In late 2011, Fr Linh told his story of leaving Vietnam to the Year 6 children at st Therese School. Consequently, the Year 6 Outreach Group approached Fr Linh about the possibility of making some connections in Vietnam, as part of their participation in their Studies of Asia.
In 2013, Fr Linh and the then Principal Pauline Audley, visited Vietnam to explore some options and the decision was made to support the Sisters of the Divine Providence Order in Kon Tum, who care for and encourage approximately 400 children in the pursuit of education, so that they may be better able to make a link with Catholic values as they grow.
REACH Vietnam 2017 .
During the July school holidays a group of parents and past students from St Therese School, together with a couple of teachers and a member of Catholic Education Melbournem(CEM) visited Kon Tum and were delighted to see how well ourprogram is developing and have come back with lots of new ideas. A report of the visit with some photos appeared in the St Therese School Newsletter.
Our REACH Vietnam project will soon enter its fifth year. Reports from some of our folk who recently visited the girls in Kon Tum indicate that the program is going very well. Sr Simone who replaced Sr Phuong last year is totally committed to the program and the girls. Our contribution feeds fifty girls, plus now also funds extra curricular tutoring in English and Maths which has markedly improved the girls’ school results. As well, the girls are all growing emotionally. One indicator of the success is that this year five girls will move on to tertiary education and next year potentially seven will do so. However, we have become aware that some girls are precluded from either finishing high school as their families are unable to meet the financial requirements that grow towards the end of high school and likewise, some girls cannot move on to tertiary education. Some of these costs have been covered, but the decision has been made that we, as a parish, shall try to increase our contribution to cover these additional costs. Putting this into perspective, the amounts are quite small by Australian standards, totalling perhaps a couple of thousand dollars per year, on top of our current contribution of around $16,000. Given our plan to continue this project foreseeably, we are enabling, via education, parts of an ethnic minority community to move out of the cycle of poverty over a generation or so. We are using our gifts for the good of others, and at the same time gaining an understanding of their culture, thus enriching our own lives – isn’t this the gospel message in action?
Achieving this is, of course, totally based on your ongoing generosity and support.