From the Desk of the Board Chair

Dear Members and Friends,

As we move forward to the new year 2010, 2009 had shown us that we can support each other and our communities by remembering our core mission: to provide information, resources, and enlightenment to our members at large. There have been a multitude of challenges; but through it all VA-NGO Network has continued to grow and thrive.

Successful Capacity Building Workshops in 2009 trained 468 educators and volunteers from 12 VA-NGOs and 22 agencies in 8 provinces, and one Regional Meeting in Orange county focused on Human Trafficking last September.

The year 2009 noted the passion, resiliency and capabilities of dedicated volunteers to ensure that VA NGO Network adapt and evolve its strategies and organization not only to meet the challenges, but also to grow faster, meeting the needs of our members, and through our members, serve the people in Vietnam.

As a result, I am pleased to announce a number of additions and changes in these areas of the VA NGO Network: Organizing inter-group collaboration in different states, initiating new programs, and improving communication with member organizations.

  • We wish to extend our appreciation to the following outgoing board members for their commitment to the Network: Greig Craft of Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, Caroline Ticarro-Parker of Catalyst Foundation, and Uyen Nguyen of Friends of Hue Foundation.
  • We gladly welcome long time friends of the network, Xuan Thanh Nguyen, former Executive Director of Women’s Environment & Development Organization, and Advisor of Pacific Links Foundation, and Michael Kane, co-Founder of Plug In America and Our 1 World to the VA NGO Network’s Advisory Board.
  • Son Michael Pham, Founder and Director of Kids Without Borders, has joined the Board of Directors, and will head the Fundraising Committee to support both short and long term development needs.
  • Thu Le Doan, co-Founder of Center for the Encouragement of Self Reliance and Vietnamese American Scholarship Fund and Cathy Lam, co-Founder of Our 1 World, will serve on the Membership Committee. This dynamic team believes in the strength of our members, and will help bring many collaborations to fruition and ensure that the Network accomplish its mission for members.
  • Anh Kim Tran, co-Founder & Chair of Pacific Links Foundation, has volunteered to take charge of the Program Committee and oversees the continued development of the Network’s Capacity Building Workshop and Human Trafficking Training. The Program team including Anh Kim Tran, Binh Rybacki, Quynh Kieu, Truong Nong, Vi Tuong Nguyen and Ngoc Nguyen will be busy in 2010 with the launch of the Network’s Health Education Initiative.
  • Truong Nong, Chairperson of the Institute for Civic Education in Vietnam and Board Member of the VA NGO Network, has been nominated as Editor of the VA NGO Network’s Newsletter to be launched monthly in 2010.
  • Vi Tuong Nguyen, currently Board Member of the VA NGO Network, will step up to the function of Operations Director. Vi brings in her grassroot nonprofit management experience from the Aid to Children Without Parents to develop a volunteer team and to build an efficient virtual infrastructure for a 21st century Network.

Please get involved – help us celebrate your achievements and shine a bright light on the excellent work we do together.

With best wishes of success to member organizations, and calling on every member individual contribution in fulfillment of our mission of service to the needy.

Quynh Kieu, MD Chairperson, VA NGO Network

Regional Meeting & CBW in Houston, Texas – January 2010

A total of 48 members and guests from 11 VA-NGOs attended the Regional Meeting and Capacity Building Workshop at the Stafford Primary School, Stafford, Texas on Saturday January 16, 2010. The participants actively contributed to the workshop process, content and outcomes. Mr. Truong Nong of ICEVN opened the meeting by thanking the sponsors of the event. A quick introduction of each staff/volunteers wassmade so that participants know whom to contact for any specific information and also they can meet the faces behind emails.

The capacity Building Workshop Social Intelligence and the Principles of Leadership presented by Dr. John Nguyen, Founder and Principle Partner of Lighthouse Leadership, faculty of Institute for Civic Education in Vietnam (ICEVN) was well received. The presenters for the first session were Anh Tran and Tuong-vi Nguyen (VA-NGO),Tuan Dao (Sunflower Mission), Rick Levine (Project VN). The last two interactive sessions on children health and health education were led by Ms. Anh Lan Nguyen (VSCA) and Mr. Son Michael Pham (Kids Without Borders). Ms. Thien-Nhien Luong (Friends of Hue Foundation) from San Jose, CA and Ms. Binh Rybacki (Children of Peace International) from Loveland, CO participated in the session on health education via conference call and provided participants with common ground on health education.

During the lively discussion that ensued, several issues were raised, such as Communication of VANGO successes and lessons learned, Inclusiveness: local people are critical for successful implementation, and Targeting: what are the approaches and tools used. The goals of the meeting were to identify common threads for the collaboration of joint projects on Health Education, and ways to improve overall children well being in VN. Fundamental outlines of the collaborative approach on Health Education have taken shape with more than seven organizations committed as initial key partners. The first set of activities would begin immediately in the Spring of 2010.

In a warm cozy setting of the reception room at VSCA Center, workshop participants and guests gathered to enjoy the wonderful entertainment from the Tóc Mây Dance Group of VSCA before socializing over food and drinks. The reception was a useful forum for exchanging information and networking. Dr. Quynh Kieu shared several key messages at the end of the reception, including: the power of partnership and the importance of networking to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our programs in Vietnam.

We would like to thank Ms. Vu Kim Yen, Principal of Stafford Primary School, VP of VCSA and ICEVN for providing the venue for the Regional meeting and breakfast, Ms. Elena Tran (Sunflower Mission) for dinner for the reception. The event also marked yet another GREEN event with our in-house Sustainalibilty advisor Cathy Lam proposing efforts to reduce waste.

CBW and Human Trafficking Program Report, 2009

From March to July 2009, VANGO Network provided four successful Capacity Building Workshops (CBW) Seeds of Change: In the Interest of the Child – Hạt Giống mới: Vì Quyền lợi của Trẻ em in Huế, Hà Nội and Gò Vấp. Over the course of the two-day workshop at each site, several central themes emerged from the presentations and discussions, with 468 teachers, childcare providers, educators and staff/volunteers of VANGOs in attendance representing 14 VA-NGOs and 29 different institutions/agencies from Thái Nguyên, Hà Nội, Huế, Quảng Trị, Quảng Bình, Quảng Nam, Sài Gòn, Vĩnh Long, An Giang.

The following topics were presented: Learning through Play; Children Character Education; Effective Communication; Understanding Children Temperament, Setting Limits: How to make children feel good about themselves; Clinical Social Work with Children and Youth, Nutrition for Healthy Living, and Language and Literacy Development.

VANGO Network Human Trafficking Prevention: Thanks to Professor Nguyễn Thị Oanh who was instrumental in designing the Social Work Training course and recruited presenters for VANGO Network in June-July 2009, 18 staff/volunteers from organizations receiving the HT fund from VANGO Network – AmerAsian Voice, Catalyst Foundation, The Compassion Flower, and Children of Peace International attended the Social Work training at The Hội Quán Đến Với Nhau in Bình Quới, HCM Ciy.

The training course covered the following topics: Sharing of Perception on Human Trafficking Problems and Victims; Introduction to Social Work – Basic Principles and Methods: Worker/Client Relationship, Ethical Values, Confidentiality; Principles and Methods Psychological Counseling; Rehabilitation and Reintegration; and Women Health and Self-Esteem.

We deeply appreciate Hồ Thị Hạnh, Trần Khánh Tuyết, Trần Công Bình, Nguyễn Bích Ngọc and Trần Ái Mỹ for their enthusiastic contribution and guidance into the Social work training in March and June 2009.

We also thank the CBW Program Team and their incredible volunteers- Ngô Thanh Giang, Nguyễn Thị Kinh, Nguyễn Tri Như Quỳnh, Huỳnh Như An, Huỳnh Phước Em, Võ Linh Tiên, Nguyễn Tiểu Hải, Nguyễn Thanh Tùng, Lâm Ánh Nguyệt, Nguyễn Minh Thi, Nguyễn Minh Phương, Văn Hoa Biển Phước, Phan Ngọc Dương and Nguyễn Mỹ Tiên from DC, San Diego, Oakland, Huế, Sài Gòn, Hà Nội, and An Giang for their dedicated work and tireless efforts for the CBW in Việt Nam.

Upcoming Events

  • Vietnamese American Arts & Letters Association Exhibition: Hội Tụ / Converge. Jan 30 – Feb 4, 2010, Westminster (California). www.vaala.org.
  • Kids Without Borders at ‘Tet In Seattle: Feb 6-7, 2010, Seattle (Washington). www.tetinseattle.org, www.kidswithnoborders.org.
  • Friends of Hue Charity Gala Celebrating 10 years of FHF: Feb 7, 2010, San Jose (California). www.friendsofhue.org.
  • Project Vietnam Foundation Medical Mission: Feb 27 – Mar 14, 2010, Viet Nam. www.pvnf.org.

Opportunities for VA-NGO members:

  • Disaster management for school teachers, child care givers, staff of facilities caring for children: 1 day workshop in Da Nang on March 3, 2010; $30 registration fee includes lunch.
  • Pediatric Disaster Training course March 4-7, 2010 at Da Nang General Hospital: members can sponsor up to 5 doctors for the conference (sponsorship fee of $500 includes transportation, accommodations and training course registration-lunches provided). To register, please email the Volunteer office projectvietnam@gmail.com.
  • Children of Peace International Spring Medical Mission: Mar 11-27, 2010, Phu Tho, Sapa, Saigon. www.childrenofpeace.org.
  • Our1World’s Spring “Sustainability of food and the Environment for Healthy Living”: Mar 11 – April 3, 2010, Hue; April 5 and 9, 2010, Saigon and An Giang www.our1world.org.
  • AmerAsian Voice Human Trafficking Workshop: March 15-17, 2010, Hue (Viet Nam). Contact amerasianvoice@gmail.com.
  • VA-NGO Human Trafficking Workshop: March 29-31, 2010, Hue (Viet Nam). Contact: info(at)va-ngo.org.
  • VA-NGO Capacity Building Workshop: April 2-3, 2010, Hue ; April 5-6, 2010, Saigon. Contact: info@vango.org.
  • Pacific Links Foundation Early Childhood Care Education Spring Training: March 31 – April 1, 2010, Hue (Viet Nam); www.pacificlinks.org.
  • Welcoming Operation Reunite returning to Viet Nam: April 3, 2010, Saigon. For more information, contact smp@kidswithnoborders.org.
  • Pacific Links Foundation Early Childhood Care Education Spring Training: April 8-9, 2010, An Giang (Viet Nam). www.pacificlinks.org.
  • Len Duong Camp 2010 by the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association (VCSA): May 28, 2010, Huntsville, TX. www.lenduongcamp.org