2019 Newsletter

Dear friends of Mai Nha

2019 has been yet another great year for Mai Nha with lots of progress in the various areas Mai Nha is active.

16 children of Mai Nha

The children

The 16 children growing up at the Mai Nha Family Homes are all doing very well. They are growing up as a true family surrounded by lots of love and high-quality caring from the staff taking care of them on a daily basis.

On a picnic

Many activities are being organized for the children in order to stimulate their creativity and social skills and make sure they receive optimal support in their school related tasks including English speaking and understanding skills.

Art class

The child psychology and psychiatry team, comprised of four highly experienced and motivated professionals, based in Saigon, is doing an outstanding job focusing on each child individually and taking whatever initiatives needed to ensure they grow up in optimal condition.

Their involvement ranges from weekly calls to the local team for a comprehensive debrief of the week regarding each of the children ; monthly on-site visits by the head psychologist Hoa and her assistant “Little Lan” who, on top of her monthly visits, has spent 2 months full time at Mai Nha last summer in order to engage the children in all kinds of games and other educational exercises together with the local team of nannies. And by doing this, Little Lan is providing hands-on training to the nannies which is crucial as the children are getting older. And, last but not least, the team has started to proactively think about the most optimal organization and required skill sets locally so the team is ready as the children are entering their teenage years.

From the left side: Han – Mai Nha supervisor, Hoa – Mai Nha head psychologist and Dr. Minh – Mai Nha’s child Psychiatrist

Also, Pauline Fitau and I, as the senior management of Mai Nha Family Homes, are extremely pleased by the fact that Dr Minh, Mai Nha’s child psychiatrist who supervises all psychological support to the children, has agreed to sit on the Mai Nha Advisory Board and, as such, play a long term support role to all 16 children well beyond their age of 18.

The school results of all children are very satisfactory. Several children receive dedicated homework support at Mai Nha from a teacher eager to ensure all children attend school in optimal conditions.

Binh and Phuc

The staff

Pauline and I continue to be very impressed by Mai Nha’s local team: their professionalism and “joie de vivre”, their willingness to learn and grow in their role, their long term commitment to Mai Nha and their love for the children are directly impacting the quality of the caring they provide to the 16 children. More than ever are we convinced that the quality of the local team through their day to day presence, loving attitude and involvement are of paramount importance to the long term well-being of the children.

Mai Nha team

This year we conducted two formal performance review sessions with each of the 14 staff members: Han the local supervisor; Mrs Lan; six daytime nannies; two nighttime nannies; two cleaning staff; our cook and our night security staff.

All, without any exception, expressed their profound satisfaction regarding their job, the organization and best practices. They fully adhere to the high-quality standards we have defined and implemented in all areas ranging from, childcare, hygiene, nutrition, safety, communication and overall spending/cost control.

It is fair to say that all key success factors at Mai Nha Family Homes are operational leading to a solid, committed and well-oiled organization having an optimal impact on the children’s well-being.
We feel extremely fortunate to have such a high quality local, 100% Vietnamese team making it all happen day in day out.

Scholarships

On August 24th, we celebrated the 8th back to school event at Mai Nha for 91 scholarship students.

It was once again a very cheerful event. Our very first graduate student from University, Nguyen Trong Nhan, spoke to all scholarship students encouraging them to embrace the great opportunity Mai Nha is offering them by taking care of their schooling related costs.

It also felt very rewarding to hear how grateful Nhan is to Mai Nha for having changed his life through the scholarship support program and hands-on coaching.

Noteworthy is the fact that this year we are supporting a record number of university students (11) and high school students (26) which is great news as it underlines the fact that the need for scholarship support to the primary school students is decreasing significantly thanks to gradually improving living conditions in Thien Nghiep. This year Mai Nha is supporting only 9 primary school students versus 45 students 6 years ago. 

Finally, given the fact that the scholarship costs of a university student are about 8 times the costs of a primary school student, Mai Nha’s financial needs in this critical area have increased a lot.

MAI NHA YOUTH SUPPORT CENTER PROJECT

Our Mai Nha Youth Support Center project has made solid progress this year.

From an administrative point of view, we have experienced some delays despite the great support and positive attitude of the local and provincial authorities. It is a fact that the project is totally new to the authorities (especially the fact it is a foreign initiative) which means that on several occasions the authorities had to find out in detail how to deal with certain constraints and obligations defined in various decrees. We expect all relevant authorizations to be received within the next two months.

During the summer months we conducted a large-scale market research amongst over 400 students, age 12-18, and their family in order to better define the exact needs in the area of English speaking and understanding skills. We are extremely pleased with the outcome as the vast majority has expressed a very high motivation to attend Mai Nha’s new education program.

Finally, we have decided to launch a “pilot/prototype” phase before actually building the new facility in order to test the key success factors and programs and adjust where necessary. We expect this phase to last between 9-12 months. The authorities of Thien Nghiep are extremely cooperative in assisting us with the setup of the temporary infrastructure including the classrooms and office.

Summary

Once again, we are very pleased to share with you the fact that Mai Nha has delivered in 2019 on all critical goals and objectives.

All 16 children at the family homes are thriving and the local team and organization is delivering results beyond expectations. Their professionalism, long term commitment and sense of ownership make us extremely confident that Mai Nha’s mission, objectives and long term goals will be met.

And given the fact Mai Nha’s ultimate goal is the transition of the entire project to the local organization, we are very confident to make it all happen in the not too distant future.

The same is true regarding the scholarship students. Many of them have received for the 8th consecutive year our financial support thus allowing them to ultimately reach their optimal potential.

And once again we have been able to experience the solid and committed support from the local authorities who are highly appreciative of everything Mai Nha is contributing to the local community in a pragmatic way. 

And finally, we, at Mai Nha, keep on realizing that all these achievements would not have been possible without the generous and loyal support from our sponsors who believe in us, in what we want to accomplish and in the way we do reach our objectives year after year.

We very much thank you and wish you a wonderful Holiday season and a happy new year.

Best regards,

Marc Witlox

Co-Founder, President