About an hour from the bustling tourist mecca of Hoi An lies the farming community of Phu Ninh. There are no five-star hotels here or restaurants with white tablecloths; in fact, you won’t find it on Trip Advisor, because, if you are a tourist, there is no reason to come here. But some of us have found our way to Phu Ninh, to a very special place where 22 children ranging in age from 2 to 17 have found a safe refuge and a loving home.
When Thao, a Vietnamese woman whose family owns Lowlands, a successful restaurant in the center of Hoi An, introduced us to the Home, she referred to it as an orphanage. As I learned more about the children, however, I discovered that most of the children are not orphans. Although a few have lost both parents, others still have a mother or a father or extended family. In all cases, the families are in distress, either from extreme poverty or medical problems, and are unable to care for their children. Mr. Hung, the director, along with the four wonderful women who make up his staff, offer these children a nurturing place to live and grow until they can be safely returned to their families.
The accommodations are basic but clean and cheerful, with colorful murals on the walls. The children look happy and healthy, and they are remarkably well-behaved. I have spent many hours there and never saw a quarrel amongst the children or heard a harsh word from an adult. They all bicycle to local schools every morning. The Home has quite a few books, and we observed many of the children sitting together quietly on their play equipment and reading after the noon meal.
The needs are quite modest. It costs about 1,000,000 VND, or about $45 US, to support a child for one month. Our group has an initial goal of raising 4,000,000 VND, about $180 US, every month to help Mr. Hung make up his monthly budget. If we are able to raise more than that, it would enable him either to take in additional children or to improve the children’s diet. Mr. Hung buys as much food as possible from local farmers. It’s a win-win for the Home and the community; he gets the best possible prices for food, while the local farmers have an outlet for their products.
Items such as clothing, bedding, and tableware are not needed at the moment, but shampoo, toothbrushes, and toothpaste would be welcome. In addition, Mr. Hung let us know that he needs a large table or desk and chairs so that the older children will have an appropriate place to study. In keeping with our intention of sourcing products from the community, we have asked Mr. Hung to get bids from local carpenters.
We will be in touch with Mr. Hung on a monthly basis to discuss how we can best support the children either with cash donations or with items that could be donated by the local expat community. If you have questions or would like to make a donation or to arrange a visit, please contact me: Esther Bedik, firstname.lastname@example.org, 84-1567033002. You can also donate by copying and pasting the link on the right side of this page. I assure you that your entire donation will be used to support these children.
Thank you for your interest and your help! We’ll keep you posted.