Monday, October 27, 2008
Our taxi driver arrived very early to drive us to the village of Duch Linh where the Organization Vietnam Plus and Vietnam Quilts is based. Wendy and I were going to spend the day visiting area workshops that help the people of rural Vietnam. What an eye opener. It was a few hours drive which was quiet trying at times. Our first visit was to a small home industry that processed cashew nuts. I was amazed to see that everything was done by hand from picking to cracking open the shells to get the nuts out. These wonderful people do tons of cashews each year. I have a much better appreciation for these great nuts! Our next stop was to meet some of the 180 quilters in the area. There are 9 group leaders and each one has about 25 quilters under them. they meet at the group leaders home each day and quilt for 8 hours. They make quilts for Westerners mainly Australian and Japanese clientele. There was no quilting in Vietnam until this program was started 8 years ago by Thanh Truong who has a passion for quilts. It is an income generation project that offers income and employment for rural women which enable these women to remain in their communities and care for their children and families.
They now have two retail stores one in district 1, Ho Chi Minh City and on in Hanoi. It enables them to supply scholarships and books for children to go to school , health education for women, toilets in a number of poor people's houses as well as impregnation of mosquito nets with insecticide.
They are guaranteed 20 days work a month which adds up to one complete queen size quilt and $40.00/ month.
Our last stop was at a local school where Vietnam plus has helped with a weekly program of teeth cleaning. We watched as the whole school came outside and did there weekly routine of brushing and caring for there teeth. It was great to spend time with the kids who were so excited to meet us.