OBV just welcome our newest addition to the family, from a province far, far away. It took the family days to make the journey to us, with the child having only been sexually abused not so long before that.
The child and her family all came together to visit OBV, with the purpose being to understand the work we do, and the kind of life provided to survivors of abuse. OBV was quite stunned looking at this child: a tiny frame with unsteady legs. Stained clothes, and sad eyes staring blankly that much reminded us of another survivor we had taken under our wing only 2 years earlier. The family, in turn, were equally stunned, for they had never imagined that a safe haven for young victims of abuse existed, and they immediately and wholeheartedly expressed their wishes to have their daughter raised and nurtured here. The child, despite knowing she'd be far away from her family could also sense that she'd be safer and happier here, and agreed to stay without any protest.
A long day...a very long day filled with so many emotions, when we take you back to your village to see your mother....
There is so much I want to write, but at the same time, I'm overcome with emotion. Is this right? Wrong? Are we doing the right thing? are we not?
We're lucky to have a lawyer with us. whose dedication and perseverance has helped us, without whom we would've been stuck at what was seemingly a dead end. Our OBV family thanks you!
an old article...
Heading to Western
Receiving the news from a coordinator, there were two sisters who were in OBV's case in Western of Vietnam, four of us arrange our work in order to go for
11h30, everybody gathered on 3/2 street, then we headed to Western. The weather was so hot, but suddenly it rained slightly, it made the atmosphere in the afternoon less moggy
Everybody passed by a shop on pavement to have lunch. Then we continued our journey
An old article...
At 5 A.M. on May 06, 2011, we left Can Tho for C. province. We were very lucky to meet Mr. and Mrs. Nam who voluntarily took us there after they heard about our work. The place we were going to go to is the farthest area of C. province. We went there to see a family which also held the deepest misery. That's why we called this place: where the deepest misery was.
After a 6-hour trip to that place, I pictured in my mind a village rounded by green mangrove forest and lots of canals. At the moment we departed, a good song about this land ran out the radio. It was about strangers who come here the first time with lots of feelings.
An old article...
It was raining outside – July's specific rain – but K. and I were ready for our trip because there were lots of things to do. The new academic year was coming but identity documents of S. hadn't been confirmed yet. We had to go to her hometown to get everything ready. Besides, taking two new kids to OBV's house was also urgent because the new academic year was about to begin. (These two kids are siblings. They were abused by the same man who was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison.) There was another 15 year-old girl in Can Tho. She was abused by her stepfather. After giving birth, she left hospital in silence because she didn't have enough money to pay for her stay there.
An overnight journey brought her home to the OBV House. She was really looking forward to the day when she would live in a new environment, with no more hunger, no more fear of her mom "using" her to earn money, and not being the center of the neighborhood gossip. Her great grandmother took care of her since she was only one year old. She felt uneasy leaving her great grandmother alone, whose eyes were dim. Who would hang and stow a mosquito net for her great grandmother every night? But her great grandmother tried to put her mind at ease and encourage her: "You just do your best and study hard, that makes me happy. I will be fine."
Sister Ngoc and the new children
These days of March, project staffs of OBV went with Sister Ngoc to visit and consult 3 victims' families of child sex exploitation. A five-hundred-kilometer road trip, we had to go 3 times to be successful in persuading their families to let them live in OBV Family. Due to the specific characteristic of each area, there were only 2 children can come to OBV Family, another one will be helped by project staff to carry out the procedures because until now she did not have any personal papers to prove that she is ...Vietnamese.
If you've been following the stories on our OBV website, you'll remember the story of one of our little girl published in: A Fate Like Weed.
After many visits and dialogue exchanged with C's family, I persuaded her family to let C comes and stays at OBV home. C's family is not in a situation to provide proper care for her. C's dad is mentally ill. C's mom and her grandparents are busy making end meets. C was often found wondering the streets and highways barefeet from Can Tho to Soc Trang. The chance of C facing abused and kidnapped for sex trafficking was pretty high. Thus, I felt a great sense of relief after I brought C to live in OBV home.
Their innocent smiles when wearing new dresses
A five-year-old little girl lives with her father who works as a mechanic. Her parents had separated when she was one. Her mother could no longer endure her father's drunkenness and gambling habit so she left to go back to her village carrying with her an unborn child in her womb. Her mother works as a hired hand here and there scraping enough to support herself day by day as she lives in humiliation. As for the little girl, she lives with her father in a dilapidated and unfurnished rental unit. Her means of support is dependent on what her father brings home on that day from inflating and patching up tires for customers in the area. The little girl is five, but she doesn't get to go to school. She doesn't know any children songs or rhymes, nor does she have any toy. On a daily basis, she hangs around her father's auto shop; her toy is a rock or whatever else she might pick up.
A paradox, but the truth is often unexpected
I knew there was something wrong from the moment the little girl set foot into the OBV home. It would have been fine if she was shy or scared because of being in a new environment, but she kept on smiling to and laughing with everyone, and even ran around the house with some older children, as if she was the host herself.