Dear friends of Mai Nha,
Like the previous years, many things happened in 2018.
At the family homes, the 16 children continue to grow up very happily as a true family thanks to the great competency and loving of the local staff and support from the child psychology team. Each child is getting the attention it needs in order to grow up in optimal conditions.
Given that all Mai Nha children go to school and start shaping up different personalities and hobbies, we realize the importance of a new space that leverages their development to the fullest apart from the homes. With that in mind, we started the construction of a personal development building at the end of 2017 at Mai Nha Family Home. The new and long-waited building was officially put into use in the beginning of 2018. With friendly architecture for several group and individual activities, the building has soon become the children’s favourite place. A moveable partition divides the 60 m2 space into two rooms on the regular basis. One room is now used for creative hobbies, such as drawing, making handicrafts, etc. and will be for cooking, baking classes in the future. The other room is where the children read, do homework, learn soft skills and English to develop intellectually. In the summer, the partition is re-arranged to create bigger space that allows group activities such as singing and dancing. Ms. Lan, one of Mai Nha’s child psychologists, stayed at Mai Nha most of the time. This was extremely beneficial to the children.
Last May, Tien underwent heart surgery in Saigon at the highly competent CMI Hospital. She is doing very well and this intervention has changed her daily life as her handicap impacted her overall fitness.
And little An who received hand surgery from a renown French Doctor in November 2017 is like “reborn”! When she arrived at Mai Nha 4 years ago, she clearly was a very unhappy and a rather aggressive little girl. Thanks to Mai Nha and her 15 brothers and sisters she is literally transformed: a very nice, cheerful and gentle little girl. At school she is doing really well starting with the fact she has been welcomed by all her class mates. And she doesn’t shy away from writing on the black board in front of everybody!
The school results of all children are all very satisfactory. We are very grateful that none of the 16 children is facing any problems nor issues which would require significant corrective actions. Some of the children have outstanding results. And last but not least: All teachers agree that the Mai Nha children have integrated very well with their school mates.
It is fair to state that 2018 has been a stellar year as far as the local staff is concerned.
Given the fact all children go to school, this means the need for support from the nannies has changed quite a lot. Their work schedules have been adapted rather significantly: During week days they arrive at 6am until 7.30am when the children go to school and come back at 4 pm when the children come home. And during the week end the whole team of 6-day time nannies is present. All nannies agreed to these changes in a very positive way.
For the first time, we conducted formal performance review sessions with each of the 14 staff members: (Han the local supervisor; mother Lan; six day time nannies ; two night time nannies; two cleaning staff ; our cook and our night security staff). During these sessions we were able to receive direct feedback from each staff member and frankly these were beyond our highest expectations: all staff members without any exception explained how happy they are at Mai Nha, how much they enjoy their job and above all how much they love the children. All expressed their desire to stay at Mai Nha as long as the children need them which is truly fantastic news as this will undoubtedly bring stability to the Mai Nha organization and high-quality day to day execution.
Finally, I am extremely pleased that Pauline Fitau,43, has accepted the role of operations manager of the family homes together with me. Based in Paris, Pauline is also active locally at Mai Nha on a periodic basis and given her background and experience, she brings a lot to the local organization. And the children just love her!
Late September we celebrated the 7th back to school event at Mai Nha for the 100 scholarship students. More than ever did Mai Nha evaluate in the very details the qualification of each scholarship student. This included a visit to each of the families in order to confirm the selection criteria and gather all relevant facts about the student’s family circumstances.
Also, Mai Nha will implement in the course of 2019 a post high school job and study orientation program for high school students in order to optimize the chances each scholarship student makes the right choices as far as their professional future is concerned.
Mai Nha’s new youth support centre project
The new youth support centre project is progressing rather well. We are getting close to receiving the license from the Department of Investment which is cooperating in a very positive way with Mai Nha and a team of experienced professionals have started to define in detail the future English Curriculum so each student age 12-18 will speak and understand English in an optimal way which is not the case today. Local authorities are truly excited about Mai Nha’s initiative as are the local public-school authorities.
Also, I am extremely pleased that Sjoerd Zwinkels has accepted to play an active role in this strategic project. Sjoerd, 35, a Dutch citizen married to Lan Anh, based in Saigon, has an extensive experience in the area of education in Vietnam and especially English language schools. Sjoerd has accepted to play an active, long term role as member of the Board of Directors of Mai Nha Education.
Finally, it is important to mention that Bruno Senouci and his wife Phuong who own a Saigon based communication agency, have accepted to take on the responsibility of Mai Nha’s communication together with Lea Trang who is a part of De Heus Vietnam, one of Mai Nha’s most active sponsors. As such Mai Nha will benefit from their expertise and commitment to ensure Mai Nha’s communication is in line with our overall mission and quality standards.
Once again, I can proudly state that Mai Nha has delivered in 2018 on all critical goals and objectives.
The 16 children at the family homes are all thriving, and all local professionals involved with their upbringing and well-being agree that Mai Nha is doing an outstanding job which is truly reassuring as their positive assessment does in turn motivate all of them to continue to support us long term.
The same is true regarding the 100 scholarship students. Many of them have received for the 7th consecutive year our financial support thus allowing them to ultimately reach their optimal potential. Needless to say, the Thien Nghiep community is extremely grateful for Mai Nha’s continuous, pragmatic, support.
Of course, we would have preferred a faster process as far as the license for the new school is concerned but as the granting of such a special license to foreign sponsors is totally new to the provincial authorities, we have to accept the reality it takes more time than initially planned. However, when taking into account the extremely positive attitude of the authorities towards our project, these relative setbacks won’t compromise the overall high-quality execution in the short and longer term.
And finally, we, at Mai Nha realize day after day 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 for your generosity and we do hope the above news have convinced you once again that you are sponsoring a small, focused humanitarian organization which is worth supporting.