Dear future supporters, friends, fellow students and everybody else,
My name is Etienne and I am a German student of Anthropology currently living and studying in Hanoi, Vietnam. I literally live a Vietnamese life together with a local student, Tu?n, who became my closet friend here:
Me and my closest Vietnamese friend, Tu?n
Living together with him has led to the inevitable consequence to see, what many people often can not or do not want to see. Poverty and real fear for one's existence are basically everywhere.
Nonetheless, Vietnamese people are just amazing. Most people I have met so far are very friendly, helpful and generous. And even if they do not own that much, most of them would always share with you what they have.
The mother of my friend, Thái, lives in a small village appr. 3-4 hours from Hanoi. She tries to finance her son's studies at the university, for which there is no governmental support at all.
My friend his mother, Thái
She does this on her own, only to provide Tu?n with better opportunities. While she also has to take care of Tu?n's ninety-year-old grandmother, who is struggling with a cancer on her neck, she is suffering herself from having a lot of debts.
And although she owns a little shop for clothing, my friend's mother barely makes enough money to repay those debts.
My friend's grandmother, preparing dinner
The cruel part of this story is, she is not even responsible for those debts!
The story of Tu?n's family began when his father was caught and convicted of an illegal practice and received a life sentence (for the sake of Tu?n's privacy, please ask me via private message/ email about details). Everything seemed to collapse right in front of his eyes, especially because the father here is considered to be the main character to carry the financial burden.
The situation got even worse when his mother found out, before the disaster, her husband had borrowed a huge amount of money, got caught and sentenced and now it's her responsibility to repay it. Her husband made these debts by himself and left her alone with this burden...
Tu?n, Thái and me
The amount of debts she still needs to repay is currently about 106.000.000 VND, which equals roughly 4.450 EUR or 4980 USD*.
Originally, this has been 125.000.000 VND, so 4.800 EUR or 5880 USD**. Thanks to the support of a lot of people during the 1st fundraiser, we could already manage to gather the first 19.000.000 VND or 780 EUR***!
She is already trying to repay these debts for years, but I estimate she would need decades with her current income, if ever possible.
Thái preparing vegetables
My friend has told me this story as we were actually talking about his own future.
After his bachelor, he mentioned, he would like to repay his mother's debts with his future income, which broke my heart. As he has just recently begun his studies, this would take a while...
My friend and his grandmother
That is the reason why I have started this fundraiser, because alone I could not afford this amount to help them.
If just enough people would share at least a little bit of their wealth with Tu?n's family, people like you could change their lives. And the goal is not to give them some kind of a luxurious life, it is just about having a decent life without the constant and intrinsic fear for their existence.
For any kind of support, no matter how small,
we would be tremendously grateful!
* As of 28th February 2015
** Values estimated around 15th December 2014
*** Please note, that the exchange rate of EUR to VND has dramatically fallen during the last three months. That's why the difference between the two fundraisers is shown as 350 EUR, though we actually already collected 780 EUR.
Good news is, I had almost 13.000.000 VND in cash so I actually didn't lose that much money on the way ;) For a detailed calculation of the 1st fundraiser, please see this google sheet. Additionally, I will keep the funds raised during this fundraiser on my account until better times come, so don't worry about your donations.