Vietnam Project report 2012

Activity Report  (5th Contribution)



Thank You Letter in Vietnamese

Two Thank you letters

Again this year I visited Van Don island and Quan Lan island in Quan Ninh province. This is 220km northeast of Ha Noi near the Chinese border and beyond the famous Ha Long bay, a world heritage site.

The purposes of the visit this time was to give a study scholarship, additional books for their libraries and a schoolbag with pencil case, ruler and notebooks to children who were born HIV positive and under with difficult circumstances. These present were as had been requested.

Mr. and Ms. Ito, two Japanese nationals joined Nhat(Mr), Lam(Mr), Hai(Ms), Phoung(Ms)

in Ha Noi.  Nhat used to work for an NGO as an HIV/AIDS project manager and now works for different volunteer groups in support of relief from natural disasters like typhoons.  Lam used to work for a media company and is now a freelance reporter.

Both men were introduced to Mr. Ito by one of the NPO-LESA English instructors. All are now good friends.  Hai and Phuong, two young ladies work at NGO in Vietnam and this was the first time for them to join us. They were introduced by Nhat. All of them speak English very well and helped me as translators of Vietnamese and English. Nhat could not joined for the trip to Van Don this time due to his family business but he  prepared all present goods in Ha Noi and set up everything.

It is five-and-a-half hour drive from Hanoi to Van Don island by car. We charted a wagon for sixteen people size and drove to the island with 125 schoolbags and many books we had prepared in Hanoi. This drive was like a car chase in a movie due to Vietnamese traffic style and very hard for foreigners like us. We left Hanoi at 8:00 in the morning and got to Van Don island after 1:00 in the afternoon. The several main members of the ‘Immortal Flowers’ group hosted us to a welcome lunch. In total 68 members belong to this group now and all of them are HIV positive and have already lost their husband, wife or their children to AIDS.

After lunch we were taken to a community hall. The children were waiting for our arrival.

All members started preparation for the ceremony and a NPO-LESA poster was hung up on the Ho Chi Minh statue wall.  Hanh(Ms), the Immortal Flower group leader, called out the names of 66 of the children on a list provided by the Immortal Flower group.

After the welcome greeting, Ito gave a study scholarship and a schoolbag set along with a Lotte chocolate individually to each child. (3,600 yen per child; in buying power in this district, this is equivalent to more than 36,000 yen per child) All children sang the most famous Vietnamese children's song in chorus with Mr. Ito playing along on recorder. The name of the song is ‘The Earth is ours’.  Mr. Ito practiced this song a lot before his visit.

After this ceremony we checked in a small hotel and then all the members went to a welcome dinner.

(The total budget this time was US$7,000. The schoolbags cost 130,000 yen, the scholarship was 450,000yen and the books cost about 50,000 yen, which is equivalent to about ten times worth here.)

Due to the fifth memorial contribution year, the local authority gave us ‘Thank You Letter’.  Also ‘Immortal Flower ‘ group and ‘For  Bright Future’ group both gave us the same kind of ‘Thank You Letter’, too.  Getting thank you letters is not NPO-LESA purpose of the contribution work but I accepted them to show you how much they would like to say thank you to donors and to let me use them for collecting donation more next year. (See the ‘Thank you letters’ translated into English by Phoung, Vietnamese friend below, please)

The second day we gathered at the fisherman’s port at 7:00 in the morning. We visited Quan Lan island, where Hanh was born, and took fifty five minutes by speed boat to get there. I found that many young adults were passed away from AIDS even on this island. The population of this island is 3,000 but it is big island. This island is even poorer than Van Don island.  Thuong(MS), one of the members of ‘For Bright Future’ group on this island had a list ready of 59 children. They got together in a small yard and again Hanh called out the children's names and then Ito gave them each a study scholarship, a schoolbag with chocolate as he had done the day before. All the parents were reminded by Hanh not use their scholarship for purposes other than study.

And also I increased total number of children receiving the study scholarship this time round and to do this included some poor children who were not HIV positive. The total number of the children who got scholarship is now 125 and the list of the children is at the NPO-LESA office. I will follow up and use this list again next year.

After the welcome lunch at a member’s home we returned to Van Don island and then we went back to Ha Noi again by car.  

Thanks to all your help and cooperation we were able to achieve this scholarship donation and our goal of handing things out 'hand-to-hand.

Shinichi Ito wrote this report on Dec. 20, 2012

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Van Don, 20th, November 2012

Dear NPO – LESA,

At first, on behalf of all the people from Van Don and Quan Lan, I would like to send my greetings and express my sincere thanks to your organization for every valuable aid you have given to the children affected by HIV/AIDS here.

During the past five years, the aid funded by NPO – LESA and coordinated by Mr. SInichi Ito, has provided more than 100 children who are in the difficult situation of having parents or relatives living with HIV/AIDS with scholarships, library, and studying tools. This annual activity means a lot to the children and encourages them to overcome all difficulties to become a good student and a good child of the family.

I would also want to thank the two groups of Hoa Bat Tu from Van Don and Uoc Mo Xanh from Quan Lan for their help in linking all activities of HIV/AIDS prevention in the area and helping the children meet with NPO-LESA ‘s aid

Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks to your organization
Hope to see you back in town again every other year.


                         Representatives of Van Don’s People Committee:

Mr. Pham Trung Thanh

(Vice President)

Van Don, 20th , November, 2012


At first, on behalf of all members and children from the group of “Hoa Bat Tu” – Van Don, I would like to send my greetings and express my sincere thanks to your organization for your precious supports for the children affected by HIV/AIDS within the district of Van Don

During the last few years, we all acknowledge the growing number of children affected by HIV/AIDS all over the world. This could be considered as the biggest disadvantage and misfortune in a child’s life.

We must say, it is our great luck to receive huge support from the organization of NPO – LESA on scholarships, library, and studying tools during the past five years – under the coordination of Mr. Shinichi Ito. Thanks to Mr. Nguyen Dang Nhat and his enthusiasm, without him, the two groups of Hoa Bat Tu Van Don and Uoc Mo Xanh Quan Lan would not meet the aid from your organization.

This is not only a valuable support   on overcoming physical difficulties but also a priceless moral gift for them to overcome complex about their situation to integrate into society. In other words, your warm hearts have winged their dreams.  Resorting to your organization’s supports during the years, many children has now grown up and actively participated in the community’s activities on HIV – AIDS prevention.

We are still on our way to give these advantaged children a normal life like any other child’s, and we really hope to see your organization together with us in our brighter future.

Once again, I would like to express my sincere thanks to your organization, on behalf of Hoa Bat Tu Van Don Group.

Heart-felt thanks,

Group leader:      Bùi Mỹ Hạnh

Van Don, 18th, November, 2012

Dear NPO – LESA organization,

It’s my pleasure to express my sincere thanks to your organization on behalf of all members and children from the group of “Uoc Mo Xanh”. I would like to take this occasion to send our greetings to you and wish you all good health and happiness.

No matter how old you are, losing a parent can be one of the most difficult times in your life. The century disease of HIV-AIDS took these children’s parents away when they were still so young, and there seemed to be no light in their future.

During the past five years, more than 100 children, with the difficult situation of having parents or relatives living with HIV/AIDS, have received the supports on scholarships, library, and studying tools from NPO – LESA under the cooperation of Mr. Sinichi Ito. This precious help is a big encouragement for them in the process of overcoming their moral pain to study and become a good person despite society’s cold shoulders and prejudices.
Though Japan is known to have been through a lot of difficulties brought by natural disasters as well as bad economic weather for the past few years, still, your organization has continuously supported us with your warm hearts and boundless kindness.

Once again, on behalf of “Uoc Mo Xanh”, I would like to express my big thanks for your help and hope that we would still receive your kind support in the near future.

Sincerely thanks,

Representatives of Uoc Mo Xanh Group:         Nguyen Thi Thuong

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Trip to Vietnam, December 8-11, 2012