Wishing You

Peace, Love and Kindness


Dear CHEER Community of Friends and Supporters,

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and on behalf of our Board of Directors and Advisors, we send you our warmest greetings and profound appreciation for your continued support of CHEER projects in Việt Nam.

We believe every child is entitled to good health, a good education and a safe and caring environment in which to live and to develop their potentials and to attain their dreams.

This belief has endured for over two decades thanks to your participation. For the last twenty-five years you have traveled with us on a journey to actualize our vision.

Your compassion has opened a pathway for cultural understanding, educational exchange, and environmental sustainability. Through your Love and Caring you have made a difference in numerous lives.

Let’s come together again with the immensity of our heart, the depth of our humanity, the joy and devotion to traverse borders and to transform the life of a child, a student, a teacher, an artist and a family.

Let’s come together to work and bring Kindness, Civility, Respect, Love and Compassion here and to the world where Peace, Tolerance, Social Justice and Joy prevail for all.

Peace and Love,

Nam-Hậu, Amanda and The CHEER Team




K-12 Scholarship Program has provided opportunities for hundreds of children and students from poor families living in remote areas to stay in school to develop their potential and to reach their dreams. Hundreds more children and students with physical and intellectual disabilities have been able to learn a skill to lead an independent life with dignity.

CHEER Scholarship Award for Nursing and Medical Students has supported students whose parents mostly are poor and from rural areas, to achieve their college education and fulfill their dreams to serve and improve Public Health Services in their communities.

CHEER Award for Innovation and Creativity has inspired students to think out of the box to create projects that have an impact in their classrooms, schools, and communities.

Việt Nam Teacher Training Program has brought American teachers from the U.S. to interact with hundreds of Vietnamese teachers of English in workshops that updated the latest teaching methodology for English as a Second Language or English as a Foreign Language; expanded knowledge and appreciation of each other’s culture and history, and shared each other’s experience in teaching, life, hope and joy for themselves and their students.

Việt Nam Educational Leadership Institute has engaged young and mid-career administrators and executives in higher education to participate in the process of transforming their vision to integrate in the region and in the complex world.

CHEER Community Development has provided resources for community organizations to serve disadvantaged people by providing basic health services (free health clinic, orphanage), economic development (non-interest revolving loan program), affordable lunch for poor students, relief for children affected by Agent Orange and for victims of endemic natural calamities such as floods, typhoons and hurricanes.

Discover Việt Nam, A Journey through Time and Space. This annual trip has brought Americans to Việt Nam to experience a country at peace, a country that has captured the curiosity and enchanted countless visitors for her enduring tradition and culture. Travelers have discovered the country’s past and present from historic and cultural sites to people’s daily lives; appreciated the distinctive regional music and the scrumptious regional foods. Along the way travelers have enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage sites, Đông Kinh traditional music and opera, water puppet performances, Huế folk and Imperial court music, traditional amateur southern music, cooking classes, silk worm cultivation, ethnic natural crafts and much more. Travelers have also met students and teachers at some of CHEER’s projects, encountered contemporary and local artists, scholars and ordinary people. Travelers are always enchanted by the hospitality of the people in Việt Nam and newly found friendships while rekindling their humanist spirit




In May, 2018 we presented a total of 315 scholarships to students from 1-16 at the following schools:

Kindergartens: Instructional materials for 660 students at 11 CHEER kindergartens

Đồng Lâm, Thanh Cần, Diên Trường, Tiên Nộn, La Chữ, Phước Lâm, Phước Lý, Phổ Lại, Quảng Phước, Bình Thành, Điền Hoà


Diên Trường Kindergarten, by the edge of Thuận An port, served 70 students from the village. CHEER recently refurbished the facility with new windows and door frames and new ceilings for the two classrooms, a kitchen and restrooms.

60 elementary students at Lại Ân, Phú Vang, Hồng Tiến

60 Study Corners, Lại Ân, Phú Vang, Hồng Tiến, Bình Điền

30 High School students, Bình Điền


110 Middle School students – Former CHEER kindergarten students at Đồng Lâm, Thanh Cần, Diên Trường, Tiên Nộn, La Chữ, Phước Lâm, Phước Lý, Phổ Lại, Quảng Phước, Bình Thành, Điền Hoà

3 College students, graduates from Bình Điền High School


Lại Ân Elementary School, New Restrooms and covered walkway for 150 students


111 CHEER Scholarships for Medical and Nursing Students, Huế University of Medicine and Pharmacy

Việt Nam National University, Hồ Chí Minh City – University of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Sciences, University of Polytechnic, University of Information and Technology, University of Economics and Law, and University of International Studies.

CHEER K-16 Scholarship Program


Hương/La Chữ, Bình Thành, the latest kindergarten built by CHEER, presently houses 60 students. When we arrived the children were eating lunch.

Walking across a canal we entered the vast court yard dotted with bright colors in various shapes and forms like a Matisse painting. A colorful hop-scotch was drawn on the ground,

a school garden was on the left. Recycled car tires in symmetrical colors overflowed with green herbs; clear plastic bottles hung on the fence embellished with corn and other plants. Morning glory vines climbed happily through the bamboo teepee like frames. A full kitchen was on the right. On the deck yellow hand towels hung on little hangers, next to stainless steel cups and slippers, just above an elongated farmer’s sink with three faucets all adorned with hand-drawn colorful directions on how to wash your hands. A mural depicting the beloved Vietnamese children story, Tấm and Cám, (a Vietnamese folk version of Cinderella) was painted in Vietnamese style. Three sets of outdoor gymnastic equipment and balls occupied the school yard under a canopy of old trees.

We presented the students with new bright green chairs and other classroom supplies as requested by the principal.

Phú Mậu Elementary School – On May 19, 2018, sixty students and their parents and teachers enthusiastically waited this beautiful and peaceful early morning in the school yard. Sharp and playful in their school uniforms of white blouses/shirts and ocean blue pants/skirts, students talked and shared stories. Some tried to sit straight. Others laughed. They looked like a swarm of bees buzzing in the front yard with parents standing quietly behind them, and teachers earnestly arranging the last-minute touches for the ceremony.


A group of four 5th graders, red caps on their heads, drums across shoulders, marched proudly to the rhythmic beats to the front, under a white banner with bold, red letters: Welcome CHEER for Việt Nam – Scholarship Award Ceremony to Students at Lại Ân Phú Mậu Elementary School – Huế, May 19, 2018.

In the warm sunlight, the assistant principal opened the ceremony, welcoming guests, local people’s committee members, teachers, staff and students. Wide eyed, students attentively listened to the speeches.

The principal, in her colorful Vietnamese traditional áo dài, sent her warm greetings to CHEER and guests from the villages, school district and the Association for the Handicapped and Orphans, Thừa Thiên-Huế, CHEER’s local partner. “Today, besides these precious scholarships and Study Corners, we also want to express our gratitude to CHEER for the construction of the new covered walkway and restrooms for our students. On behalf of our students and their parents I especially want to thank Dr. Tôn Thất Hãn and his wife, Mrs. Trần Lâm Viên for their generous funding of the Project. CHEER’s contribution, said Ms. Kim Huế, “has been the greatest encouragement for our students to strive for excellence in their studies, and for us, as teachers, to do our utmost to guide students to be caring human beings with integrity, honesty and to develop a sense of responsibility toward themselves, their families and their county.”

One by one each name was called, scholarships handed out and Study Corners delivered.  One by one teachers, guests and students proceeded under the new covered walkway to witness the ribbon cuttings of two new restrooms.

One by one students handed the scholarship money to their parents.

One by one parents lifted a solid wood desk and tied it to either a bicycle or a motorcycle. One by one a bookshelf was tied around the desk’s legs.

One by one a chair was picked and place securely on top.

One by one a student followed his/her parents or sat on the front of the motorcycle.

One by one they all filed out of the gate, started the engines, got the pedals ready and rode off on the dirt road like a parade meandering through the fragrant golden rice fields.

Bình Điền Secondary School

On May 21st, 2018 at the Scholarship Award Ceremony we learned quickly that Hoàng Phương Thuỳ, one of our students who had been receiving CHEER’s scholarships for seven years – three years at secondary level and 4 years in college – just graduated from Huế Agricultural University. She was offered a position at the CP Company and has currently relocated to her new job in Bến Tre City.

Hoàng Phương Thuỳ, born in 1996 to a poor family at Thuận Điền village, Bình Điền District, graduated with a high ranking Bachelor in Animal Husbandry degree from Huế University, University of Agriculture and Forestry. She accepted a job offer in her field and currently works at CP, an animal husbandry company in Bến Tre Province, southern region of Việt Nam.


In her acceptance speech on behalf of her class, she expressed her profound gratitude to her parents, her teachers and especially CHEER donors who had helped make her dream come true. She reminded her fellow students “to develop good habits in study and vision” and said she hoped that CHEER “will always remember the students who live in her villages, poor as they are, but always striving to reach their dreams.”


As of 2018, 95 Bình Điền High School (HS) students, of which 75 were female, have been awarded CHEER scholarships. After graduating from HS, a number of students have pursued higher education at university or college levels, and the rest to various vocational/trade junior colleges.


Thirty students of which 2/3 are female currently attend the following universities:

-University of Agriculture and Forestry – Six students, four female and two male of which one is first year, three are third year and two, fourth year.

-Huế University of Medicine and Pharmacy – Five students, two female and three male; three are second year, one third year and one fourth year.

-University of Law – Four students, three female and one male; two second year, one third year and one fourth year.

-University of Science – Three students, one female, two male; one first year, one second year and one fourth year.

-University of Foreign Languages – Five female students; two first year, one third year and two fourth year.

-University of Tourism – Three female students; one first year, one second year and one fourth year.

-University of Pedagogy – One third year female student.

-University of Economics – One first year male student.

-University of Polytechnic – One first year female student.

-University of Đà Lạt – One second year male student.


The university annual tuition is 1 billion VND ($500USD). Monthly living expenses including room and board are between 2,000,0000-3,000,0000VND ($100-$300USD).

We visited Lê Thị Thuý Hiền, born in 2001 at Đông Hoà Village, Bình Điền, currently a senior at Bình Điền High School. An excellent student despite her family’s poverty. Her dream is “to get a CHEER four-year scholarship” to pursue her college education and “to help her family rise out of poverty!”



CHEER Scholarships for Medical and Nursing Students

Huế University of Medicine and Pharmacy


CHEER has been providing scholarships to nursing students at HUMP since 2016. As a result of the needs and academic achievement, the number of scholarship recipients has increased from 40 in 2016, to 65 in 2017 and 111 in 2018. The record number of CHEER Nursing and Medical Scholarships exceeded the expectation of the HUMP Executive Board as well as the students and faculty. The Vice President of HUMP proudly acknowledged at the CHEER Scholarship Award Ceremony on May 19, 2018, that “This is the largest number of students who have received scholarships since the founding of the university in 1958.”


CHEER signed an MOU with HUMP on the same date. The two organizations will mutually seek funds to support the education and training for nursing and medical students at HUMP. CHEER will seek opportunities for American students and faculty in nursing and medical fields in the U.S. to participate in educational and cultural exchanges at HUMP.


CHEER Award for Creativity and Innovation

Việt Nam National University, Hồ Chí Minh City


CHEER has received positive responses from students at six of the member universities of Việt Nam National University, Hồ Chí Minh City. Hundreds of projects are under review. Each university receives an award of $2,000USD, a total of $12,000USD.


Community Development


Thánh Gióng Vocational School and Job Placement for Young Adults with Disabilities

CHEER continues to provide supplies and materials for vocational classes ranging from tools for traditional wood carving, fabric and silk threads for embroidery and textile for sewing classes.  Some 150 students attend classes for six months. They either live at the premise or go home in the evening. The school provides a hot lunch for all students and dinner for residents. After six months they either find jobs or stay at the school to work on orders with a living wage. A free on-site dormitory is available for students who live in remote areas.


Tây Linh Vocational School for Girls with Disabilities

CHEER provides funds to support the daily hot lunch for 150 female students to learn embroidery, sewing and computer skills. The fund also grants a salary to a teacher of embroidery. Most students stay at the school’s on-site dormitory.

Đức Sơn Temple Orphanage


CHEER has been supporting Đức Sơn Temple Orphanage since the early 2000s through education and community development.

Teachers in our Việt Nam Teacher Training Program have taught arts, music, and English to elementary students. They spent time with all the students and have worked with children with intellectual disabilities.

CHEER provides school supplies as well as warm clothes and socks during the winter time. We also support Đức Sơn’s organic vegetable garden that supplies produce for the children’s daily meals. The children take turns to learn how to care for the garden.

Đức Sơn Temple was built in 1964 – almost a decade before the war ended in 1975 – at Hương Thuỷ district, Thuỷ Bằng village, three miles south of the City of Huế. Venerable Nuns Thích Nữ Minh Tú and Thích Nữ Minh Đức were heartbroken to witness the increased number of orphans after the war. Their effort to convince the government to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of orphans finally bore fruit twenty-two years later.

Đức Sơn Temple Orphanage was built in 1986 and is known throughout the land for its care and philosophy. Venerable Nun (VN) Thích Nữ Minh Tú envisioned a home where all orphans could live peaceful and healthy lives in pursuit of a brighter future after the most traumatic experience in their young lives: either abandoned at birth, orphaned when their parents were killed by natural calamities, such as traffic accidents of infectious diseases, or their parents were simply too poor to take care of them.

With the dedication of 18 nuns and 10 secular volunteers VN Minh Tú with the assistance of head Nun Liên Như, has dedicated her life to easing the suffering of the traumatized children. She has created a home where orphaned children feel safe, loved, cared for and well prepared for a brighter future. She hopes that every one of them, her “little birds will fly freely to a future of fulfillment and contentment!”

Individual nuns take responsibility for different aspects of the orphanage’s daily activities, such as gardening, physical education, cooking, entertainment, health and so on. They are working or on call 24/7 and along with the volunteers supervise the children at night.

The children are encouraged to join the nuns in prayer on special occasions. But there is no pressure on them to follow the monastic life. The main aim is to provide the children with the physical wellbeing and emotional strength and confidence to make their own way in life.

The children go to the neighborhood schools. Several have graduated from high school and attended universities. Others went to vocational schools and learned a trade. Some have married and have returned to the orphanage to guide younger ones.

Organic Farm for Young Adults with Physical and Intellectual Disabilities

CHEER has been supporting organic farming in Việt Nam. In 2016, working in partnership with Office of Genetic Counseling & Disabled Children (OGCDC), a center affiliated with Huế University of Pharmacy and Medicine, we funded an organic farm project in Nam Đông, a mountainous province, a two hour drive east of Huế City, central Việt Nam. The goal of the Organic Farm Project is to provide young adults with disabilities an opportunity to experience independent living and learn a skill to support themselves.

CHEER helped OGCDC with a down payment of 47 million VNĐ, almost half of the total cost of 114 million VNĐ to buy a beautiful piece of land, 3,800m2 surrounded by mature trees. Had it not been for this support, OGCDC wouldn’t have had the three-year funding from L’Aide Au Viet Nam – a Franco-Vietnamese charitable organization based in France – to establish the Organic Farm. The fund will expire in August 2019.

The OF is a second home to 16 young adults, eight female and 12 male. The residents spend the day at the farm and retire to their own homes in the evening. Four teachers work alternately at the farm alongside the residents. They teach residents farming  techniques including soil preparation, seed sowing, planting, watering and harvesting. In addition, the residents learn how to take care of other chores at the farm. The young residents also learn how to raise chicken and wild boars. They are experimenting with making products to sell in the future.

The director of the project hopes that the fund will be extended next year, and that the residents will be self-sufficient by the end of 2019. However, as the result of their physical and intellectual limitations it might take more time and effort for the students and the project to be self-sustained.


Flood/Typhoon Relief

The August flash flood that swept furiously through the northern and central provinces of Việt Nam caused immeasurable damage to the environment as well as to villagers and their means of survival.


Responding to a call from the nuns from Tây Linh Free Vocational School for Handicapped Young Women, CHEER joined several Vietnamese charitable organizations in the U.S. and Canada to raise funds for those affected by the unexpected flood. The total amount of 730,400,000VNĐ was delivered to affected villages in two provinces in northern and central Việt Nam, Yên Bái and Thanh Hoá, in August and September by the nuns and representatives of some of the charitable organizations in two separate trips.


In late August, despite treacherous road conditions and incessant rain the group was able to hire motorcycle drivers to take each one to the affected villages on steep, winding muddy hills, overlooking cliffs and valleys. They visited two ethnic groups who live in the mountainous villages of Nậm Mười and Mui Căng Chải, Yên Bái Province in northern Việt Nam. Twenty villagers died here. Eighty-five houses were swept away, rice fields and vegetable gardens    damaged and animals perished along the villages’ road side.

Leaving Yên Bái the group traveled south to visit two districts Lang Chánh and Tịnh Gia, Thanh Hoá Province where 800 families were affected. The flood took four members of Mr. Vi Văn Dũng family, his paternal grandfather, father, wife and a five-year old son. Only three corpses were retrieved.

In mid-September the group made a second relief round to two central villages, Cẩm Thành and Cẩm Hương, Thanh Hoá Province. Most of the houses had been submerged for several days in water as high as 2,2 meters. The water marks reminded the villages of the devastating experience. They slowly picked up the broken pieces and tried to get back to their lives. The group presented 400 gifts of rice and money. Each gift was 700,000VNĐ ($32USD)


New Initiatives – Master of Nursing Sciences


CHEER’s new initiative will support 15 nursing students from Huế University of Medicine and Pharmacy (HUMP) to attend a two-year Master of Nursing Sciences course, a joint training program between the prestigious University of Khon Kaen (UKK), Thailand and HUMP, Việt Nam. The cost per session for the two-year-joint-program in Thailand and Việt Nam is $6,500 per student. Both HUMP and UKK will cover most of the cost of the program. However, students have to make up the difference of $1,000 per student per session.


A scholarship fund of $45,000 will afford 15 students to attend the first three sessions at  UKK, Thailand in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

The Needs

in 1998 and serving students in central provinces and the Central Highlands of Việt Nam, HUMP first offered a bachelor degree in nursing in 2001. In 2010, the Ministry of Public Health designated HUMP as the first university in Việt Nam to establish a Nursing Faculty 1. Since then the freshman class has grown to close to 500.


Ninety percent of students admitted to the freshman class are from poor families with very limited resources. They are from the coastal provinces in Thanh Hoá, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Huế, Đà Nẵng, Quảng Nam, Quảng Ngãi, Bình Định to the Central Highland provinces of Lâm Đồng, Đắc Lắc and Kom Tum.


Despite the need for public health nurses, the nursing program in Việt Nam still trails far behind other countries in the world. According to the World Public Health Report in 2006 the ratio of nurses per 10,000 people in Việt Nam was 6.77 while this ratio in the Philippines was 16.9; Singapore, 42.4; Japan, 77.9; The Netherlands, 137.3, and the UK, 122. The ratio of nurses/doctors in Việt Nam was 1/1.4 while it was 1/3-4.5 in the region. The number of nurses with a university degree was 3.26%.


To improve the situation both the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Public Health recently appointed HUMP to train the human resources for the Master of Nursing Services degree in the Central Region and Central Highland of Việt Nam.


HUMP has been working with several universities in the Mekong Region, in particular the University of Khong Kaen, one of Thailand’s top five universities in public health training for over three decades. UKK’s training program balances intellectual knowledge, practical experience and ethics. The University promotes research through its high-quality training program and services to society while preserving its country’s cultural and art heritage.


The purpose of the joint training program is to provide the opportunity for graduate students in the field of nursing to become clinical nurses and researchers who will be ready to contribute actively in research, service and training in health care and health management in Việt Nam.

The joint training will be conducted in English at UKK, Thailand and HUMP. Students will study at both HUMP’s and UKK’s facilities equipped with state-of- the- art libraries, information centers and community hospitals conducive to teaching theory and clinical practices. The eighteen-month program includes theory, practice and a dissertation at the end of the training. UKK and HUMP professors will guide students’ Master’s dissertations.



Meeting the Candidates

On May 19, 2018 after presenting CHEER Nursing and Medical Scholarship to 111 students at HUMP, I had a chance to meet with the 15 candidates who were selected following a rigorous selection process to attend the Master of Nursing Sciences at UKK and HUMP.


I was impressed with their dedication to improve their profession, and to contribute to the field of nursing at HUMP and in Việt Nam. Most are working in public health offices in Huế and its surrounding areas or teaching at Junior College or at HUMP. Some were working in their native provinces. Despite the increase of nursing students there is a severe shortage of nursing instructors. The students revealed that all nursing courses at HUMP are currently taught by two medical doctors. Most expressed their frustration, acknowledging that “even though nurses are much needed in the society, the profession is not well respected. We felt like we just followed the orders of our doctors.” Those who are retained by HUMP to teach, felt they were not equipped to teach for the lack of knowledge and clinical experiences. “To be part of the first core teaching faculty of the Nursing Department is a great honor,” a mid-career woman expressed emotionally.


You have been supporting CHEER initiatives over the years and contributing to the success of CHEER Nursing and Medical Scholarships. Your continued contribution will afford this talented and dedicated group of young women and men an opportunity to expand their knowledge in the field of nursing, to deepen their understanding of the needs of nursing practitioners and pressing issues in the field in both developed and developing countries, including Asia. While interacting with their colleagues outside of Việt Nam, the participants will be able to hone their skills in teaching, curriculum development and research. This exposure will not only promote exchange and dialogue among their peers but also build their confidence to train the next generation of nurses in Việt Nam.

I urge you to consider funding this worthwhile program, to support the very first group of young nursing faculty who will shape the future of this vital field and contribute to the well being of those most needy in Việt Nam, the region and the world. I would be most grateful if you could consider funding the whole program with a matching grant or annual pledge.


We are proud to be taking on this new initiative. The school year has just begun. Your support is crucial for its success. Please join us again to bring Hope and make a difference in the health care services.

Discover Việt Nam


In late March and early April we made another trip to Discover Việt Nam with a group of mostly new friends. From the delta to the sea, the mountains to towns, villages, and cities, by car, boat and train, we covered hundreds of miles in our journey.


We learned the culture through Vietnamese classical music, meeting artists, talking to folks on the street, learning to cook, enjoying the pleasant weather. But what touched us deeply was the visit with the students at two schools, one elementary and the other, kindergarten. The warm greetings from the students, teachers and staff moved our hearts. Each of the students in the elementary school, each in his/her own way and in beautiful hand writing or drawings expressed their joy and gratitude for the scholarships. The principals sent their greetings to CHEER donors and thanks for the gifts given to the schools.