BENEFITING: SAIGON CHILDRENS CHARITY USA
EVENT DATE: Aug 14, 2014
In rural Vietnam, a malnourished 14-year-old girl named Phung acts almost as the head of her household. She is tiny, standing just 4 feet 11 inches and weighing 97 pounds.
Yet if Phung is achingly fragile, she’s also breathtakingly strong. To get to school on time, she sets her alarm for 3 a.m. each day. She rises quietly so as not to wake her younger brother and sister, who both share her bed, and she then cooks rice for breakfast while reviewing her books.
Her mother died of cancer and her father has to take city jobs to make ends meet… because in their community in rural Vietnam, families live on VND 7000 per day (the threshold of poverty among the rural population). That’s about USD 33 cents a day. Imagine living on 33 cents a day.
So during the week, Phung is like a single mother who happens to be in the ninth grade. Phung wakes her brother and sister, and then after breakfast they all trundle off to school. For Phung, that means a 90-minute commute each way. She arrives at school 20 minutes early to be sure she’s not late. After school, the three children go fishing to get something to eat for dinner. She washes her only school uniform — a white dress — in a bucket each evening and hopes it will dry overnight.
Every day, she helps her little brother and sister with their homework first and then completes her own. Sometimes she doesn’t collapse into bed until 11 p.m., only to rouse herself four hours later.
On August 14, I will be heading to Ho Chi Minh city as part of a Credit Suisse volunteer trip to help build a school for Saigon Children’s Charity. We will be working in Tieu Can, one of the poorest communes in Tra Vinh, Vietnam. In Tieu Can, most people work in farming.
This is where YOU come in. We need your funds to help girls like Phung. Through Credit Suisse’s partnership with Saigon Children’s Charity, we can provide education and scholarships for these little girls. We’re looking for donations between 500 to 10,000 USD to help girls like Phung.
I’d like to make a bigger impact than just flying to Ho Chi Minh to hammer in a few nails and paint some walls. I’ve set up a funding page on Crowdrise to raise money for Saigon Children’s Charity on the run-up to the volunteer trip. The kids in Saigon and I will be grateful if you can donate whatever you can.