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2009/2010: Making Inroads - The Sunshine School in Laos and The Lotus Children's Centre in Mongolia.

1) Student Scholarships to Sunshine School, Vientiane, Laos for Children from Donkoi Village

  • Somneuk  is 16 years old, from Donkoi village, fifth from a family of ten children who all live in a two room dwelling.

  • Souksavan is 17. His father is the manager of the Donkoi Children's Development Centre (DCDC) but his mother is often sick so managing the family on thefather's modest salary is not easy.

  • Dali is from a family of four children who all live in an unfinished house in Donkoi. She has been active in the DCDC and shares her artictic talents with the other village children.

  • Niradi is 14 years old from a family of four children in Donkoi village and active in the DCDC where she is a youth leader.

  • Khamapsong is 16 from a family in Donkoi village where her father has iregular work and her mother works very hard in the rice fields and is active in the Donkoi Village Women's Union. Together with Dali and Nitladi, she is active in the DCDC and in the youth leadership programme. They graduated middle school from the Sunshine School under the CHEF scholarship programme and hope to graduate high school now.

Lao students at The Sunshine School, Vientiane

During and at the end of the scholarship period, the five chidlren were asked a number of questions:

Are you aware that you have sponsors?

How do you feel about that?

Do you know where the sponsors are from?

What do your parents think about you’re going to Sunshine School?

Was this year useful for you?

What will you do next year?

And in the future, when you grow up, what are your plans?

These are the answers they gave speaking with the help fo their Lao teachers:

  1. Yes we know that we have sponsors.

  2. We’re happy that the sponsors help us for our educational development this year.

  3. We know they are from Australia.

  4. Our parents sometimes don’t have much time to guide us with our studies and so when they knew we had the opportunity to study at Sunshine School they were very happy as they knew we’d be in class with a small number of students and so that we could get more help from our teachers. 

  5. They also knew that in Sunshine School we’d get the opportunity to study more English which is an important language in the world today.

  6. There are many activities in Sunshine School that we can learn from. We’ve progressed especially in English language.

  7. We also feel we’ve gained more self-confidence, are not so shy to express ourselves or perform.

Hope for their Futures

  • Souksavanh – hope to be able to get a scholarship in Japan to study film making. (He’d already won a prize in Dec 2009 to go to Japan for 2 weeks for film study.)

  • Somneuk – want to continue to study but don’t know yet what I want to do in the future.

  • Niradi – hope to work with uncle who works in Customs Dept.

  • Khong – would like to be an accountant

  • Dali – would like to be a doctor

2) Lotus Children's Centre - Mongolia:Transitioning Programmes for Young Adults

Support programmes for graduating adults from Lotus

Programmes to assist young adults graduating from Lotus in their transition to independent life in the wider society have already been begun in the form of the Ananda Vegetarian Café, training some of the young adults in waitering, restaurant management and accounting and the Lotus GuestHouses providing hospitality skills.

The Special Needs Programmes have ranged from commercial cooking to crafts-making for the children with special needs who are resident at the Lotus Centre.

Small farm landholdings are also currently being developed for some of the now-adult former Lotus residents with special needs. CHEF has been providing general financial support towards these programmes as well as assistance in kind to support the Ananda Café.


Ganesh is a poor rural doctor with a polio crippled leg. He grew up at a local project in Jharkhand, India, called Ashavihar, where he had originally gone for an operation to straighten his bent leg. This enabled him to swing along on crutches and stand balanced without them when necessary. He stayed on at the Ashavihar Children's Village to complete his primary and secondary education that was beyond the scope of his impoverished parents.

Ashavihar is primarily a multi-therapy clinic that provides free treatment to a large number of villages in an extremely poor district of Jharkhand state. Each day up to a hundred villagers attend the clinic and receive treatment from fully qualified professionals at the acupuncture, allopathy, homeopathy, ayurveda, maternity and physiotherapy departments at the clinic. In addition, twice a year surgeons come from Germany at their own expense to conduct corrective surgery and family planning clinics.

Ganesh began his acupuncture training while still in High School. On completion of his school studies, he went on to complete the six year course in five, and received his Diploma in Acupuncture. He then continued to attend the Ashavihar free acupuncture clinic - now as a doctor treating the people from his own community. He is now married and has a young child.

In 2010, during a routine field inspection, our C.H.E.F. officer discovered that Ganesh was most often coming and going the two kilometres from his village home to the clinic by walking on his crutches , as he was often delayed by patients and missed the infrequent local bus. Having recently attended a state level paralympic meet, he had seen other disabled young men riding specially adapted motor-bikes, and seeing an opportunity to assist the many by assisting one, The Children's Health and Education Fund decided to fund an adapted motor-bike. Almost two years passed, but an adapted motor-bike did not become available for purchase. Then in 2011, a new car came on to the market in India - a car for the masses costing just $2000. In a great stroke of lateral thinking, Ganesh took a small loan to make up the balance, and purchased a Tata Nano - a car he can drive even with his disability and can also convey his small family. Here you can see him sitting proudly behind the wheel of his own car. A long journey from a background of grinding poverty and illiteracy. One man's journey that helps transforms the lives of many others.

Ganesh in his car experiencing new mobility


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