A Borrowed Cow
Let’s put ourselves in Mrs. Nguyen’s place. For income, she walks the streets, sometimes in pain from spinal degeneration, to collect trash to sell. The social security system provides pain medicine for her, but it doesn’t last the entire month so she is sometimes in pain.
The love of Mrs. Nguyen’s life is her daughter, Thi. Thi is a devoted daughter and excellent student. Her mom, however, is struggling to keep Thi in school.
For more money, Mrs. Nguyen cares for, feeds and houses a borrowed cow. As her wages, she will keep the first born calf. Then she will return the cow. In this way, she feeds herself and her daughter.
Could you or I make ends meet in this way? Would we be forced to place our child in an orphanage due to the difficulties? If we think about her situation, we can at least understand how placing our child in an orphanage might be forced upon us. Would we want that to happen?
No, we wouldn’t! It’s not in Thi’s best interest to live in an orphanage, even a good one.
Orphan Voice wants Mrs. Nguyen’s daughter to grow up with her mother. To that end, we are helping the family with counselling, training, income generation assistance and encouragement. Our Building Strong Families program is an 18 month, intensive program to strengthen this family (and five others) to the point of self-sustainability.
Building Strong Families program is a program developed by an international NGO and field tested in Thailand. It works! We want to allow it to help people in Vietnam.
To temporarily help families keep their children out of orphanages and become self-sufficient, donate here. Or to read more about the Building Strong Families program, read below to learn how it works!
Building Strong Families
Orphan Voice wants to keep children out of orphanages! For those children in orphanages, their desire, although it may be covered with smiles and “right” words, is that they live with their families. No child forced to enter an orphanage because of family economic hardship wants to go. Indeed, they often go with tears. Orphan Voice wants to keep those tears from falling.
Our vision is to see every orphaned or vulnerable child become part of a loving, sustainable family that has been empowered and strengthened to the point of health.
In order to achieve this, we intend to draw upon community resources to strengthen families of orphaned and vulnerable children through holistic development training, income generation assistance, educational opportunities, psychosocial support, health care, and emotional transformation.
- healthy family relationships
- caring for orphans
- justice and reconciliation
- participatory learning
- caring for widows
- caring for vulnerable families
- family empowerment
- cultural sensitivity
- accountability and stewardship
- positive holistic development
- good leadership and management
Core Elements of Building Strong Families
Every two months, all BSF parents, guardians, and sometimes children, meet together for a special Training Day. These training days are an essential part of the BSF project to help empower families. Topics include: What is a Family; Money Management; Planning and Budgeting; Nutrition; Hygiene and Health; Valuing Children; The Role of Parents and Positive Discipline; Social Skills and Behaviour; Protecting and Enjoying the Environment.
Health and Nutrition
Poor health and nutrition can be a direct result of extreme poverty, so BSF is committed to improving the health and nutrition of all the family members in the project. All families take part in training on nutrition, hygiene, and health, and learn to become and stay healthy. A medical kit with a first aid book and training is provided to each family.
Income Generation Assistance
BSF staff begin by evaluating the existing livelihoods of a new family. Then staff work with the family to develop a business plan that considers the skills and interests of the working adults and that aims to generate more income for the welfare of the whole family over 18 months. Advice is also given on how to create a savings plan and manage any debt.
It is a BSF goal, that within 18 months, each family will become financially sustainable so they can fully support their own children and household members.
Family Fun Days
On alternate months to the Training Days, the bimonthly Family Fun Day is a time of fun and fellowship to help families build relationships with each other and with local partners, volunteers, and BSF staff. The day usually involves a special outing, games, food, a short training, and lots of time to get to know each other and build relationships.
Children in BSF families are able to receive educational scholarships through the BSF project until the families’ livelihood is well established and sustainable. This scholarship assistance may be reduced over time as the families’ income increases.
Strong families are made of strong relationships. Therefore, BSF staff take the time to make weekly home visits to each family. These are times to follow-up, mentor, support, love, encourage, and pray.
Creating Sustainable Projects
Monitoring and Evaluation
BSF staff maintain a file for each family to monitor growth and sustainability. These files may contain records such as: Family Assessment Tool results (every 6 months), BSF Family Covenant, family tree, family identification documents, health check-ups, Spiritual Beliefs form, church leader’s follow-up notes, finances/budget booklet, income generation assistance and family business plans, educational records and support, psychosocial support and counseling notes, etc. These files help BSF staff monitor and assess the progress of each family over time, and to evaluate the BSF project as a whole.
When you give to Orphan Voice’s Building Strong Families program, your gift is multiplied many times over. You are not just “giving the poor a fish to eat, you are training and equipping them how to fish.” That’s good multiplication.
To temporarily support families who want to work, provide for their children and make it on their own, donate here.