Christina Noble: Working for Children


Christina Noble had a dream about helping Children in Vietnam. Then she did it! Spotlight tells her story.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Bruce Gulland. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

Two young girls are digging in the dirt in Vietnam. They are extremely poor. They are looking for insects to eat. Their clothes are old and dirty. A woman sees the children. She is new to Vietnam. But they make her remember her own poor childhood in Ireland.

Voice 2  

The woman starts to walk away. But then one of the little girls smiles at her. The woman stops. She walks back to the two girls. She sits in the dirt and holds them. She cries. This woman is Christina Noble. And this is how she began working in Vietnam.

Voice 1  

Today’s Spotlight is on Christina Noble. She helps children who are poor, just like she was.

Voice 2  

Noble had a very difficult life. Her family was extremely poor. Noble and her brothers and sisters often did not have enough to eat. When Noble was 10 years old, her mother died. Her father was unable to care for Noble and her brothers and sisters. He sent the children to live in different places. People lied to Noble and told her that her brothers and sisters were dead.

Voice 1  

Noble did not like the place where she was sent to live. The people treated her badly, so she ran away. She hoped to live in a safer place where people would love her and treat her well. But she had to live on the streets. She was treated badly again when men attacked her and forced her to have sex with them.

Voice 2  

Many people who meet Noble listen to her story. They wonder how she was able to live through all the bad things that happened to her. She even wonders about it herself! She has written a book about her life. It is called Bridge Across My Sorrows. In it, she writes that she thinks God helped use her pain to help others in pain. She wrote:

Voice 3  

“Today I do believe that my suffering has prepared me to take care of the suffering and the sick. I believe God has taken me to where I am today. He spent all those years preparing me.”

Voice 1  

Noble’s experiences have influenced her actions. As an adult, Noble works to help children living in poor conditions and in poverty. The UN estimates that there are up to 150 million children living on the street today. They live in countries all over the world. They are alone and do not have food to eat. They can become easy victims of many kinds of abuse. Noble understands the lives of these children. She remembers how sad and afraid she was when she was alone. She remembers how hungry she was without enough food to eat.

Voice 2  

But Noble also wants to help with children’s emotional needs. Children need food to grow. But they also need a sense of worth. She wants these children to know care and love. This is Noble’s life’s work. This love started with a dream she had in 1971. In that dream, she saw children reaching out to her. The children were hungry and needed help. They were from Vietnam. In the dream, they were asking her for help.

Voice 1  

The dream was very clear. But Noble did not travel to Vietnam until 18 years later, in September of 1989. Noble took her three children with her. She was 45 years old. She never studied in school, and she had little money. She had no idea what she was going to do in Vietnam. But she knew there were children who needed help, and she was going to help them.

Voice 2  

In 2006 a Human Rights Watch report estimated that 23,000 children are homeless just in Vietnam. Their lives are difficult and people often treat them badly. Some people do not think they have the same rights as other children. This is the same for street children all around the world. But Noble does not agree with these ideas. She told The Guardian Newspaper,

Voice 3  

“Every child deserves love and hugs and kindness and warm food and a bed. And every child has the right not to be afraid.”

Voice 1  

Remember the two little girls digging for insects in the beginning of this program? Their names were Huong and Hang. These are the first children Noble worked with in Vietnam. She played with them, bought them food, and gave them love. But she wanted to help even more children. So two years after she arrived in Vietnam, she started the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation. The foundation works with the Vietnamese government and other international groups. It serves street children in Vietnam by providing medical care, food, education, job training, and more.

Voice 2  

One of the projects the foundation began is the Sunshine School in Ho Chi Minh City. It opened in 1991 as a place for street children to go to school. Then, 30 students attended the school. But today, 100 children attend the school every year.

Voice 1  

A few years later, Christina Noble’s foundation also started working with children in Mongolia. Some of the projects there provide health care and education.

Voice 2  

One of these projects is for children who are in Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar’s Boys’ Prison. The project teaches the boys art. Through these art classes, many boys with difficult lives can express their feelings. Some of the boys say they can now feel cheerful, happy, and proud.

Voice 1  

Noble has seen a lot of terrible things. She saw children in terrible situations. But she never gave up hope. She explains that she could not just sit and watch children suffering. She told the Irish Times:

Voice 3  

“I am an easy-going character. But when I see something wrong I will get angry. I will do something.”

Voice 2  

And she knows that other people can do the same. She tells the Times,

Voice 3  

"Every child should matter. The only way that things can change is if ordinary people stand together. We cannot just have a few talking about this. But we need people across the whole world. We need to say we are standing up for the rights of the child. The laws are there. We just need to make sure they are followed."

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Lauren Anders Visser. The producer was Bruce Gulland. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Christina Noble: Working for Children”.

Voice 2  

Look for our listening app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you ever spoken up about injustice? What do you think is the best way to work for justice?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on January 29, 2019

I live in Brazil. My country has gone through a long period of corruption, robbery and many other social ills. I’ve been thinking seriously about how we can be proud of our country again, and unfortunately, I’ve only seen one way: to use a machine gun against all the corrupt or thieves we’ll find ahead.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on January 29, 2019

While the poor die of hunger, the corrupt live a life of ostentation and waste. So I think they should pay their own lives for their unworthy acts. That’s good justice.