Cao Bang – 2018


We’ve been planning the Cao Bang project for a number of months and we identified a poor village with 49 families. We conducted a thorough survey with our contact based close by to the village and knew we could support them by giving each family 20kg of rice, 5 litres of oil, 400 grams of MSG, a box of noodles and 5 cartons of milk. We departed from Ha Noi and 8 hours later, we arrived in Cao Bang. Although we planned everything accordingly, we hit a massive stumbling block when we notified Foreign Affairs. It turns out you need to formally reach out a few weeks in advance to gain permission to head out to the village. With our mini-van fully loaded with our mass gift-giving and a tight schedule, we couldn’t wait for a few weeks. After 2 hours of discussion, showing evidence we are a registered charity in the UK, showing our previous work in Cao Bang as well as other areas in Vietnam, they were happy to let us proceed. Let’s just say thank God for the Internet and a huge thank you to Foreign Affairs for giving us the opportunity to help the poor at such short notice. It’s definitely a learning curve for us all. We were behind schedule and with a 3-hour ride to the village, we were more determined than ever. Here is the cost breakdown: Rice: 980kg x 12,000 VND (per 1kg) = 11,760,000 VND Box of noodles (30 packs): 49 x 60,000 VND = 2,940,000 VND MSG (400g): 49 x 25,000 VND = 1,225,000 VND Oil (5 litres): 49 x 128,000 VND = 6,272,000 VND Milk cartons: 220 (plus 26 free cartons) x 6,061 VND = 1,333,420 VND Total: 23,520,420 VND (approximately £784.01) We can confidently say it was our most challenging project to date in terms of co-ordination and with almost half the day spent on the road, it was both mentally and physically draining. However, once we arrived in the village and can see the families slowly congregating in a small building, it was as if God breathed life into our lungs and we were back on our feet again. Cao Bang is a beautiful place with breath-taking mountains, but behind it all, are poor families who are struggling on a daily basis. But we know that together, there is hope.