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Saturday, March 27, 2010

30 Hour Famine lets youth wage war on hunger

OTTAWA — One child dies every three seconds from preventable causes like hunger and disease. Nearly nine million children under the age of five die each year.

These are the kinds of statistics that are expected to prompt more than 100,000 people — including celebrities like Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators — to take part in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine this year.

International participants raise money to fight poverty and injustice worldwide and go without food for 30 hours. They experience what an empty stomach feels like first-hand and learn about poverty and hunger from guest speakers and the World Vision 30 Hour Famine website.

This year’s event will take place April 16.

“Being a part of World Vision, I got to experience first-hand how they help people help themselves,” said Fisher. “I had the unique opportunity to help out and make a difference.”

A global event, the 30 Hour Famine began in Canada in 1971 with a group of Calgary teens who held a fast after seeing TV images of famine in Africa. The annual event now includes youth in 21 countries annually.

This year, World Vision hopes to raise $5 million across Canada.

Funds raised will support efforts to eradicate hunger, disease and injustice around the world, providing assistance to countries like Brazil, Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, India, Peru and Thailand. Funds from this year’s campaign will also support programs in Haiti, as well as programs aimed at reducing sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Alexis O’Neil is a past participant and is now the event’s regional representative for eastern Ontario.

“I have been doing the famine every year since high school and now I organize it for students in my hometown of Ottawa,” said O’Neil.

“I feel strongly that we need to think ourselves as citizens of the world and not just Canada. Often times we hear about the issues of poverty, hunger and injustice and this is a great opportunity to ask questions about it and open up a dialogue,” she said.

“During the famine, we do activities such as scavenger hunts, we watch movies, play dodge ball and do other activities that get the students to think why other people around the world are living below the poverty line.”

World Vision spokesman T.J. Grant said young Canadians have proven they can make a difference in the world.

“For 39 years, Canadian youth have shown their commitment to eradicating child hunger and malnutrition by participating in the World Vision 30 Hour Famine,” said Grant.

“Canadian teens understand that preventing child hunger and malnutrition is a priority and is an issue that we need to address now. Youth are making it their personal goal to do something and are motivating their friends, families and communities to get involved in this national campaign.”
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Vietnam, Cambodia plant eight more border markers deep inside Cambodia Territory

Vietnam’s southern province of Tay Ninh and Cambodia’s Kongpong Cham province kicked off the planting of eight more markers along their borderline on March 26.

The same day, the border marker planting steering committees of the two provinces held talks on the issue, reviewing the achievements they have made so far.

The two sides showed their determination to complete the task following an agreement signed between the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Tay Ninh shares a 240km borderline with Cambodia’s Kongpong Cham, Pvay Veng and Svay Rieng provinces.

According to the Additional Treaty of the 1985 Border Demarcation Treaty between the two countries, there will be 52 border markers planted between Tay Ninh and Kongpong Cham province out of a total 101 border markers in Tay Ninh province.

To date, construction of 48 markers has been completed. The two sides are determined to complete the task by 2012. (VNA)
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Vietnam Plus Launches Papier Mache Project

Vietnam Plus, the parent NGO of Vietnam Quilts, launches a Papier Mache project, with the objective of generating income for women from poor regions.

Following the success of Vietnam Quilts as an income provider for women from poor, rural regions of Vietnam, Vietnam Plus and Mekong Plus, the parent NGO’s, are launching a papier mache project to further increase employment opportunities.

Women from Long My in the Mekong Delta, and Rumdoul, in Svay Rieng province just over the Cambodian border recently participated in training provided by Thao Duong, a papier mache artist based in Hong Kong. Ms Duong was impressed with how quickly the women picked up the necessary skills and how creative they have been in adapting the product designs to locally available materials.

The launch product range is focusing on mirrors, ranging from hand mirrors to large wall mirrors and candy bowls, in the shape of tropical fish. The fish proved particularly popular when trialled at the Mekong Merchant bazaar last week, with customers showing a strong preference for clownfish. More products are in the pipeline.

“It’s fantastic to see this initial interest” commented Bernard Kervyn, Director of Vietnam Plus. “With all profits going back to the women and their communities, we hope that we can continue to develop products that will appeal to both residents and tourists.”

The papier mache products are available at Out2 Studio and Vietnam Quilts in Ho Chi Minh City, at Vietnam Quilts in Hanoi, and at Mekong Quilts in Phnom Penh. 80% of all sales return to the villages and as little as $30 is enough for an annual scholarship for a child from a poor family.

About Vietnam Plus:
Vietnam Plus and Mekong Plus work together in Vietnam, with Mekong Plus also present in Cambodia. The NGO aims for community development, targeting the poorest communities, seeking strong involvement from those communities and leading low cost, sustainable actions. The programs cover today about 500 villages, 40 of which are in Cambodia. The direct recipients are around 170.000 children, women and families. Vietnam Quilts is a project of Vietnam Plus, providing employment for women, with profits cycled through the parent NGO into community development programmes.

Bernard Kervyn
Director, Vietnam Plus
Phone: 091 310 5189


Vietnam Quilts Out2 Design Studio
64 Ngo Duc Ke L6 FAFILM Building
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 6 Thai Van Lung Street
08 3914 2119 District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
03 825 6056

Vietnam Quilts Mekong Quilts
13 Hang Bac 49, Street 240
Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Phnom Penh
04 7306 3682 023 219 607
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