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Activité
•    Trouver des financements pour couvrir les frais de scolarité mensuels et les fournitures pour assurer que chaque enfant va à l'école, apporter le soutien de professeurs privés dans le cas de difficultés d'apprentissage

•    Rendre visite aux familles le soir et les week-ends pour établir la situation familiale et apporter un soutien moral (financier si nécessaire)

•    Assurer l’accès aux derniers traitements et soins médicaux, notamment les soins dentaires, encourager la médecine préventive

•    Se retrouver une fois par semaine pour partager des informations, des points de vue, jouer, écouter de la musique, parler d’art

•    Accompagner les familles pour surmonter la bureaucratie vietnamienne

•    Diffuser les informations les plus récentes sur les soins apportés aux personnes affectées par le sida

•    Instruire les familles sur l’hygiène, la nutrition et le mode de vie pour renforcer le système immunitaire et éviter les maladies opportunistes.

•    Ramener joie et rire dans la vie des personnes par des jeux, des fêtes, de la musique et des activités extrascolaires

•    Proposer des cours de yoga, d’anglais, d’informatique et des massages

•    Proposer des microcrédits pour les personnes désireuses de monter une petite affaire, encourager l’indépendance

•    Accompagner les familles émotionnellement et financièrement dans le cas d’un décès
Travailler sur le respect de soi-même et les projets d’avenir

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Activity Schedule for January and February 2011


Saturday, Jan 8:

Morning: 9:00 - 11:30: English class and Tutoring for 5 kids
Afternoon: 14:00 - 17h00: Painting and playing time

Sunday, Jan 9:
Morning: 8:30 - 12:00: Meeting at the zoo, outdoor activities and swimming
Afternoon: 14:00 - 17h00: Painting, singing and dance classes

Saturday, Jan 15:
Morning: 9:00 - 11:30: English class and Tutoring for 5 kids
Afternoon: 14:00 - 17h00: Painting and playing time

Sunday, Jan 16:
Morning: 9:00 - 11:30: English classes, painting class and Yoga class
Afternoon: 14:00 - 17h00: Singing and dance classes

 

BEFORE TET HOLIDAY

 

Saturday to Tuesday (22nd to 25th of Jan):

Vacation trip to Mui Ne Beach for 4 days

 

DURING TET HOLIDAY


1. Sunday, Jan 30:
Morning: 9:00 - 11:30: Celebrating for the end of the past lunar year, giving gifts to families and best wishes to each other
Having lunch altogether.

2. Saturday, Feb 5:
8:00 to 16:00
The group and some other families will be visiting a family in Long An Province (45 km far from HCM City). Traditionally, we call this activity "Xong Dat", which is one of the most important rituals during Tết. But this is just a visit for the lunar new year.

3. Sunday, Feb 6:
8:00 to 16:00
The group and some families will be taking a trip to a special village in Cu Chi District (28 km far from the city center). This is just a picnic.

4. Some other home visits to other families.

Tet holiday finishes and then usual activities

Saturated, Feb 12:
Morning: 9:00 - 11:30: English class and Tutoring for 5 kids
Afternoon: 14:00 - 17h00: Painting and playing time

Sunday , Feb 13:

Morning: 8:30 - 12:00: Meeting at the zoo, outdoor activities and swimming
Afternoon: 14:00 - 17h00: Painting, singing and dance classes

 

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UPDATE ON JULY 26

Dear Friends of SMILE,

 

SMILE GROUP, all 70 of us, just spent four blissful days of vacation by the sea, swimming in the ocean, making kites out of local bamboo and old newspapers, sand castles, barbecuing fresh fish, learning about each other, and as always lots of love and sharing. The natural beauty of the site and the exuberance of the children and families drove me to shoot 847 pictures! 847 happy faces that were all lost when my professional NIKON camera was stolen at the train station upon our return to the city. So, unfortunately, we won't be able to share our trip with you. However, we have collected a couple of other pictures from other cameras.

In any case, we want to thank all of you that made it possible for us to offer the children and their families moments they will certainly remember, moments that will build their character and perhaps bring just one more ray of light into their lives.

The Trip:

We go to a place called Mui Ne, an old fishing village, where the beaches are long and wide, and most of all - TOTALLY empty!

The fishing boats anchor here in the summer when the sea is calm.


As usual, the day begins with Yoga Class taught by Elisabeth. Meanwhile the adults are preparing a fresh breakfast for 70 back in the kitchen.
Something funny happens when kids are happy. They behave incredibly well.


We never have to tell the kids twice to put on their swim suits and go to the sea.


For some, including the adults, this is their first time on a train, first time to the sea, a lot of firsts...



Why buy expensive rafts when you can just blow up a couple of balloons.
Family picture - sad to leave, looking forward to next year.


And for those of you who never had kids like me and lack affection - rent one!  They're scrumptious.

LOVE TO ALL,
ELISABETH, PHUONG, LESLIE AND DUOC

PS: Wish we could show you all the beautiful kites we made and flew, the castles we made in the sand, ....but as the Buddhists say - if you don't own anything, you've got nothing to steal!
*******************************************************************************************************************************

UPDATE ON JUNE 6, 2010


Dear Friends of SMILE,
Taking pictures of kids is so easy - choosing only 10 is what's hard. So I'll try to limit myself to themes.
Today's theme that jumped out at me was the friendship and affection between people in the group. Many of these families have been ostracized from their communities, children excluded from school, their businesses boycotted - because of AIDS. SMILE Group is a place where they are free of stigma and share affection and joy with each other with or without AIDS, as they should.
Today was our monthly meeting in the park. A strong sense of trust and friendship has formed between many of the children.
























Hen gap lai,

SMILE GROUP VN


******************************************************************

HAPPY CHIILDREN'S DAY 2010


CHÂN THÀNH CẢM ƠN SỰ ĐÓNG GÓP, GIÚP ĐỠ
Many thanks to the gererous donations of time and gifts

CỦA HỘI TỪ THIỆN TRÁI TIM VÀNG, NHÓM BÁC ÁI TRONG YÊU THƯƠNG,
from Trai Tim Vang Fund and the group of Bac Ai Trong Yeu Thuong

QUÝ ÂN NHÂN THÂN HỮU, TÌNH NGUYỆN VIÊN
Our Sponsors and Friends, and Volunteers

ĐÃ GIÚP ĐỠ NHÓM NỤ CƯỜI ĐEM LẠI MỘT ĐÊM ĐẦY Ý NGHĨA
helping Smile Group make a meaningful evening

CHO TRẺ EM NHÂN DỊP 1-6
for the children on June 1st


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SMILE GROUP AT THE SUOI TIEN THEME PARK

Dear Friends of SMILE GROUP,
Today, Anh Tong offered the SMILE Group another fun filled day at the SUOI TIEN Amusement Park. Moments the children will remember for the rest of their lives!
As President Obama writes referring to his daughter Sasha:
I suspect that the happiness she felt (at that moment) registers permanently in her; that such moments accumulate and embed themselves in a child’s character and become part of their soul.”

It's easy for many of us to forget the daily hardships and cruelty of these families lives. A day like today helps us ALL to forget if just for a day. We all want to thank Anh Tong for offering us these moments of happiness.












Next week we celebrate children's day! More joy-filled moments yet to come.
SMILE GROUP VIETNAM

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UPDATE ON MAY 09, 2010



If you accept the theory  "shit happens", then today was just another joyful day with SMILE GROUP.
Meeting in the park early in the morning. By 9AM the temperature was already hovering close to 100°. No breeze and a lot of humidity. UGHHHHHH!

A couple of  notable "firsts";


Vy actually remembered for the first time to wear her new glasses! (without them she can't see)


The grandmothers got down into the action!


And had a lot of fun.


Minh Phuong carried Quang over the finish line - blatantly cheating!


While Elisabeth desperately tries to keep up with a partner who was headed the wrong way!


Ba Dau (left) who can usually be found hitting her grandchildren over the head with a hammer (gently), has a good laugh.


Tuyen, even blindfolded, triumphs, as usual.


While Ba Sau, for once, uses a handkerchief over her eyes for something other than crying over her wayward children (for good reason).


Trân contemplates her future as a biker from the sidelines:


and Lex, wonderful Lex gets everyone reaching for the sky.



Then the shit hit the fan. One of our new boys who is HIV+, fell during the games in the park - and split his lip open. With blood gushing everywhere, several adults came to his aid, unfortunately, no one was wearing gloves. Something we all have to work on doing better the next time. After a trip to the emergency room and a couple of stitches, Phuoc was back on the playing field.



After lunch, Ma Tam, the "Aids Lady", does a workshop on AIDS prevention with the children.



Delirous from the heat, we all headed to the closest swimming pool.




Accompanied by Jean-Jacques, our friend from France, who has come to pitch in.


Nhan wants to tell everyone that she's happy at her new school!


And Truc, just keeps getting prettier!  As does her twin sister! Here comes trouble.



LOVE TO ALL, Leslie, Minh-Phuong, Elisabeth

UPDATE ON APRIL 18, 2010

Dear Friends of SMILE,

This past Sunday, we practiced Yoga, studied english, worked on the computers, sang and played music, but perhaps what struck me most today was the deep love between mothers and children in the face of adversity.

Yoga with Lex (left) Duoc and Khanh, the new boy (with a haircut!)




Nhan and her mother Trang (who recently lost her husband and Nhan's father) Both have AIDS. They seem to keep each other alive. (along with some effective medication)





The new boy Khanh recently moved into a group home because he and his mother were living in the streets. (Both have AIDS) His mother came to the meeting on Sunday, and they were reunited for the first time since he left. The joy of seeing one another was striking. These pictures don't nearly capture the reality.




Minh Phuong in deep discussion with Khanh.


*********************************************************

Our friends over at Smile Group, who we’ve worked with on a few of stories dealing with poverty and HIV in Vietnam, sent us another update on what they’ve been up to. In addition to moving two HIV-affected families into better homes in the past two weeks, they’ve also had time for education, awareness and some good old fun.

The first Sunday of each month, Smile Group meets in the park. Above, Tran takes her anti-retroviral medicine with considerably less complaining than usual–so she can get it over with and on to the games.

“We’re getting much more sophisticated with our sports teams. Colored jerseys for each team.” — Leslie Wiener.

Back to the office for lunch and a workshop on healthy food and taking medications correctly with pediatrician and AIDS specialist Dr. Tien. Dr. Tien also does a few on-the-spot consultations.

English class for the younger kids taught by Kim, Smile Group’s intern from the United States.

This past Smile Sunday, Smile Group also welcomed a new face: Khanh. Khanh was born with AIDS and is living in a very unhealthy, unstable environment. Before his first day with Smile Group, Khanh had never held a pen or pencil in his hand. Here, it looks like he’s got lots of helping hands.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Smile Group or making a donation, check out their website.

Contributed by Tom DiChristopher