In many rural and mountainous parts of Vietnam, because of tradition and a lack of clean toilet facilities, open defecation is still widely practiced. As a result, the local population lives in a polluted environment and frequently suffers many serious communicable diseases.


Typical housing of the local people

In response to a request from Sister Nguyễn Thị Đức of the Kim Thành church, in Hòa Hiệp village, Cu Kuin District, Daklak province, Vietnam Foundation lent its support to her programme of building toilets for the 450 Ede families living in buon Hra Ea Hing and buon Hra Ea Tla.


Dr Mai Viết Thủy, one of our directors (on left), with Sister Nguyễn Thị Đức (on right) and the owner of a new toilet.

The first phase of the programme, starting in February 2011, consisted of building 76 toilets for 76 families. In parallel with the toilet construction, classes teaching hygiene practices and healthy life style were also organised for this ethnic minority group.


Vietnam Foundation contributed about one third of the costs of this first phase.

All 76 toilets have been built and handed over to the local people.

toilet1 toilet2

The local communities requested help to build 200 more toilets for other families in the next few years. Vietnam Foundation is looking for co-sponsors to share the cost of construction. It is hoped that at the end of the whole project, these ethnic minority families will have a cleaner living environment, a more hygienic life style and many of their diseases are things of the past.



Tánh Linh is a rural remote district of Bình Thuận province. Many roads in the district are very old, in bad condition, with small, narrow, worn-out or unstable wooden bridges. The bridges are therefore not only serious public safety risks but also great impediments to reliable transport and productive economic activities for the local population.

In response to a request for help from Thiện Chí, an NGO based in Bình Thuận, Vietnam Foundation in September 2010 supported the local population to replace 2 small bridges in Bắc Ruộng and Nghị Đức communities by contributing 1/3 of the cost of the bridge replacements.

Old  Nghi Duc Bridge

Old Nghi Đức Bridge

Old Bac Ruong Bridge

Old Bắc Ruộng Bridge

New Nghi Duc Bridge

New Nghị Đức Bridge

New Bac Ruong Bridge

New Bắc Ruộng Bridge

Thiện Chí requested support for further bridge constructions in Tánh Linh and Đức Linh districts. However as the designs and construction standards of the above 2 bridges were not of the high quality expected by the Foundation, we declined further support.

‘Village Chance’ is a new project undertaken by Maison Chance, an organisation founded by the extraordinary Swiss painter Tim Aline Rebeaud.

Visiting Vietnam as a tourist in 1992, Tim was so moved by the plight of the street children that the young artist returned the following year to help these children. With the support of her family, friends, and the proceeds from her own paintings, Tim, at the age of 19, set up Maison Chance and secure a place to house and care for the disabled and homeless children.

From its humble beginning, thanks to Tim’s dedication, Maison Chance today is home to 50 orphans and disabled persons. It also provides free general education, vocational training and health care for these residents and about 200 poor children living in the neighbourhood.

WebClassroomWebITClassDisabled but skilled adult residents help procuring income for the organistion by producing paintings, soft toys, IT services, etc.

WebSewing1 WebPainter

Village Chance’ is a larger version of Maison Chance. It is built on a 3,513 square metres plot of land in Bình Tân district in HCMC and consists of 40 residential units providing accommodation for about 125 disabled persons, a school for 180 students, sports facilities, physiotherapy facilities, medical centre, canteen, dining room, etc.

The foundation stone for the village was laid in October 2009. It was completed and officially opened on 20 January 2011. The total cost of the project was about USD 1.2M.

WebFrontviewWebView1Vietnam Foundation lent Maison Chance a helping hand by sponsoring, in September 2008, Tim’s visit to Australia. The Foundation organised its own fund-raising dinner in Sydney and took Tim to visit various community groups in Sydney and other cities, who in turns also held many other fund-raising functions for the project.

WebTim056Almost AUD 235,000 was raised from donors in Australia during Tim’s visit, including AUD 35,829 contribution from the Foundation.


Nam Đồng is a poor mountainous district of Thừa Thiên-Huế, approximately 50km west of Huế. It is close to the A Lươi valley which, during the war years, was heavily sprayed with Agent Orange.

More than 40% of the local population is ethnic Katu minority. They make their living mainly by planting rice, maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, vegetable, or raising buffaloes, cows, pigs, etc.

A high percentage of the children in the area suffer various kinds of mental and physical disabilities including Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, etc. Some suffer multiple disabilities and many forms of learning difficulties.

There are limited services available for these children and their families. There is no government school specially catering for children with disabilities. Most of these children did not previously have the opportunity to receive adequate education and help to integrate into society.


The recently completed Care and Early Intervention Centre for Children with Disabilities at Nam Đồng

The Care and Early Intervention Centre for Children with Disabilities was built by the Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children (OGCDC), an NGO associated with the Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The Vietnam Foundation contributed USD 5,000 toward the total construction cost of USD 25,000. Other contributors to the project are French and US NGOs.

The Centre is open for service since September 2010.


Severely disabled children are taken to the Centre

The Centre is a multipurpose facility. It is a place where teachers for children with disabilities are trained, parents of the children are counselled, children are assessed and then provided with appropriate treatment and skill training. It is also a temporary shelter for visiting medical specialists and teachers of special needs or for poor patients from remote areas, etc.




Children are being assessed and treated


Staff are being trained by a visiting specialist



This ramshackle structure was the kindergarten for 40 young children at hamlet 1, Phong Mỹ village, Cao Lãnh district, Đồng Tháp province


Outside view of the kindergarten

Inside the kindergarten

Inside the kindergarten

The kindergarten was demolished and rebuilt in bricks.

The new building includes toilet and shower facilities which are supplied with water pumped from a nearby river.

Outside view of the new kindergarten

Outside view of the new kindergarten


It was completed in April 2010 and is now catering for the educational needs of 60 young children.

WEChildren3WEChildren2WEChildren5 The Vietnam Foundation contributed VND 100 Million toward the construction cost of the new building.

Other friends of the Foundation contributed VND 12 Million and the local population VND 20 Million.

A Vietnam Foundation delegation visited the kidergarten in November 2010

A Vietnam Foundation delegation visited the kindergarten in November 2010



The school is located in Đăk Ngo village, Tuy Đức district, Đắc Nông province, in the Central Highlands.

Đăk Ngo is a newsettlement located in an isolated area near the Cambodia border and about 150 km from Gia Nghĩa provincial town.

The population consists mainly of ethnic minorities, specially the H’mong, who migrated from Northern provinces and settled around the area, making their living by growing cash crops such as corn, cassava, cashew nuts, etc.

Public facilities in the area are still basic: access to grid electricity is limited; the road network is poor and consists of dirt roads which are dusty in the dry seasons and very muddy in the wet seasons.

Typical existing classrooms of the school

The school was first established in 2002 to provide education for the growing migrant population. Today it has more than 1,000 pupils in 39 classes, with children of ethnic minorities making up more than 90% of the total.

The school facilities are spread over 7 separate locations. It has however only 8 standard classrooms with a total area of 320 square metres and 6 temporary makeshift structures.

Many young children have to walk long distances to get to their classes.


Inside the existing classroom

The three new classrooms, of 62 square metres each, were built to replace some of these temporary classrooms and will be used by about 200 pupils.

The new classrooms built with our help

The Foundation contributed VND 264 Million toward the total construction cost of VND 277 Million.

Tuổi Trẻ newspaper managed the construction on behalf of the Foundation and contributed the balance of the cost.

The local population contributed labour for the clearing of the land, building ground works and classroom furniture.

Our representative, Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống (on left), with children in front of their new classroom

The 3 classrooms were completed and handed over to the local community on March 9, 2010.


Mái Ấm Hồng Ân (Blessed Sweet Home) orphanage is unique among many similar organisations. It owes its existence and growth to the generosity and tenacity of a remarkable woman: the paraplegic Vương Ngọc Sương, who, at the age of 24, was rendered disabled by a fall while doing charity work.

Ms Vuong Ngoc Suong and the orphans at the Tay Ninh site

Ms Vương Ngọc Sương and the orphans at the Tây Ninh site

Despite her handicap, with boundless love, compassion and energy, Ms Sương takes into her care abandoned children. Some were abandoned because they were severely disabled, needing 24-hour care or thought by many as having no prospect of survival. Ms Sương cares for them, feed them, sends them to schools and some time even marries them off when they have grown up.

The Tay Ninh site, viewed from the front entrance

The Tây Ninh site, viewed from the front entrance

Part of the Tay Ninh site: children's playing and eating area

Part of the Tây Ninh site: children’s playing and eating area

The orphanage was originally in only one location, Ms Sương’s own home in HCMC.

Due to the need to care for the growing number of discarded children, Ms Suong enlisted the help of her parents, turning their property in rural Tây Ninh into the second site for the orphanage.

The original site now looks after about 12 children.

The Tây Ninh site caters for about 30 younger children, aged from a few months to 16 years old, some of them severely disabled


 Meal time at the orphanage

Meal time at the orphanage

In May 2009 the Foundation helped the orphanage with the renovation of the living, sleeping and studying areas for the children at Tây Ninh site, providing them with ceiling fans, book shelves, beds, beddings and mosquito nets.

Studying area is also used as sleeping area for the children

Studying area is also used as sleeping area for the children

 Chidren sleep on bare floor

Chidren sleep on bare floor

In addition, we also helped the orphanage to acquire 20 piglets and to install a biogas system. The original piglets have produced many generations of offspring, which are now the source of food and income for the orphanage.

The wastes from these pigs are used as fuel for the biogas system, and are now the source of free, clean energy for cooking.

The VND 8 Million investment in the biogas system has resulted in the saving of VND 10 Million off the orphanage’s VND 18 Million fuel bill annually.

New beds supplied by the Foundation

New beds supplied by the Foundation

The original piglets provided by the Foundation

The original piglets provided by the Foundation

 The biogas system installed with the finacial support of the Foundation

The biogas system installed with the finacial support of the Foundation


The Foundation’s support for the orphanage amounted to VND 109 Million.




An Khánh Primary school is in An Khánh village, Châu Thành district, Bến Tre Province.
The school did not have enough classrooms but had two temporary rooms that were unfinished and not suitable for teaching purposes.
In 2008 the Foundation gave the school financial support to build two new classrooms totaling 132m2 to replace these temporary rooms.


On the ground of the school was a pond which presented hazard to the young children.


We therefore helped leveling the pond, turning it into play ground for the children.


The school also had no proper toilet for the children.













We also helped build two new toilets to replace the existing unsanitary facility.

wAnKhanhNewToiletsThe total cost of the project was VND 165 Million (about AUD 11000)
The project was completed and handed over on 27 Nov 2008 with the presence of our representative in Vietnam, Prof. Nguyen Thien Tong.


An Mỹ village in Kế Sách district Sóc Trăng province has a high percentage of Khmer and Chinese ethnic minorities. Most of the villagers engage in agriculture and aquaculture. More than 20% live under property line.

In co-operation with Heifer Vietnam, a branch of the US NGO Heifer International, the Foundation supported a project which aimed to improve the livelihood of 44 families in this area.

Each of the families was gifted with a heifer (young female cow). Two of the families were also gifted with a breeding bull each.

In addition, the participant families also received micro-credits to start cash crop production or small-scale business to supplement their incomes.


The young calves were handed over to the project participants in a ceremony on 30 June 2008


Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống, our representative in Vietnam, with one project participating family at the heifer handover ceremony

The families were organised into self-help groups which have regular meetings to support one another and to be taught on topics such as livestock management, animal health care, agro-ecology, integrated farming, enterprise development, human nutrition, HIV, etc.

The participant families were to be trained and helped for 3 years.


A self-help group meeting and training session Image Self-help group members are reviewing progress of their savings

When the original heifers produce offspring, the offspring were then passed on to new families.

Similarly, micro-credits were provided as a form of revolving fund. When the original loans are paid off, the proceeds are used to on-lend to new families.

With this process, the original outlays can be used to help at least 44 more families.


Project members are participating in group activities and competitions


An outdoor group meeting and training session

Apart from tending their cattle, with the micro-credits many families have set up worm farms, raised pigs, ducks or started small-scale businesses such as incense making, mobile floating coffee shop, etc.

Not only having their living conditions improved thanks to the cattle and the small-scale business, by participating in group activities, trainings and discussions, these farmers are more aware of other issues such as gender equity, health, environment and community co-operation.


Offspring of the original calf is being passed on to a new family

The Foundation contributed AUD 18,000 to the project.

Many of the original heifers which were gifted to the participating peasants in June 2008 had produced offspring which were then passed on (i.e gifted) to new families.

Tam Nông is a district of Đồng Tháp province, part of the once very vast area called Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds). The area is subject to annual flooding which lasts from 3 to 4 months. Sometimes the flood water reaches more than 3m high in some locations.

Cultivated lands are therefore only productive for about half of the year. Local population has to expend vast amounts of resources toward flood prevention and post-flood restoration. Consequently, no matter how hard the local population work, they remain the poorest of the poor.

The Tam Nông Hospital is an old hospital built in the early 80s, originally intended for 20 beds.

Tam Nong Hospital

Tam Nông Hospital

Due to the huge demand for service from the local population, the hospital was subsequently modified and enlarged to accommodate 50 beds. It was still not large enough.

Everyday more than 70 patients are crowded into that small hospital. Many of these patients come from far-away isolated villages, arriving at the hospital on small rowing boats (xuồng)

Family members of the patients therefore stay at the hospital to look after their sick relatives.


A carer for a patient at the hospital has nowhere to rest but along the corridor of the hospital

Since there is not enough room in the hospital even for patients, these carers have nowhere to stay but most of the time in the open air. They are thus constantly subjected to all the ravages of the sun, rain, mosquitoes etc. Consequently 20% of these carers get sick themselves and become extra burdens for the hospital.


Many carers spend their nights on the floor, along the corridors of the hospital

To provide these carers with a place to rest while staying at the hospital to look after their sick relatives, the Foundation helped construct a 64-bed rest house.


The rest house under construction, at a site near the river bank

The rest house consisted of four 8x8m rooms and an attached toilet block. The building was built on reclaimed land on a riverbank, with brick walls, tiled floors, metal roofs and a total floor area of about 380 m2.

The Foundation engaged an independent architecture company to design the building and its voluntary engineering supporters in Vietnam to help supervise the construction.


The completed rest house on the opening day


A typical bedroom in the rest house


Inside the toilet block

The total cost of the building construction was VND 388 Million (approximately AUD 32000).

This was contributed by the Foundation and many of its members and supporters. The major supporter with an AUD 5000 contribution was Pathfinder Solutions Pty Ltd, an Australian marketing consultancy based in Melbourne.

The hospital contributed the land reclamation costs.

The local population contributed the lights and other fittings as well as beds and furniture inside the building.

The building construction started in Sept 2006 and completed in Dec 2006.


Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống, Mr Mal Kelly (the Australian Consul General in HCMC) and
the Director of the hospital cut ribbon to open the rest house


Mr Mal Kelly at the entrance of the rest house


Mr Mal Kelly and Dr Nguyen Thien Tong gave opening speeches

It was named “Aussie House” and officially opened on 12 January 2007 by Mr Mal Skelly, the Australian Consul General in HCMC.


Commemorative Plaque on the wall of the rest house