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Published: September 3rd 2013
Scholarship students at Da Nang Beach
For many it was the first time to visit the beach
The Lifestart Foundation believes that every child should have the opportunity to complete an education and for over ten years has been actively assisting students in Hoi An and its surrounding regions. Scholarships are available to children who are at risk of not being able to continue with their education because of financial difficulties. Scholarships include the provision of school fees, extra classes, books, stationery, uniforms and transport where needed.
In 2010, a Seven Year Educational Scholarship program was launched to give exceptionally bright but extremely disadvantaged children with limited financial resources the chance to fulfill their dream of completing an education. The provision of scholarships fund the completion of education for children from Year 6 to Year 12. Further sponsorship is sought by the organisation at the completion of Year 12 for children to attend university. Sponsorship for university attendance can be provided in the form of either business or private support. Our aim is to break the cycle of poverty through access to education. All students are monitored regularly to ensure that academic achievement and dedication to study is maintained. Direct student sponsorship is a positive way to ensure that a child will receive ongoing support for their
Having Fun at the Arcade
Each child was given 10 tokens that cost 10 cents each. It was amazing how long they could make them last!
education. When you take up sponsorship for one of our children donors receive a regular update on the progress of each student together with an annual personalised letter and current photo.
The students that receive a Lifestart Foundation Education Scholarship come from the poorest of families. They live in a single small room that houses the entire family with little or no furniture. Many of these families only eat two very simple meals each day consisting of of rice, fish sauce and sometimes vegetables. The average household income is often less than $1 per day ( that's not per person but per household!). All of the students help their parents by doing a minimum of one - two hours per day of housework, this includes cooking, cleaning and washing clothes by hand. All of the students happily study for between 2- 5 hours per day. There is no opportunity for recreational activities and games that we would consider normal for children of this age. These children are happy to be able to be able to help their parents and do so without complaint and consider the opportunity to study for so many hours a great joy.
Trip to the Bookstore
Most of the children had never been to a big book store and could have quite happily spent hours there
year Lifestart Foundation treats these special children to a fun day out in Danang. A day that lasts in their memory for years to come.
Lifestart Foundation is very fortunate to have Alana from Canada working with us for six months. Alana is on an internship through the Canadian International Development Agency after completing her postgraduate in International Project Management. Her role with Lifestart Foundation is Social Media Development Officer.
I have asked Alana to be our guest blogger and to write of her experience with us on our most recent day out to Danang with our Education Scholarship students, volunteers and staff. Here is Alana's blog.
"On Sunday, August 25th
, 38 Lifestart Foundation Education Scholarship Students
and 9 volunteers traveled to Da Nang for a day trip to experience the joys of the city. For many, this trip was filled with many first experiences: the first time riding in a large bus, to a busy city, and to many of the locations the trip included. As the students and volunteers shuffled onto the bus that morning, excitement and laughter filled the vehicle. 5 senior students graciously acted as group leaders, each ensuring that their assigned
group was always accounted for and smiling! The bus ride to Da Nang flew by as songs were sung, jokes were told, and presents given. Each student received a gift bag, which included school supplies, backpacks and books specially catered to the student’s strengths and interests.
In no time at all, the bus arrived at the Big C, where the general manager of the movie theater greeted the group right off the bus. Students and volunteers were then escorted up the escalators (yet another first!) and to the theater, where each were given a ticket, drink, popcorn and pair of 3D glasses! The movie – Monsters University – began to the excitement of many. Many of the volunteers gained the new experience of deciphering a film based on the images alone, as the entire film was dubbed in Vietnamese, with no English subtitles! The student’s laughter proved to be very contagious, and soon all movie-goers were giggling at the antics of the characters on screen.
Following the film, the group traveled to an arcade, where each student was given their own tokens. It was often hard to decipher who was having more fun, the students or the volunteers!
LSF Volunteers Take Part!
Thank you to all of our Lifestart Foundation volunteers for making the day so much fun
A mechanical bull proved quite the feat for many, while others played basketball or driving games. Regardless the game, the entire group left the arcade smiling as they ventured to the next stop – a bookstore!
Gracious donations allowed Lifestart Foundation to provide each student with a budget to purchase books and other supplies at the bookstore – and what a selection there was! While books in many western countries can often cost upwards of $15 dollars, good quality books are far less expensive and often twice as rewarding in this area. Every student was able to purchase multiple books and a pen or notebook for as little as 50,000 VND (approximately $2.50). Students arrived at the cash register with high-level, educational books (quite a few Vietnamese-English dictionaries were seen as well!), and had already started to read them as the bus made its way to the beach.
While there are 2 beautiful beaches in the Hoi An area, this visit to the beach was the first time that many of these students had seen the ocean. And what a beautiful beach it was! While volunteers Ish and Andrew had brought along items and ideas for games, the
first hour was primarily spent in the water. At first, trepidation left many dipping toes in, rolling up pants and testing the water up to their ankles. Soon enough, however, Lifestart Foundation volunteers
Casey, Courtney and Alana had “fallen” into the water, fully clothed! With that, almost all students began to venture further into the water, some diving, some splashing, but all very, very wet. Luckily, the sun was hot and perfect for drying clothes before going home!
Before hopping on the bus, the whole group played some great beach games, including sack races and ‘tunnel ball’. Competitive sides came out, and some rules were bent but all finished the game laughing! The bus ride back to Hoi An was different than the early morning adventure out of the town. Rather than singing, many students quietly read, and others slowly dozed off – the excitement of the day catching up to them. Any clothes that dried off on the beach were destined to be wet again once exiting the bus into the rainy day in Hoi An. As parents arrived on motorbikes with extra rain ponchos, the students thanked each volunteer, and their appreciation shown through their bright, beaming
More photos can be found on the Lifestart Foundation Facebook page
, Twitter account
and Instagram feed.
This day, which may seem like a simple Sunday to many of us, provided excitement and stories for these students for many years to come. It could not have happened without the generous donations of many, and we would like to thank you all for your support! Thank you to Megastar Cinemas in Da Nang, for the wonderful discount on tickets and donation of snacks and drinks for all of the students!
The Lifestart Foundation scholarship program offers life-changing opportunities for bright students from disadvantaged families. The 7 year scholarships provide funding for education, books, uniforms and other necessities from Year 6 to Year 12. This education is life-changing for students which would otherwise be unable to attend, and can lead to university and careers which ensure that they are able to live above the poverty line and support their families.
If you would like to find out more about our past scholarship recipients, and how you can help to change a child’s life, please visit: http://www.lifestartfoundation.org.au/donate/educational-scholarships/
Please have a look at our Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram
Saying goodbye at the end of the day
All of the students received a bag of goodies from generous supporters who had donated through out the year
feed for more regular updates from Alana during her assignment with Lifestart Foundation in Hoi An.
Thank you again to the generous sponsors who made this day out to Danang possible. I hope that the photos and the blog convey what a truly amazing day it was for everyone. Thank you to everyone who has donated school supplies and goodies during the year as these were divided up fairly and distributed to each of the children on this day.
Thank you to our fantastic team of volunteers Alana, Courtney, Casey, Andrew, Ish, Robbie and Al for helping look after the children and a special thank you to Phuong, our Education Scholarship Project Administrator for organizing the days program. Lots of Love from Karen www.lifestartfoundation.org.au
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