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Bob Greer, Chairman Platypus Charity

Bob GreerI became involved in Vietnam after spending a year in Indochina researching the Vietnam War. A dozen trips and 10 years later, some kindred souls helped me establish Platypus, a charity that helps youngsters from impoverished families enjoy the full school experience. We operate on a small scale at present and have 150 students from 9 ethnic minority groups at school in about 15 schools in 2 provinces.

Vietnam lost 50 years through war and boycotts that followed, and they were years of enormous advances in technology, so they are still catching up in many fields. We hope that underprivileged youngsters can gain access to developments so we help them compete with their more prosperous urban cousins on a more even field. We work with local partners, the Vietnam Women’s Union, and we do not discriminate on any grounds. Battlers are welcome – we do not seek to help those who have the highest marks, only those who seriously desire an education and who are prepared to work to the best of their abilities. Most of our students have average marks and many will be the most educated members ever within their families. We hope it will be the start of better times.

My background is in financial control, but somewhere along the line my interest in commerce waned and the dollar lost its priority in my value system. I suspect it got left behind on some remote battlefields in Laos or the Central Highlands. Perhaps it disappeared in modest homes in rural Vietnam or in the Agent Orange facility in Hanoi. Maybe it lies in the back yard of the magical 12 year-old kid who has no lower body but dreams of becoming an engineer. Wherever it went astray, friends with a belief in social justice have enabled Platypus to bring some smiles to the faces of some superb people who do it tough with no thought of entitlement or expectation of handouts.

Generous people support us financially. We have an annual fundraising dinner, we conduct motorcycle rides off the beaten track in North Vietnam, and we continually seek friends who will help us grow and improve. We have a website and a Facebook and invite interested people to have a look at us, contact us or meet with us.

Platypus Charity

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ABN 53 795 406 579