CAMPAIGN AGAINST  CHILD SEX EXPLOITATION AND TRAFFICKING

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016 04:00

The Journey to find a Lost Child

It took a lot of work and time to be able to bring a certain child home to OBV, because once the media released the details of her horrific story, the donations come pouring in, and suddenly the child was used as a source of income for her family. At the time, the local authorities as well as representives from the the Women's Association came to help us talk with the family, and eventually, the family reluctantly let her go. She was 6 years old at 15kg. She couldn't speak. She was clearly depressed. She was mentally delayed. She stepped into our house for the first time with curious and scared eyes
 
After two years, with the endless love and support from endless number of people, she knows how to speak. She smiles. She's starting to write. She knows the basic chores around the house. She's polite and she engages with people around her.....and then we let her go home to visit her elderly grandparents for Tet, where they decided to keep her. Her grandmother sprouted out many reasons, from 'she wants to stay here', to 'she needs to stay here to look after her 5 year old sister', and many other excuses to stop her coming with us.

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She, at the age of puberty, lives in a remote area near the border.

Her father died when she was just a couple of month old. She lives with her mother and her sister since then. One day, a strange woman came to her village and planned out a very bright dreamy future to her family that she can go with her to work abroad in another country. This job seems to be satisfying because it is light work and can bring her family lots of money. Then, she fell into the trap of human smugglers. They took her across the border and sold her to others. And her life of sex slavery began.  

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Undergoing the dark days of life, she managed to contact her family for urgent help; and eventually the police recued her. Thanks to the great assistance from collaborators and local police, OBV can contact her. She is still scared that these human traffickers might find out her, so she hasn’t shown her face yet. However, we have promised to be with her and do all best for protecting her as well as helping her get back to her normal life. Please wait, we will come to you soon…

5/2016

OBV VN

Translated by Phuong Do. Original version in Vietnamese entitled:"Khó đó, nhưng chúng tôi vẫn tiếp tục hành trình"

Friday, 13 May 2016 00:20

It takes a village to raise a child

There is a really famous saying that 'it takes a village to raise a child'.
 
This can be seen at OBV, where our team of carers, nurses, therapists, and many others all come together to be parents to our girls.
 
Over the Tet holidays, we let the girls go home to their families (if conditions allow) so that they may still have bonds with their parents/grandparents. It was quite unfortunate that in the case of Little Miss C, her grandparents decided to keep her after Tet, and not let her come back to OBV.

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Little Miss C's story is probably the worst you'll ever hear. It's a tale of perverted depravity, that left her dying in a pool of her own blood, until her grandfather found her.
When the mother found out, she used Little Miss C's story to gain sympathy from the neighbours and other village folk, who donated money out of the kindness of their hearts. Little Miss C never saw a cent. Instead, the mother took it all for her ownn selfish needs.

After a few hard weeks of preparing for the end of year examination, our girls got to spend a weekend letting go of their stress with Jesse, an American volunteer, after 2 years of being apart.

With the stifling hot and humid Saigon weather, the girls were more than happy and enthusiastic to let Uncle Jesse take them to Dam Sen water park to cool off.

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The first lesson in my life is Love and Giving. I was born in a love filled catholic family so maybe I do not deeply understand what the kids have gone through before they stepped in the OBV house. Because when I looked back all their psychological and physical traumas I found that they have the common point is that living in families lacking the warm of love. However; to my astonishment, the kids are now gradually learning the way to give their love and their care for the others.

           

A girl fell as playing on the river bank. All of them stopped the game and gathered to console the weeping girl. One of them put the hand to cover her eyes so she could not see the grazed knee that was cleaning by Ms. Ha (our child care staff)

Everyone has his home to come back. And at least one period of life is worth recollecting; that’s childhood. The childhood of every child should be the time living without worry or illness, with only happiness beside their family, friends and others. However, there have recently come more and more cases of child sexual abuse that mainly involve children from 2 to 14 years old in their schools; for example, 23 children in Lao Cai primary school, 3 children in Sapa primary school, 3 children in Lam Dong and others unknown cases that haven’t been invoked in newspapers.    

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Thursday, 28 April 2016 01:55

Feelings from a very special guest

The first moment to make acquaintance with the girls in OBV Cambodia:

A wonderful and colorful sweet soup shop with various kinds of desserts, many choices but only Cambodian palm sweet soup did attract most of them.

Some exciting game competition and the innocence of the kids shown when they played by the bank of the Mekong river.

A quiet and peace moment at the end of the day for the night prayer to thank God and thank each other with the participant of the “four legs member of family”-a loving dog MiMi as well.

May such bright smiles always blossom on their lips and may such blissful moments of peace be bestowed upon their lives forever and ever.

  

 

Peter Duy Nguyen

OBV Cambodia

April 2016

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00

Updates on our granddaughter

It's been 10 days since we first started caring for Baby, and there have been some minor troubles as there are 'misunderstandings' between Baby and the family, due to communicaton barriers, or perhaps because we are not yet familiar with all her habits.

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And so, a schedule has been set up for Baby, with details on when she will cry, when she will be off looking for something to do, and so on. These first 10 days, the entire household has been following Baby's schedule, but slowly we will make sure Baby follows the house schedule. Overall, it's not to difficult. Back at her home, she was left on her own anyway, ignored and without anyone caring for her, so having to integrate her 'independence' with a set schedule hasn't been hard, minus the hours where she becomes fussy.

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Baby weighed in at 11kg on her first day....10 days later, she has gained 1 kg, with a clean bill of health. 
 
We love our little Baby, and every now and then she says the cutest things, with other times saying equally heartbreaking sentences, such as 'Mama T has left me'. Just imagine, a child barely 3 years old with neither of her parents, how heartbroken it must be to hear her say those words. 
 
Even though feeding and raising Baby takes a lot of time and effort....even though her cries sometimes disrupt the rest of the house and she has to stay in Grandmother N's room to ensure the other girls can study...it's a battle the whole family accepts to take on.

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Because love means to overlook every other obstacle!!!
 
22/4/2016
 
OBV VN
 
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh. Original version in Vietnamese entitled:"TÌNH HÌNH CHÁU NGOẠI"
Monday, 25 April 2016 00:54

A granddaughter

As previously reported, OBV has just welcomed home a baby girl of almost 3 years old, without much difficult since she has her aunt (a survivor who has been with OBV for the last 6 years).

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We can only pray and hope that one day our doors will permanently close, because we've managed to abolish child sex abuse, but this is almost a heartbreaking unrealistic goal. As more and more cases come to light, OBV cannot simply close our eyes, our arms, our hearts and not take any action to it....
 
After going through all the required paperwork and procedures to take on this baby, her young mother bravely wiped her tears as she said goodbye to her child, and boarded a bus, not daring to look back a final time. I could feel her pain, knowing she only wanted peace and a safe environment from her child, and not have to carry her all day, every day, while running and hiding from the child's 'Grandfather'. In the dead of that very same night, we received a call from the young mother begging for help and immediately jumped in a car to trek 70km to help her in any way we could.
 
We encouraged her to leave that house (the grandfather's house) immediately, and to find a safer location where should could start over, and slowly rebuild her life. We told her whenever she was strong enough, and felt she was confident enough in safe conditions, she could come and be reunited with her child.
 
At the moment, our youngest child is adjusting well, and we will send her to school soon. She calls Mother N 'grandmother', which is only fitting, since her aunt, Miss T, is also one of OBV's children. From here on, a lot of time will have to be dedicated to the baby, to look after her and soothe her when she cries. Her first night at the house, she stayed up late. It was already 11pm and yet she insisted her aunt take her to Mother N's room to see if 'Grandmother' was asleep. Adorable!
After school, the other children of OBV crowd around their newst sister and ooh and aah over her. There are so many sisters, that Baby is never alone, and each sister fights to have a minute to hold the baby.
Our baby can eat by herself, and after every meal, copies her older sisters by packing up the chairs, cleaning tables and folding napkins. 
 
Mother N and Miss T (Baby's aunt) are her primary caretakers, bathing her and helping her settle in. But, being a child, there is a still a communication barrier, and sometimes when she is misunderstood, our baby will 'swear', repeating words she had picked up in her previous environment.
Her aunt also needs to study, which is difficult with Baby insisting on playing at all hours, but luckily, she is also just as easily entertained with her new grandmother.

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OBV house has a 'granddaughter' now....but should we be happy, or sad? Will our house eventually see anyone even younger than she?
 
OBV VN
 
15/4/2016
 
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh. Original version in Vietnamese entitled:"ĐỨA CHÁU NGOẠI"
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