The past year was our first without Bill Rose at the helm and while we continue to miss him we are pleased to be able to report that we have this year once again fulfilled ACI’s mandate “to provide financial assistance for agencies and individuals involved in emergency relief and health and welfare projects in needy parts of the world with a particular focus on Asia.” It’s been a team effort, but special thanks for what we’ve accomplished this year should go to Program Director and Board Chairman John Havican, to all of our contributors, and to Bill’s late mother, Elizabeth Rose, whose generous bequest made the creation of Asia Connection possible. Here’s where the money went.

As always, our major grants went to projects in Vietnam and to Edric Baker’s Kailakuri Health Center in Bangladesh. John Havican made two trips to Vietnam in 2013 and distributed funds from ACI to the following projects/programs:

(1) Midwifery Training (Ya Gabrielle and Ya Xavier). Over 200 midwives in over 40 villages have been trained and receive ongoing education under this program. The presence of trained midwives has made a significant improvement in the morbidity of both mother and child.

(2) Family Science (Ya Pauline). Under this program young women are taught to cook, sew, and handle finances, basic childcare and home management. Upon completion of the course they receive the sewing machine they used to help provide a source of income and clothing for their families.

(3) Village Feeding Program (Sr. Nhung), under which feeding stations are set up in participating villages to provide a meal a day for the elderly and for young children in need.

(4) Girls’ Education Program (Sr. Minh). ACI sponsors 24 young girls from outlying villages attending school in Kontum. We assist with room and board, tutoring, and school fees.

(5) Medical supplies for two local clinics in/near Kontum, administered by the Sisters of the Miraculous Medal.

(6) Nguyen Nga Center for Special Needs (Qui Nhon). This is a Vocational Training Center providing education or vocational training for disabled children and young adults. They may have physical deformities from polio or tuberculosis, be blind or deaf, or manifest some other physical handicap. Along with training, the Center provides start-up assistance to those starting new businesses and funds to help with purchasing equipment. The goal is to develop independence, pride in themselves, and to ensure these trainees are not a burden to their families or the community.

We were also able to help a number of families undergoing specialized surgeries in Saigon and Qui Nhon with some of their expenses. And we assisted ten students in health care fields with scholarships: Pharmacy Training (2), Village Health Worker Training (6), Nursing Training (2).

We continue to act as Fiscal Agent for the Kailakuri Health Center in Bangladesh and have additionally pledged ourselves to provide Kailakuri with a grant of at least $10,000 annually which we did in 2013. We also became Fiscal Agent for the Nguyen Nga Center (#6 above) and for the Indradevi Association in Phnom Penh in 2013. Indradevi works to improve the lives of those impacted by AIDS in and around Phnom Penh through educational programs, small loans, a rice bank, sewing courses, school building and mental health projects. ACI is happy to support Indradevi’s good work by accepting and forwarding donations made through the efforts of Don Luce and Kay Halvorsen.

The following websites provide more detailed information on some of our projects:

At our 2013 Board Meeting we decided to make an effort to keep ACI going beyond the period covered by Bill’s mother’s bequest, which will cease to flow to ACI in 2028. To that end we are working to build an endowment (currently at $375,371) and anticipate adding roughly 30% of our income to that project annually. While this leaves us with less cash for immediate distribution we hope that it will provide funds to enable ACI to continue its support to valuable projects such as those above for many more years to come. And very fortunately a long term supporter has pledged $50,000 annually which can be used for endowment, meaning that contributions from others will go directly to programs and projects.

As of this writing the balances in our bank accounts and our CD’s look adequate to cover the two trips to Vietnam John has planned for 2014. In the past these trips have involved grants of between $30,000 and $40,000, similar to those made in 2013, on each trip. We also remain committed to an annual grant to Kailakuri of at least $10,000 as noted above.

On a more personal note, John returns from each trip to Vietnam with news of old friends and comments on changes in Kontum and in the Diocese. Gabrielle, Nglau and Francoise remain well and continue their selfless work on behalf of their communities. Kontum has grown exponentially and there are now several nonprofits at work in the Highlands, all with excellent intentions but many without the understanding of past (or indeed current) events, the language skills, and the rapport ACI has established through its long involvement in the area. It’s heartening to see money flowing into the Highlands but disheartening to find it frequently (though certainly not always) distributed in a top down, heavy handed fashion. John hopes that upon retirement he will be able to spend significantly more time in Vietnam and possibly be able to provide some tactful mediation between the players in the field.

You may also be interested to hear that Kerry Heubeck and I are putting together a brief history of Minh Quy Hospital and Pat’s time in the Highlands. We hope to have it finished within the next two or three months and will certainly let all of you know how to order a copy if you want one.
And finally, Ted Rose continues as ACI’s treasurer and contributions should go to him should you feel so moved:

600 Pennsylvania Ave #2
Los Gatos CA 95030-5864
(415) 309-9738 (mobile)

We are always deeply grateful for your support and we look forward to continued progress in 2014 and beyond.

Hilary Smith

on behalf of the ACI Board: John Havican, Mary Held, Ted Rose, Lily Ackerman, Kerry Heubeck and Hilary Smith