The Mái Ấm Tình Thương (Love Shelter) orphanage is in Lagi, Bình Thuận province. It is operated by the sisters of the Mến Thánh Giá (Lovers of the Holy Cross) church in Nha Trang. Since 2005 it has been carrying out many “pro-life” programs, which include counseling and helping unmarried pregnant mothers to avoid abortion, giving them shelter in the orphanage, bringing up orphans, as well as caring for the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the people affected by Agent Orange in the area.
Through their work, hundreds of babies have been saved from abortion; nearly 60 abandoned children have been reunited with their mothers. Every day it provides hot water and soups for about 150 poor patients seeking medical treatment at the nearby Lagi hospital.
As at the beginning of 2013 the orphanage houses 93 orphans aged between new-born and 8-years old and is run by 10 sisters, 18 assistants and many volunteers.
Due to the increasing demand for the services from the locals, the existing facilities become inadequate. There are not enough rooms for the growing up orphans to sleep in, to play and to learn.
The orphanage planned to construct a new, additional building which can accommodate 150 orphans (from 2-days old to grown-up) and has enough space to provide adequate facilities in support of up to 300 disabled persons who come monthly for food and medicines.
In September 2013, two sisters from the orphanage, Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mai (director) and Nguyễn Thị Thanh Trang visited Australia, touring many cities to seek support for the construction of their second building.
When in Sydney, through a fundraising dinner on 6 September 2013, Vietnam Foundation contributed $11,677.70 toward the construction project.
Construction has been started and is due to complete by the end of 2014.
‘Sounds of the Motherland’ was the theme of a musical recital held by the Foundation on 28 June 2014. Artists performing at this delightful event were singers Lệ Mai, Quỳnh Xuân and Quốc Sỹ of the Nguồn Vui group, who were accompanied by guitarists Phạm Quang Tuấn and Hoàng Ngọc Tuấn. Nguồn Vui is a singing group which has performed to enthusiastic audience at many concerts in Sydney. Phạm Quang Tuấn is a guitarist and composer and has written English lyrics for many songs by Phạm Duy, Văn Cao, etc… Hoàng Ngọc Tuấn is a multi-talented artist, a literary critic, a celebrated composer and guitarist.
The recital featured beautiful music and songs written by well-loved composers such as Phạm Duy, Nguyễn Văn Thương, etc. that have roots in traditional folk poems and are in the heart of every Vietnamese. Some of the songs were presented partly with English lyrics which, thanks to the masterly transcription by Phạm Quang Tuấn, wonderfully captured the underlying poetic imagery.
In addition to the excellent music presentations, the artists also had interesting discussions with the audience about the lives and works of these composers.
Enjoying so much of the performance by the artists, attendants at the event donated $1120 toward aid projects in Vietnam.
Some of the music items presented can be seen at the following links:
https://vietnamfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/wSoundMotherlandDuet.jpg366800mwud8https://vietnamfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/vnf-logo-5-v4-Website-1-1030x238.pngmwud82014-09-15 13:15:192014-09-15 13:15:19Sounds of the Motherland
Trà Thọ high school is located in Tây Trà district, Quảng Ngãi province, about 100 km from the Quảng Ngãi town centre. Many students of the school live in isolated, mountainous villages which are tens of kilometres away from the school. The routes to school, if not walking tracks crossing secluded, steep woody hills and deep, perilous streams, are country roads in very bad repair, often ravaged or blocked off by erosion and landslides during wet seasons. Many children have to walk many hours to and back from school every day.
Of the 130 students of the school, more than half live so far away that during school weekdays they stay back at the school and then go home during the weekends. The school does not have enough classrooms let alone proper accommodation for the children. Whatever facilities the school has, they are very basic and in poor condition. Therefore the places that these children stay in are just temporary makeshift shelters built on the school ground by their parents.
Many children have to live many years in these cramped, ramshackle conditions, boys and girls in the same village together in the same shelter; their beds are also their desks, places of study and storages for clothing. Because the roofs do not provide proper cover from the elements, on raining nights, the children have to take refuge in their classrooms to avoid getting wet.
In addition to this appalling living condition, the children also have very limited and non-nutritious food provisions. Their diet consists mainly of rice, salt and bush vegetables. They have to cook their own meals after lessons. Very often they have to forage for firewood and extra food in the nearby woodlands.
One of the local charity groups, Hành Trình Yêu Thương, has been helping these children to improve their livelihood by supplying them with supplementary dried food, young chicks to raise for eggs and meat as well as plant seeds for a vegetable garden.
In November 2013 the Foundation contributed $400 to the Hành Trình Yêu Thương’s program to acquire 100 chicks, seeds and fertiliser for the children’s chicken farm and vegetable garden. The chicks have become full grown chicken and are producing eggs. Thanks to these eggs and chicken meat the children’s diet has become somewhat more tolerable. By looking after their chicken and vegetable, the children now have also opportunities to learn new and useful skills.
To read and see more photos about the living condition of these children:
https://vietnamfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/vnf-logo-5-v4-Website-1-1030x238.png00mwud8https://vietnamfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/vnf-logo-5-v4-Website-1-1030x238.pngmwud82014-09-15 12:27:072014-09-15 12:27:07Trà Thọ school
The Mekong delta is a flat, low-lying area, with a network of innumerable crisscrossing river tributaries and canals.
As bridges are few and far between, many of the local residents, even with their ubiquitous motor cycles, have to travel long distances before being able to go to the other side of the river. Many still rely on ferries and small boats as means of transport. To cross small waterways the local people build tens of thousands of ‘monkey bridges’ which are flimsy structures normally made up of scrap timber and bamboo poles. They can only support light foot traffic. They are also the cause of frequent death by drowning as people, especially young children and frail elderly, can easily fall into the water when they use these bridges.
To help improve transport and provide safety for these people, Vietnam Foundation helped build a 42m long x 2m wide concrete bridge at Hòa Thạnh hamlet, Thạnh Quới village, Long Hồ district, Vĩnh Long province.
The bridge was designed by staff and students at Mekong University. We contributed VND 215 M (about 10 000 AUD) toward the total cost of VND 417M. Mekong University and the local population contributed the remaining cost. The bridge was opened for traffic on 9 July 2013.
Our representative in Vietnam, Prof Nguyễn Thiện Tống joined staff of Mekong University and local people in the inauguration walk.