Zahabya Mama, 17, a rising senior at Moorestown High School recently returned from a trip to Vietnam where she helped raise money for an organization that works with street children. Zahabya traveled to Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon) where her mother, Dr. Robin Mama, and two other Monmouth University School of Social Work faculty were providing training to the staff of Friends for Street Children (FFSC). Friends for Street Children is an organization that has five “development centers” in and around Ho Chi Minh City.
The organization offers basic education to the children of migrants moving in from the countryside to the city to earn their living. Many of the children are not able to go to school because they do not have birth certificates to enroll or are too old for the classes for which they are academically qualified.
Their families do not have residence permits or enough income to pay for the schooling of their children. They educate about 500 students in grades one through 12 and also house and educate another 30 children who have been abandoned.
Before leaving in June, Zahabya raised over $400 from her friends and teachers at the high school. Once in Ho Chi Minh City, the staff at FFSC took Zahabya to purchase books for the children for this next academic year. The money she raised paid for the entire year’s books for two sections of first grade, two sections of second grade, and part of the third grade.
FFSC staff was thrilled to be able to have these books for their children and Zahabya was excited that her donation was able to buy so much. She spent an entire day at the Binh Trieu Warm Shelter where the orphans are sheltered, playing with them and assisting in their activities.
To learn more about Friends for Street Children go to their website at www.ffschcm.org.
After leaving Ho Chi Minh City, Zahabya and her parents traveled to Da Nang, Vietnam, where her father, Dr. Saifuddin Mama, was part of a medical mission team teaching and operating at the Da Nang Maternity Hospital.