is learning to speak English, and studies very hard. She is a great example for her classmates because although she is so poor, and her living conditions are hard, she stays strong and positive and continues to work very hard. Men and her family were very excited about her having a new bike to help her get to school safely. Her grandmother told us that the night before receiving the bike, their whole family couldn't sleep because they were so excited! The bike has helped her family in many ways, not just helping Men get to school, but also Men can now take her mom to the hospital easily on the back of her bike when she needs to.
Please know, that all of your donations have gone directly to purchasing a bike or bikes. We look forward to expanding this program in 2014 with a lot of new ideas and will keep you updated. Thank you again for supporting the girls and giving them an opportunity to own a new bike.
To date we have been able to donate 85 bikes through our “Bikes for Girls” program! Amazing! Thank you so much for your generosity. One of the areas that we are working in is an ethnic minority community near Cam Lam, Vietnam called Son Tan. Throughout Vietnam ethic minority communities like these are typically very poor. We worked with our partners from the local district, to identify students at the primary school in Son Tan who were in need of a bike based on distance to the school and access to transportation. Our partners further identified the 3 neediest families of those students in the community and we were able to visit with them after we gave their child a bicycle.
This is Phuong, she is just one of the girls who received a bike. Her house is on the top of a hill at the end of a twisting dirt walkway off of the main road of the village. At the bottom of the hill, at an elbow on the trail, we walked past a group of small children playing in a muddy, puddle of water created from an old leaky hose. The kids were bathing and washing their clothes. Small cinderblocks were scattered in a way to keep bare feet out of the mud. The sight of children showering outside was not abnormal to us in Vietnam as we have seen many children washing up outside at their communal wells, but it was disturbing to see these children having to wash and drink from clearly unsanitary conditions. What was also unusually striking was when we reached the top of the hill and made it to Phuong’s house, there were children there with very little or nothing on, and some just had old deteriorated, over-sized shirts covering them. When we asked about their clothes we were told that the children that were not dressed literally didn’t own or have clothes and their families were too poor to buy them. The conditions in this particular village were very difficult to see.
On a lighter note, we do want to say, that the joy on the children’s faces who received a bike that day was truly memorable. Do you remember the first new bike that you received as a child? You can imagine the meaning of these bikes to these girls then.
Since visiting the Son Tan community and school, we have since bought shoes and uniforms for all 100 students there. We are now working with the principal of the school to find more ways in which we can assist the community moving forward. We look forward to those opportunities and will update you as soon as we can.
We would like to once again thank you for your generous donations and to let you know that you are making a difference, you are promoting change, and there is a girl in the end receiving a bicycle that now has an opportunity that she wouldn’t have if not for your gift.
The Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Team
Thank you for helping us to provide Bikes for Girls in need. Our family is currently working in Vietnam to develop our 40 Bikes for 40 Girls program around the country. This week we provided bikes to a group of 10 and 11 year old girls just outside of Hue, Vietnam, who have been identified by a local organization as potential targets for child labor and sex trafficking. In this area local child traffickers often approach the most desperate and poor families and tell them that if their child goes to the city with them, they will be able to work and send money back to the families. They will give money to the families up front for the children. Once in the city, the children are kept in very small rooms and work continuously throughout the day for 12-15 hours, often with little sleep and only one or two bathroom breaks. The children rarely return home. These kids are usually between the ages of 11 and 15 and in some cases as young as 8 or 9 years old.
This week we were able to give a bike to a young girl named Kim A, as well as meet her family in her home. She is 11 years old and has two older siblings who have moved away to find work. Both of Kim Anh’s parents work far from home during the week days, only returning home on the weekends. Kim lives alone during the week. She cooks and cares for herself and sleeping alone at night in their very tiny, open-sided shack. Each day Kim had been walking back and forth to her school along the highway. We timed her riding home and it took 20 minutes on her new bike. She had been walking this back and forth each day, so this bicycle will make a huge difference for her. She was so excited to receive it.
Each of the girls who we have provided a bike to have their own individual stories like this, all of which are similar in the difficult lives they and their families live. Thank you again for being a part of helping each of these beautiful kids. Please help us spread the word and help us provide many more girls the support of a new bicycle.
Sara, Patrick, Sophie and Phoebe
Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund Directors and Family
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