Vietnam Smiles

The Vietnam Smiles project is a humanitarian program initiated by St John of God Hospital,  Berwick. It began in 2009 and provides  hospital support in maternity care, as well as  education on hand hygiene, infection control  and dental hygiene to three remote villages in  the Hoe Binh province approximately 190 Km  South West of Hanoi. They were Mia Chau,  Pieng Ve and Hank Kia.
Vietnamese families are much the same as the  rest of the world with an average of two or  three children per couple. As there are no  retirement benefits at all in Vietnam, it is usual  for the grandparents to live with their children  after they are married. They then help look  after the grandchildren while the parents work,  so much of the education of young children is 
undertaken by their grandparents. The children  start school at aged 5 years; they only attend  school between the hours of 7am and 11am,  after which they are free to help mum and dad  in the rice fields or looking after the bullocks  etc.
The Club decided to contribute $6,000 to the project and Rotarian Andy Merrill joined the St 
John of God Hospital Project Team for their 4th exercise on possible future support from Rotary. The team consisted of nurses, a pastoral  care officer, a dentist, a teacher from St Margaret’s school and Andy from the Rotary Club of  During this trip Andy participated in a range of services such as dental work, education on  hand and dental hygiene, demonstrations, logistics and general support. In appreciation  the St John of God Project Team wrote: “To all Rotarians at Berwick Rotary Club, we would  like to sincerely thank you for your support with our Vietnam Smiles project. Your donations  have assisted to improve the quality of life for people in the remote mountainous regions of  Vietnam. It has certainly made a difference, not only the goods that they have received, but  that people in a luckier country care enough to wish them well.”