Charitable Dreams aids poor children in Vietnam

A mother, inspired by her daughter's birth country, starts charity to combat poverty Photo: Bonnie Lockwood

NEW YORK, July 9, 2012 —A mother in New Jersey took the desire to do something to help children in her daughter’s birth country of Vietnam and created a powerful project that helps families climb out of poverty.

As anyone who follows the plight of impoverished children around the world knows, the need is great and real opportunities to help make a difference are all too few.

Since poverty is one of the primary reasons that children become orphans, working to strengthen the economic underpinnings of families around the world is critical to lessening the number of abandoned children.

“Some children are born rich and some are born poor. This is an undeniable fact of life in countries across the world, and there is little humans can do to alter it,” says Bonnie Lockwood, who founded Charitable Dreams  two years ago to assist poor children and their families in rural Vietnam.

Bonnie Lockwood and her daughter Lacey/Image B. Lockwood

“However, this inequality in social status should never be allowed to morph into an ugly inequality of educational opportunities, since education is, by far, the most effective way to help a poor person escape the poverty imposed on him by the circumstances of his birth.”

Lockwood, who lives in Freehold, New Jersey, started Charitable Dreams as a way to give back to Lang Son in Vietnam, where her daughters Lelan and Lacey were born.  

The organization focuses on tangible projects, practical things that can make a big difference. 

For instance, at a school in Lang Son many students must travel significant distances to attend. Many come by boat or raft, others on foot, often over mountains.   Charitable Dreams has initiated a bicycle program so students can shorten their commutes, and make them safer.  At the end of a student’s tenure at the school he or she will pass the bicycle down to a younger student who needs it.

The organization has also initiated a program called Lay It Forward Chicken Project, which helps supplement the income of poor families whose children attend the local school.

“We’ve given families over 1,800 chickens,” notes Lockwood.  In addition to assisting families pump up their income and their own food sources, Lay It Forward also provides food for students at the school.

During Lockwood’s most recent trip, she donated over 100 chicks to the school’s own chicken coop.  There, in the schoolyard, the children will help raise the chickens.  In addition to helping feed the school children, Lockwood notes, “The school will use money made from selling the meat and eggs to fund the lunch program.”

 In addition to the work with the Lang Son school, Charitable Dreams also assists families with developing sustainable economic plans while at the same time addressing immediate needs to mitigate the effects of the poverty by providing basics like blankets, clothing and household tools.

In the end Lockwood says, her goal for Charitable Dreams is this: “Disrupt the cycle of poverty one family at a time in a place where health and happiness are at a premium.”

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Andrea Poe

Andrea Poe is a veteran journalist, whose work has appeared in thousands of publications, including Town & Country, Marie Claire and Entrepreneur.  She is the author of several books and her work has appeared in many others, including anthologies and college textbooks. 

Andrea serves as editor of the Travel & Food section at The Washington Times Communities.  Her love of travel has led her to cover everything from remote villages in the Andes to her hometown of New York, from Paris to Pittsburgh, from Beijing to the Bahamas.  No matter where she travels, she likes to uncover the unusual and share with readers those often-overlooked aspects of a place and its people.  She dubs her column Raven’s Eye as a nod to her illustrious (and, yes, infamous) relative, Edgar Allan Poe, a writer who knew more than a little something about the quirky and unique.  

Andrea is also mother to Maxine, who was adopted from Vietnam in 2006, and is the inspiration for The Red Thread column on adoption at The Washington Times Communities.   Andrea is currently at work on a book on international adoption.

In addition to her work as mother, writer and traveler, she is the founder and president of Media Branding International, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations craft and promote their image in media outlets around the globe.

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