Recently the kids of OBV-Cambodia got a chance to catch up with an old friend, Ms. Tam, who previously had participated in our Mission Trip 2017. This year, she decided to come back and spend 2 weeks playing and teaching English to the girls. Since she was limited on time, she could only visit OBV Cambodia this trip, but hopes that she will be able to visit OBV Viet Nam next year.
Besides her English lessons, Ms. Tam also taught the kids about life. She gave each of them a small notebook. During the week, any good deed that was done by the kids was documented in their own notes. When the weekend came, whoever had the most good deeds received a small prize.
My dearest Tinh Khoi,
Since the day you left us to join Streets International so far away, we at OBV have been anticipating any update or feedback from Street International.
You email from last month shared that you were assigned as group leader to present on hygiene and food safety, a fundamental knowledge without the F&B industry. You had boldly made your presentation and answered all the questions of the other groups.
I met up with Mr. Neal recently, the founder of Streets International. He praised your English pronunciation, and while I was very happy and proud, I couldn't help but wonder if his praise was genuine or out of politeness. Immediately, I remembered our phone conversations lately, where you would use simple English sentences throughout our time together on the phone, and felt that his praise was for real.
Even so far away, you remembered your family and sisters at OBV. You would ask about Father Martino Nguyen Ba Thong, Mother Ngoc, and the other OBV staff. You were concerned to hear of Mother Ngoc's recent bout of illness, and sent your best wishes to Father Martino for his birthday, and you were happy to hear updates about one of your older sister's marriage and pregnancy.
I've always been harder on you than any of the other sisters, as I was the one who brought you home and I didn't want anyone to think that I loved you above anyone else. My hardness never made you sad, but in fact motivated you to do more.
I want you to know that we at OBV will always love you and are happy of your progress. We all expect that you will try your hardest and achieve the best results you can, to ensure that you have a chance at a bright and solid future.
Saigon February 2018.
Translated by Mr. Phung and Jacqueline Huynh. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Thư Gửi Tinh Khôi"
Her legs were covered in warts caused by Sexually Transmitted Infections, but her future was looking bright since she had friends and companions with her. They were trained to create jewelry. Strings of real pearls, that they would sell.
She lived in one of the Detention Centers in Malaysia, her legs the very proof of her former life in sex slavery. However, with your help, their futures can be bright. Pictured here are the children making pearl jewelry. They will be uploaded and sold via the OBV website soon. Thank you for being a part of their lives!
OBV VN September 29th 2017
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Những Hạt Ngọc Trai"
OBV Cambodia has just received letters of thanks and gratitude from two young Vietnamese ladies being home-schooled. They had been on scholarships from OBV for the past 3 years, and have never betrayed the love, trust and support from their benefactors. Just recently, they graduated after 2 years in college with high scores in English.
"To my dearest sponsors,
On my graduation day, I would like to say thank you for your kindness and your generous help throughout the years. I would not have today without your warm support. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your thoughtfulness and contributions through various means. I'm extremely humbled and grateful. May God bless you, always!"
On behalf of our children, we at OBV are sincerely grateful to all of our supports, in giving a hand on this rough journey against child sex trafficking, and abuse against children. The journey is not only to rescue and provide psychological counselling and/or treatment, but to also fight the illiteracy rates, one of the leading factors that result in the child being sold by their families. We hope that providing them with the means to an education will save many young girls from ever seeing the inside of a brothel in the future.
OBV News December 13th 2017
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Thành Quả Mong Chờ"
Miss T, our new director for OBV Cambodia gave intensive Vietnamese lessons to our three oldest girls in preparation for a trip to Vietnam for vocational training at Street International.
To prepare for an interview fast approaching in April, the girls learn in a practical matter by following cooking recipes written in Vietnamese, while practicing to write their own.
We are excited for the girls to start a new chapter in their lives, and wish you the very best, our lovely daughters.
January 1st, 2018
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Lớp Học Tiếng Việt Cấp Tốc"
A special session was organized by the Psychology Department of a university to have student come in monthly to train the children of OBV on general life skills. This month, the topic was the responsibility and resolution of conflicts.
The training starting with a game of Ship Shooting. The children were divided in 3 groups, each group being in charge of a ship. When shooting at another ship, the whole crew had to yell out a phrase, such as 'Aim, Fire, Boom!' along with the name of the other ship.
It started off very confusing, with the young sailors accidentally shooting at themselves, or saying their phrase in the wrong order, or calling the name of the wrong ship.
On the greeting and gratitude evening at OBV, there was a special guest.
A military veteran of Southeast Asian nations who for many years has continued to struggle with the obsessions that come from his military experiences.
He is also a friend of Ms. Huong, an OBV supporter, and he bought Huong's paintings to raise money for OBV.
On that evening, he asked to go on stage to "pass on the fire" to the OBV children through a short story - the story of the Stars.
"Today, I want to tell you a short story about Stars.
You know what Stars are, right?
Our warmest congratulations to Tinh Khoi, the first of hopefully many OBV daughters who has successfully been admitted into Street International - an organization headed by Neal F. Bermas, PhD.
The course will last 18 months, with classes including English, life skills, F&B business and/or culinary arts (trainees are able to take on either). The curriculum closely follows that of the Institute of Culinary Education - USA.
Our OBV family sends our wishes for successful studies to build a brighter future for herself and her family.
OBV News December 10th 2017
Translated by Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Chúc Mừng Tinh Khôi"
Follow the spiritutality of Father Martino Nguyen Ba Thong, the children of OBV Vietnam and Campuchia won't receive or give gifts. Instead, as an offering to Jesus on his birthday, they will do some good deeds and make sacrifices for their families, relatives, friends, and neighbours.
In this picture, the children of OBV Cambodia list down the good deeds that they will do this Christmas, and hang them on their tree. In Vietnam, the children will save a part of the December allowance to donate to the homeless on January 12th, 2018, as Father Martino has done every year for his birthday (Jan 13).
OBV News December 9th 2017
Translated by Mr. Phung and Jacqueline Huynh. The original version in Vietnamese entitled "Ý Nghĩa Mùa Giáng Sinh"
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the supporters who have helped me to be where I am now. Sometimes it's still surreal to me. I'm a 12th grader now, but it feels like a dream. Where would I be if I had not been picked up and protected by OBV?? Would i be at peace, would I be attending school?
Mother Ngoc took our children of OBV to an exhibition of lacquered artwork honoring artist Tinh Truc Gia last Saturday. The artwork was a tribute, with all of Tinh Truc Gia's student gathering to display all they had learnt from their teacher. It was beautiful and deep, and the presentation that accompanied the pieces left the children feeling hopeful and full of admiration.
On that particular day, Mother Ngoc was especially proud of little U, one of OBV's newest family members, talking very politely to the mother of one of the artists.
It was a very lively and excited weekend since birthdays of few little girls borned in July, birthday of miss P. the educator coincided with the feast of patron saint of Sister Thùy. It was also a good chance for children to show off in making jelly they just learnt recently. Some of them made jelly instead of birthday cake while other group fried chicken or made different dishes.
Diary of a Home Visit April 12, 2017
It was 3pm. After crossing 2 small bridges and following a dirt road that led deep into the rice paddies, we met the grandparents and their granddaughter. A 10 year, pregnant at 5 week. A 38 year old man had been incarcerated. The little girl and her grandmother came home to Saigon with us to stay at OBV, with big hopes and dreams for a bright future.
an old article...
- Do I have to report to mother if I am ill, Q?
- Yeah, you should.
- I have .....a personal matter.
- What is it?
- I am ... bleeding...
Little H had just reached puberty. She had been a wild child when she entered OBV two year ago. None of her family had any I.D or supporting paperwork, and so she had gone to school run by a charity organization. She excelled in all her subjects, and everybody at OBV loved her, as she was a gentle and adorable girl. However, she had tomboy traits, from her short hair to her dress code. Yet now, she was faced with a personal matter than all girls eventually will face. After all, she had just turned 13.
- It's nature. There's nothing to be ashamed of....Talk to Q, she will help you.
And from that day, 'personal matter' is the code word used for all matters pertaining to the life of a young girl entering the next stage of her life.
April 8, 2013
Translated by Tho Nguyen, Jacqueline Huynh and Mr. Phung. The original version entitled "Chuyện Riêng Tư"