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Mrs. Hien and Claudia Schreiber
Report about visit in Vietnam March 2006

On the 3rd of March 2006 Mr. and Mrs. Schreiber and Mr. Willkommen, accountant and president of Courage e.V., started their trip to Vietnam under very bad weather conditions. There was a big snowstorm in Frankfurt, but luckily two hours later we could take off and could arrive just in time in the warmth and humidity of Hue-city. Our representative, Mrs. Ton Nu Thi Hien, received us beaming with joy at the airport Hue, in the city of the ancient Vietnamese emperor.

Sunset at the perfume river

Our representative in Hue
The next day, Sunday, was reserved for sight seeing and a meeting with Mrs. Ton Nu Thi Hien and her daughter.
Mrs. Hien lost her job as housemaid in 2004. Since then she and her daughter lived without incomes together with the younger sister, niece and younger brother on 27 sqm. Her monthly expenses for accommodation, water and energy are USD 40. Mrs. Hien graduated from courses on hairstyling, make-up and flower arrangements from an international school in Ho Chi Minh City, supported by donations from Mr. And Mrs. Willkommen. Now Mrs. Ton Nu Thi Hien plans to start her own business on this basis.

From left to right: Gerd Willkommen,
Claudia Schreiber, Mrs. Thuy Dung,
and Mr. Chau Ding Nguyen.
Mr. and Mrs. Schreiber are the godparents of her daughter. They did and they will donate in the coming years for her basic schooling and extra lessons.
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Signature of a contract
On Monday, the first working day of the week, we had an appointment with the Foreign Relations Department of the Peopleís Committee of Thua Thien Hue. The head of the department, Mr. Chau Ding Nguyen, and Mr. Willkommen signed the contract in a ceremonious act. This contract decribes the basic principles of our assistance for Vietnamese women.
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Visit with the single women at Huong Tho village
In the afternoon an informal meeting with the Womenís Union of the district took place.


Mrs. Thi Y and her son. The money
for the house of stone has been given
by the Vietnamese government after
the big flood in 1999
On the following morning the leader of the local group of the Womenís Union guided us through her village. The Peopleís Committee of every village must keep a list of poor people who are under the poverty line. Mrs. Dang brought us to some impoverished single women on the list. We had to decide if these women are poor enough in order to receive our assistance. It

Here we must decide whether Mrs. Thi
Dong is needy enough for our program.
She is the only support for her elderly
mother
was a horrible situation for us, to have to make these choices that have such an impact on fate of these women. We experienced an incomparably tragic scene that we will not forget, as Mrs. Ton Nu Thi Hien burst into tears, when she saw the poverty-stricken circumstances in which one of the women and her child were living.

Mrs. Thi Dong and her mother
In Vietnamís male dominated society, single women in the countryside have a hard time. They are either never married, or have been divorced. The fathers of their children have left, and do not pay any support. Women such as these may own a small garden and a hut. Their income is less than USD 20 per month. The Vietnamese government is aware of this problem. Together with the Womenís Union and other institutions the government is trying to reduce the poverty and the equalize rights for women.

Mrs. Thi Thi in front of her house. The
money for her house came from
donations by international organiz-
ations after the big flood in 1999
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Pig-breeding in Ai Tu
We would like to give these women a chance to make a better life, by providing means for them to help themselves. We buy pigs for them, which they can breed and then fatten. In this manner they are able to achieve a small income. We visited the breeding farm in Ai Tu in order to order the first 40 piglets.
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Training courses for the women
Finally the day of training, longingly awaited by the women, arrived. Eight women were selected as the first trainees. The teacher, Mr. Minh, has studied biology, and now works in the National Park Bach Ma.He has trained people for a similar German project inside the buffer zone of the

Piglets for breeding
National Park. He reported good results that were achieved by families who got piglets. In training our first eight women, he reported that they were even more motivated

Eight of 20 single women of Huong Tho,
whom we wish to help
and he expects even better results than in Bach Ma, because we give more piglets and we spend more money for the roof of the pig-sty. In the last year at Bach Ma, 20% of the pigs died in the summer heat because the families there did not receive enough money to build pigsties with good quality roofs.
During the training I was really surprised when the women proposed that we give them not five piglets, as we had planned, but only three. They said they are afraid they might not be able to provide enough food for all five pigs. It was suggested that we use the money saved to help more single women. It was a good day with a lot of discussion. Ms Ton Nu Thi Hien took part in order to learn how to assess the quality of the self-built pigsties.
Just recently Mrs. Hien has inspected all the new pigsties, and found that they meet the requirements. Now the women are waiting for their piglets, which should arrive in the early days of May 2006.

Gerd Willkommen
Erzhausen, 06 April 2006
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