This Saturday I visited one of my chosen charities, Thien Phuc Orphanage. It is 45 minute motorbike ride away from my own home in District 2 but also a whole world away.
As I drove along packed highways the landscape began to change from the bustling city into more low rise, greener countryside. I turned off the highway and began to bounce along bumpy dirt roads towards the Orphanage, passing chickens, pigs and waving children on my way. After a few wrong turns and an emergency cafe su da (Vietnamese rocket fuel coffee) I arrived outside Thien Phuc.
On entering the building, myself and Ms Ha (a wonderful teaching assistant from the British International School HCMC- who is acting as my translator) were greeted by Sister Nhu and a group of smiling children and young adults, aged from 2 years to well into their 20’s. After a quick chat with Sister Nhu about my run and how I can help their organisation, we were shown around the rest of the facility.
I tired hard to not show my shock at the lack of facilities in the building. In one of the upstairs rooms, children with very severe physical and mental disabilities were laying on mattresses on the floor. Two Vietnamese volunteers were attending to the children, feeding them, changing them and moving their bodies to ensure they were comfortable. Myself and Ms Nhu spent the next few hours helping as much as we could by feeding, comforting and playing with children. There were at least 30 children in the room that needed constant care.
I met one little baby who had arrived at the centre just 4 days previously. Sister Nhu explained that his mother had made the impossible decision to hand him over to the orphanage as she was unable to afford to feed him herself. Some of the children have been with Thien Phuc since just after birth, however there is a constant stream of new arrivals.
The volunteers at the orphanage are doing a fantastic job with the very little they have but they are in dire need of more support. I was blown away by the love and dedication of these ladies and would love to support them and the children as much as I can. Sister Nhu explained that they would love to update or repair some of their equipment that they simply cannot afford to do on their own. Please visit the donations tab on my website to donate. Thank you!