(An e-mail received from Phil Balsdon <newsletter@vcp.org.au> on Sept. 10, 2003)

Dear Friends world-wide,

Here in Australia, as in so many parts of the world, there are many wonderful initiatives inspired by Waldorf education and Anthroposophy in general. Today we decided to let the world know of at least one of these
projects that is being undertaken Down-Under.

In 1998, Thanh Cherry, a Vietnamese Australian and kindergarten teacher at the Bowral Steiner School (south of Sydney) founded an organisation called the Vietnam Children's Project (VCP) to support underprivileged children and establish Waldorf kindergartens in Vietnam.

We are a group of graduate students from the Bowral Steiner School, and we are working on a remarkable project in collaboration with the VCP. At the end of last year we met up with our former class teacher, Lizzie Spencer now teaching at the Kamaroi Rudolf Steiner School in Sydney, to plan a reunion. Instead of a reunion party, we decided to build a kindergarten in Vietnam!

Many of us from the class are now spread over this vast continent of Australia, living thousands of kilometers apart, yet we are all working to make this project a reality. In July, after a number of fundraising and publicity events, we were able to visit the site for the kindergarten in Cu Chi province, north of Ho-Chi-Minh City. The first classroom is to be completed this month, and we hope to have the entire kindergarten completed by December 2003!

Lizzie and I recently returned from Vietnam, where we visited the kindergarten site and met everyone involved in the project in Vietnam. It was an extraordinary experience, and filled us with revived inspiration and

We had an opportunity to visit several kindergartens (Steiner and conventional) and to meet the teachers and students. Wherever we went, we were met with tremendous warmth and generosity. The gratitude that was
expressed towards the support from Australia was incredibly moving. It was not simply related to the building of a kindergarten, it was about people taking a deep interest in other people and events that are seemingly
unrelated to them - and that goes both ways between Australia and Vietnam.

It has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding project for everyone involved. Our aim is not only to raise the necessary funds, but also to raise awareness and foster the beginnings of Waldorf education in Vietnam.

If you would like any more information about the project, or would like to be involved in any way, please respond to this email. Alternatively, we have set up a temporary website that you can visit: www.vcp.org.au

Warmest regards,

Mark Baldwin, Anneke Dessens, Lizzie Spencer & Phil Balsdon

On behalf of the Cu Chi Building Project