Dear SCC Supporters and Friends,
This is my first newsletter since taking over from Paul Finnis, I would like to thank you all, whether donors, partners, supporters, Trustees or staff, for the very warm welcome I have received. SCC is a wonderful organisation that does so much good work, and I regard it as a privilege and great responsibility to carry on the outstanding contributions of my predecessors. Fortunately there is a very able team here to help me, and a terrific level of engagement from all supporters.
For those who do not know me, I have worked in senior management in Vietnam since 2002, after a career in the Royal Navy and then in general management in the UK. I came to Vietnam as a Director of FV Hospital, before becoming Country Manager of Apollo Education and Training and then Director of a not-for-profit management education project within Vinacapital Foundation. My wife Kim is English but of Vietnamese origin, and so we have family here, something that has greatly enriched our experience here. We have known and supported SCC since our arrival, and I am delighted to be asked to become the new Director.
We must of course say thank you and farewell to Paul Finnis after seven years at the helm. Fittingly, just before his departure, Paul was presented with two prestigious medals from the Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and HCMC People’s Committee. The Medal of Peace and Friendship Among Nations is awarded to people who have made a positive and remarkable contribution to building friendship between Vietnam and other countries, and the Ho Chi Minh City Badge is awarded by HCMC People’s Committee to foreign citizens who have contributed positively to the development of the city.
Both awards are richly deserved by Paul, and equally reflect great credit on SCC and the strong team I am now lucky enough to work with. Congratulations Paul, and best wishes from us all to you and your young family. You are an integral part of the SCC story and we look forward to welcoming you back whenever you return to Vietnam.
This is a busy time of year for our Child Development team with our children and youngsters returning to school, and many now also to university or vocational training. Each year of growth for each child is testament to the focus of SCC on making a difference in the lives of individual children, and to the genuine long-term impact our support can deliver. A heartfelt thank you to all who have renewed sponsorship, and I would urge those who are still considering to renew if at all possible, so that the gift of opportunity you have already given, continues to pay ongoing dividends.
Our School Building team has built 20 schools this year with generous partners who include ANZ, Prudential, AEFA and the Japanese Consulate, and we have a full programme of openings in the weeks to come. Congratulations to the team on this significant achievement. This week we also welcome back Ms Hien, our special education needs (SEN) expert, who, thanks to our friends at Lufthansa Help Alliance, was able to attend a specialist conference in Canada on autism. She has returned full of new ideas, contacts and inspiration to help children with special needs in Vietnam.
Our supporters in Vietnam are also busy. A gallant band of cycling adventurers is forming up for another assault on the Hai Van Pass they conquered so successfully two years ago, as part of the three day Charity Cycle Adventure. They are seeking individual sponsorship to raise funds, so please given them your full backing.
We are also delighted that Cantavil Premier Mall is organizing a Flash Mob on 29 November to raise money for 50 bicycles to help children get to school, often a long walk from their home villages. The Flash Mob will be a great participation experience for over 500 people, with local dance celebrities leading the way, and we look forward to many friends joining us there.
Christmas gifts are already in shops, and this prompts me to remind you about our Seasonal Cards, a popular way to send festive and New Year messages to friends and relatives. This year we have a new set of images from our art pupils at Thang Long School.
Finally, the team at KPMG has again kindly completed and signed off their pro bono audit for us. Our 2013 accounts are now available on the SCC website or in more detail through the UK Charity Commission .
Thank you again for your ongoing support and I very much look forward to getting to know those of you I have not yet met over the weeks, months and years to come.
- Farewell letter from Paul: http://www.saigonchildren.com/default.aspx?pageid=7&categoryid=19&newsid=2416
- Medals awarded to Paul: http://www.saigonchildren.com/default.aspx?pageid=7&categoryid=19&newsid=2422