Russell and his wife Ursula had been to Vietnam before but in late 2019 they made a special trip to the country, which led them to helping a school in a remote village.
The couple from Victoria were visiting their sponsored child, 10-year-old Yen, for the first time. They had been sponsoring Yen for six years and had regularly written letters to her through ChildFund’s sponsorship program, but wanted to meet Yen and see for themselves what her life was like.
“We had always planned to visit her because it makes it more real,” Russell says.
“It was very exciting to meet Yen. It was a very nice experience. Her parents were delightful and Yen was delightful – a little shy at first, but after a little while she opened up.”
Russell and Ursula met Yen and her family at Yen’s school, where they were taken aback by the number of students.
“I was a bit surprised that the school had so many children – there were about 500 children – in such a remote place,” Russell says. “It was a big school for a place that was so remote.”
The school was in “good nick”, but Russell and Ursula noticed that the computer room was lacking in resources. “I think they had six or seven computers for a class in the entire school,” Russell says. “Given the children’s economic circumstances, I imagined they wouldn’t have computers at home.”
After returning home to Australia, the couple decided to donate eight computers to Yen’s school.