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.
Hastily roaming in a familiar Honda, I went to find you. Information about you was quite vague; I knew that you were in that area, on that road, but that road was too long. I had been going back and forth—I did not know how many times—to observe each house. The houses were very close together, the long alleys winding. Oh, how did I know where to find you when my strength was limited!
Actually, visiting families and searching young ladies who needed help were not my jobs, but I still wanted to go this trip. This trip was prepared well to get two things done. First, specialists took care training and had speeches at a middle school near the bottom of Sam Mountain (Chau Doc-An Giang-Vietnam). Second, two directors and I went to T's house according to K's direction.
Photo of the girl at district police station to report, I secretly photographed as it seemed she always bows her head
When I met her, her trembling fear of strangers kept my thinking that the incident just happened yesterday, but the fact was 7 months elapsed since the heartbreaking incident.
Her family was poorest in the province, maternal mother had blood cancer, skinny drudging figure, her father had congenital heart disease, traumatic seizure anytime. Source of family income is the 1967 old motorcycle, driving the customers to support the whole family, more hungry days than full-meal days.
Dad! Where are you? Mom! Where are you?
The children were neglected when their parents divorced, the mother moved to live with her new husband, and the father went missing with his mistress. Three siblings lived like homeless, not a caregiver, not a daily meal, they took care of themselves.
Every day the children went begging for food or "had a meal" at the benefactor's family, they took showers when it was raining and hugged each other in bedtime until their clothes dried. They hang on to live as such from day to day.
H. is her name, she is 7 years old, hasn't had a day at school yet, hang around her grandfather's house all day when her parents are working all day long, the whole week. Doing the labor job is not earning much. In the season, there is some work to earn some money, otherwise .....
Following an OBV volunteer in a remote province, I came visit and found out the little girl's status in the summer hot midday of the South. Walking over 1 kilometer to the destination, we had to park the car on the edge because of the narrow road. My whole body was sweating in hot humid summer day. When I just saw her, my whole body felt numb. How such heartless and barbaric man exists. He didn't even spare a very tiny girl weigh only 14 kg.
Mother Ngoc is talking with the children, new members of the OBV family
Yesterday was the past, a traumatic past.
• A little girl lived in the West of the country. After she was sexually abused by a local man and the incident was discovered and prosecuted, her whole family had been living in fear. Rocks were often thrown at the house, all bred fishes in the pond were dead after a few hours away. The family was always in watchout and ready to make emergency exit out of the house for fear of house being burned. The girl had to take leave of absence from the school because of getting beat on the way to school and intimidations.
Mr. Binh Nguyen - director of OBV Vietnam - meets with her family
The OBV family is happy to receive its newest member who has just returned to Vietnam from Cambodia
This young girl was living with her mother due to the circumstances surrounding her parents' divorce. Her mother had the idea to sell her daughter to Malaysia for unknown yet potentially dangerous purposes, so she told a lie to her mother in order to get permission to visit her biological father in Cambodia. During her visit with her father, she explained her mother's intentions.
OBV Cambodia helped bring her to the OBV Vietnam house. Since she wasn't able to speak Khmer, she wasn't able to assimilate to life in Cambodia.
During a training skill parenting workshop in Soc Trang, after knowing about the OBV missions, a woman from the Woman's Association had given our group tip about a 6 year old victim from 2 weeks ago