Her old school…
After leaving Tay Ninh, we moved to the next part of our journey directly. That was searching for a high school for T. to study at. Thanks to prayers of lots of people, we found out a high school in Sai Gon that agreed to receive her. But because she was in grade 10, formality to attend a new school was difficult.
After coming to ask at the Department of Education and Training in Ho Chi Minh City, I was told to ask for a permission letter given by a Principal of a high school in Ho Chi Minh City, and then a recommendation letter from the Principal of the school the girl was studying at. I went to the Department of Education and Training in Tay Ninh Province along with all of the documents about her educational progress to ask for permission to let her study in Ho Chi Minh City.
We got to know about a poor girl’s story in Tay Ninh by reading newspaper. She was abused by her father. Her suffering was known when her pregnancy was in its 5th month. After searching for important information, our group of four people from OBV and The Bridge To Happiness Center (Yen Thao, The Khanh, Thanh Linh and Pham Sy) was on the way to Tay Ninh directly.
We got to An Suong bus station at 8:00 A.M with breakfast of bread and soy milk. After being advised by the ticket selling service, we decided to get on a 25-seat bus. But all of us were very worried because this was our first time to be there. We didn’t know the way to go there. We were afraid of getting lost or getting off at the wrong place. But we had no way to play it now. So we just did the best, and let God do the rest.
We departed at 8:30 A.M. but there were still some untaken seats on the bus so the drivers kept the bus running around almost 30 minutes to get more customers. Sy and I were sitting on the last bench of seats so I was thinking about a picture of too many people getting on this bus.
We were like on a horse, going up and down, during 2-hour trip until we got there safely. Thank God!
We got there!
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.