The Glenn Family Foundation has a long history in Macau, building infrastructure for hospitals and facilities for the mentally disabled. This year the GFF HELPS programme is expanding to Hainan. GFF Representative Violet Ge returns from New Zealand where she studied, to Hainan where she grew up, to build connections for GFF HELPS and identify potential projects. Watch this space for updates as this project develops.

Emily RobertsonChina
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GFF HELPS projects span two locations in Vietnam; Ho Chi Minh City and the small rural community of Dien Bien in the north.

GFF Representative Thanh Vu grew up in Vietnam and studied in Sydney. She returned for the opportunity to give back to her community. We have partnered with E-Share, a local NGO that offers sponsorships to children who cannot afford to go to school. GFF HELPS has started its own scholarship, this year supporting 10 children with school fees, uniforms, stationery and books. Thanh is also developing a Positive Parenting course in consultation with E-Share and other local experts to encourage critical thinking and helping children play a more active role in their own learning.

Meanwhile in Dien Bien, engineer Helen Nguyen has identified the need for sanitation infrastructure in a rural school. The school and surrounding households do not have access to toilets and Helen has done a lot of research and worked with local builders to build 10 toilets and two washrooms to service 500 children and the nearby households. She is also testing out how the children respond to technology and online apps to supplement their learning.

We look forward to hearing what they discovered and expanding our work.

Emily RobertsonVietnam
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Economic Empowerment

GFF HELPS first entered Nepal in 2018 through our pioneer Representatives Sophie Jones-Williams and Joe Fisher. We worked alongside a local NGO, Childhood Development Society (CDS), who run a range of educational programmes for youth and adults. One particular project that we were interested in was their Self Education and Empowerment Programme (SEEP) – a women’s training and microfinance initiative that had shown great success. Sophie had already visited several similar groups in India and was eager to learn how they had achieved such success. Sophie and Joe spent three months with CDS and visited a few of their groups. Joe’s documentary and Sophie’s research reports are below.

It is incredible to see the potential that is unlocked when an illiterate adult is given the opportunity to be empowered by basic literacy and business skills training.

In 2019 GFF HELPS is supporting two of these groups and working alongside them to add to their skills and offer support to the wider community. We look forward to sharing our progress in the coming months.


SEEP Research Report – 2018

Emily RobertsonNepal
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The Glenn Family Foundation has a long history in India, building infrastructure for and supporting victims of child labour, equipping medical centres and schools and rolling out sanitation projects.

Learning Centres

The GFF HELPS programme in India is focussed on education and preventing the amount of children dropping out of school and becoming child labourers. The Foundation, in partnership with a local NGO, initiated three Learning Centres in Kalimpong where children can access free tutoring from qualified teachers, assistance getting into vocational studies and a range of other extra-mural activities. These centres also serve the broader community by offering health workshops, adult literacy courses and facilitating visits from welfare agencies.

Volunteer Representatives are sourced locally, from within India, and assist in all these learning centre activities as well as initiate their own projects. They also conduct surveys and research that further informs us of the ongoing needs.

Emily RobertsonIndia
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GFF HELPS entered the Philippines in 2018 to establish new projects in the Aklan area. We worked alongside a local NGO, the Yolanda Aklan Reconstruction Programme, and learned a great deal about their successful livelihoods programme. Our pioneer Representatives, Michael Fanning and Willyn Carrascal lead the way and initiated our first projects:

Digital Learning

Today there is a widening gap between those with and without access to technology. The amount of information available online nowadays means that every child’s learning could be supplemented with rich and engaging content. As technology grows increasingly more affordable and available, GFF HELPS set out to see whether small rural schools could benefit from simple inexpensive tablets, pre-loaded with effective teaching tools, like the famous Khan Academy, or a range of local apps that can be accessed offline.

Michael and Willyn piloted the idea with four small local schools in the Banga area. They conducted teacher training sessions to ensure teachers understood how to use the technology and shared their expert opinions about how it could be best used in the classroom. Teachers took to the technology well and found maths applications particularly useful to enhance their lessons. Children navigated the apps with ease and engaged well with it.

In 2019 we will be conducting a broader test of this project before we decide to expand it into other schools. We look forward to learning more from our findings – report coming soon.

Household Solar

Those in the most rural parts of Philippines do not have access to the electricity grid. They use kerosene lamps which are harmful and often dangerous, or do not have light at all after sunset. Solar lights are safer and increase the productive hours in a day. GFF HELPS piloted a small roll out of solar units to 40 households in Magdalay, a small community in the hills. They worked closely with the local community leaders to determine who was most in need and how to store and install the lights. This cooperation was integral to the project and we learned a good model for doing this type of work in other similar locations.

Reading Workshops and Mobile Libraries

Another thing they noticed in the small schools they visited was a shortage of reading materials and children did not spend much time learning how to read. They developed a reading workshop and sourced appropriate books that could form a mobile library. The workshops helped the children with their comprehension and the interactive storytelling got them engaged and eager to learn. They children are continuing to exchange books and we hope to expand their selection and find ways to further enhance their reading skills.

Emily RobertsonPhilippines
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Project Ideas

In addition to our projects currently underway, we encourage new ideas and innovative projects. Perhaps there is a particular skill you have, or a project you have been a part of before that you think could be replicated… We’d love to hear about it. Email us on [email protected]

Here is a long list of ideas…

  • Teach a workshop with youth on composing a CV and using job websites
  • Work in youth centres to help them access further study opportunities
  • Hold workshops on basic business skills
  • Teach English or tutor students who are struggling with their coursework
  • Put together a basic computer skills course and offer this to youth and adults
  • Start a reading group to encourage reading and appreciation of literature and to expand vocabulary
  • Partner with a local nurse or medical student and deliver a workshop on sanitation and personal hygiene
  • Coach a sports team and organise matches. Incorporate other elements such as team work and communication skills
  • Hand out flyers inviting people to an environmental clean up day or a workshop on recycling
  • Visit a few elderly people each week who are not able to perform their daily tasks and assist them
  • Find out what local services are available to people but not well utilised. Find a way to inform people about what is available and how to access support and resources – perhaps this is having someone from the local grants office come to explain how to apply for a social grant. Visit the organisation and ask for materials to share, such as flyers or booklets. Speak to a local social worker to identify what the priority needs are.
  • If you are a Tradie, work with your local contact to identify homes in need of basic repairs and use local labour to assist you in the repairs
  • Hold a youth group for girls where you give them the opportunity to talk about taboo topics and organise personal growth opportunities
  • Work with a local expert to teach First Aid
  • Work with a local nurse to host workshops about sanitation and hygiene
  • Teach the importance of good nutrition and exercise

Something to think about…

How could you build your activity so that it can be continued and expanded upon by a later GFF Representative or the local community?

What existing community resources are there that you can build on or share? For example, does the local clinic offer a free check up day and people just don’t know about it?

adminProject Ideas
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