New bikes for Christmas

| 30/11/2009

Do you recall when all you wanted for Christmas was a new bike?How you told your parents and wrote Santa your letter weeks prior to the “Big Day”?

Do you also remember how your little eyes bulged with delight on Christmas morning when you saw that bright shinny new bicycle for the first time complete with a big red bow beside the Christmas tree on Christmas morning with your name on it? Santa had answeredyou.

I currently living in Ho Chi Ming City (Saigon), Vietnam. I have been here for nearly six months and I carry out charity work and also teach English. I would appreciate it if you would take the time to read the following story.

I was teaching an English class about a week ago. The topic was “Free Time” and one of the questions was “If you had a lot of money, what would you do in our free time? As I scanned the class full of eager students sitting enthusiastically at their desks. I began to ask different students. Phoung, what would you do?”, I asked. “I would play a game teacher”. “What about you Van?”, I asked. “I would buy food for dinner for my family teacher”. “Tuan, what would you do, remember you have a lot of money?”. “Go out to a proper café teacher with my friends and order café da (Vietnamese black iced coffee) for all my friends”.

It then dawned on me that these students had no idea what “a lot of money” meant. Most of them live in poverty with their extended family living hand to mouth in the daily grind of survival. So I chalked on the blackboard US$1,000,000 and turned back to the class. Their eyes widened, they had never seen so many zeros. “OK”, I said. “What if you had $1 million US dollars?”. “Tuan, what would you do?” “ Travel the world teacher”. “Next” I said and started again around the class “Go shopping for a week and buy everything I saw teacher”. “Teacher, I would buy a house for my family so we could all have our own bedrooms”. “Buy brand new motorbikes for my whole family”.

Then I got to Tian. “I would like to buy bicycles for all the children in my village teacher, many children in my village live many miles away from the school and everyday they must walk for hours, sometimes up to 3 to get to class and 3 hours home.” Gosh, I thought how unselfish of this girl to think of others rather than herself. Since then I cannot get the image of those children out of my mind. Education is so important and those children have to be exhausted before they even get to school. Most return home and work for many more hours in their family paddy (rice) field.

So I am appealing to you to make a different this Christmas to help me to donate as many bikes as possible. They will not be brand new but they will be new to each child that receives one.

I would appreciate it if you would consider one your next “Dress Down Day” to donate the proceeds to the “New Bike for Christmas Appeal”. Perhaps your company will match whatever is raised by the employees. I will then be traveling to the school before Christmas to give the children their bikes. Remember that every dollar given could change the life of a child. Lets all join together and spread the joy of Christmas.

Chuć M??g Giańg Sinh (Merry Christmas)

To find out more about a local fundraising effort for this cause, read Bicycles will change lives in Vietnam in the CNS Christmas Appeal.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. And in case you don’t know there are many many many people and organizations on this island that help out the people in need all the time not just at Christmas time. So please don’t make it sound like we are oh so happy to help the foreigner and not our own people.  Pardon me for being "foolhardy" and "wrong" for wanting to donate funds overseas to other children in need. I pray that all goes well and the kids will get their bikes. I’m looking forward to some good news from our efforts made here. I’m trying to see this from your point of view but seeing as your sheding a bad light on the good efforts of a friend, I feel the need to defend her position since she is not here to defend herself. Besides, if you were such a good friend to Ms. Cathy Williams, you wouldn’t be posting negative comments about her sister, in such a public place, whether or not you think it’s a "scam".

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think we need to deal with the needy children of Cayman first before we move to help others. These types of programmes rarely are audited with any scrutiny and I suggest that before anyone goes headlong into donating any money that this may be a SCAM. Donate locally this christmas. There are many programmes that need your assistance.

    CNS: We would not promote any fundraiser unless it is a recognised charity or we are 100% sure it is not a scam. In this case, the local connection, Cathy Williams, is well known to us and to many here.

    • Anon says:

      What a NASTY comment to type and post!!!! I will have you know Ms. Sandra Ashmore was a co-worker of mine and a great lady who has come a very long way in her life! And to see the change she has made in her life  is truly remarkable! Thanks to the good Lord above! A year ago we were in our office chatting about everyday life. Now she is on the other side of the world helping men, women and children who are way less fortunate than us! God bless her for her great deeds! She didn’t ask for this to make it to the newspapers, she asked a few friends and family members for help, and we all helped how we saw fit! What is so wrong with helping people in need? Whether they are from here or from a foreign country!? I can 100% assure you THIS IS NOT A SCAM!! And I was more than happy to help out as I saw fit. Just as I plan to donate a toy or two to the children in need here for the coming Christmas as we have always done in the past.

      I am sorry you felt the need to post a nasty comment about a good cause, but they found faults with the Almighty himself, so what else would you expect from some people! You just can’t do a good thing can you!?

      • Anonymous says:

        I wrote the original post here. I personally know Cathy Williams as well and did not mean to let readers believe that I thought she nor her sister, who I do not know, would be committing a scam. I certainly do not.

        My central point was twofold…one that there are significant needs for many here in Cayman and it would seem logical to me that it is foolhardy and wrong to take “resources” (be it donations) from this country to send out before the needs of the local population is met first. We eagerly send contributions overseas in many cases not realizing that we have folks here in just as bad a situation.

        My second point was merely a caution not meant to be “nasty”. At this time there are significant scams purporting to send money or goods to needy folks overseas and we never know where it goes. I will always suggest that contributions are made to KNOWN AND AUDITED charities and those that cannot be verified are shunned. We can never know otherwise and maybe Ms. Cathy and her sister are also being dupped.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sandra left a high paying job to go and be a missionary. Her heart went out to the needy and sounds really unfair to judge her. She is doing something that not all people have courage and bravery to do. Cayman children dont know what poverty is. Having no shelter, food, clean water, clothes. All these things 99.9% of Cayman have. Lets not be selfish.